Martinez also bought supplies from Hicks’ niece
Doña Ana County District Attorney Susana Martinez’s office bought supplies and equipment from a business owned by the niece of an employee at the same time that her office was making purchases from a business owned by that employee.
Martinez’s office bought about $2,200 worth of office supplies and electronic equipment in May 2004 from KPM Enterprises of Roswell, a business owned by Janetta Hicks’ niece, Kristen Huddleston.
Martinez’s office purchased more than $60,000 in office supplies and equipment from Hicks’ business, Titan Office Supply, in 2003 and 2004. At the time, Hicks was one of the top prosecutors in Martinez’s office. She’s now a district attorney in Eastern New Mexico.
Martinez has defended the deal with Titan Office Supply as legal, but now says, because of appearances, she wouldn’t enter into such a deal again. But Martinez wouldn’t answer NMPolitics.net’s questions about whether the deal with KPM Enterprises created a negative appearance and whether she would make purchases from that business again.
She defended the purchases from KPM Enterprises as legal.
“To be clear, Susana Martinez followed the letter of the law and, while the purchases were modest in cost and did not require a formal bid, she ensured taxpayers got the best deal possible on items purchased from KPM by comparing prices from other vendors,” Ryan Cangiolosi, manager of Martinez’s gubernatorial campaign, wrote in an e-mail.
Cangiolosi provided no documentation to back up his claim that Martinez compared prices before making purchases from KPM.
Martinez has said Hicks had no role in the decision to purchase supplies and equipment from Titan, and Cangiolosi said the same about KPM – that Hicks had “no role in the procurement process.”
A check conducted for NMPolitics.net found that Huddleston has lived in Roswell and Las Cruces in the last 10 years. She lived with Hicks during at least part of her time in Las Cruces. Hicks and Cangiolosi both told NMPolitics.net that Huddleston was not living with Hicks in May 2004 when Martinez’s office purchased supplies from KPM.
Huddleston has not responded to questions about this situation sent through Facebook.
No contract or bidding process was required
The purchases from KPM Enterprises were small enough that no contract or formal bidding process was required. KPM Enterprises submitted four invoices to the DA’s office between May 3 and 12, 2004 for purchase of items ranging from pencils to a flat-screen TV.
The total cost added up to about $2,200.
Martinez’s office was purchasing supplies and equipment from Titan Office Supply at the same time. For example, Titan submitted an invoice on May 3, 2004 for office supplies that included markers, envelopes and a mouse pad. KPM submitted two invoices that day – one for office supplies that included pencils, batteries and CD ROM envelopes, and a second for two DVD recording machines and a package of 10 recordable DVDs.
The DA’s office purchased some similar supplies from both companies. A box of 50 slim CD cases the office purchased from Titan on Jan. 21, 2004 cost $5.50. But on May 3, 2004, the same item cost $12 from KPM.
Huddleston’s company, on the other hand, sold Martinez’s office jump drives at a cheaper price than Titan. Hicks’ company sold Martinez’s office a 256 MB jump drive on Feb. 2, 2004 for $85 and another on March 4, 2004 for $75. KPM sold Martinez’s office a 256 MB jump drive on May 12, 2004 for $70.
A break in purchases from Titan
The state’s Department of Finance and Administration says it directed Martinez’s office in early 2004 to stop making purchases from Titan because Hicks was an employee. On March 23, 2004, Martinez’s then-chief financial officer, Beverlye Zubia, submitted a memo to DFA stating that the DA’s office “will not be permitted to submit payment for any further invoices” from Titan after outstanding invoices were paid.
Martinez has been quoted in the Albuquerque Journal as saying that she never knew about such an order from DFA but she believes that, if there was one, it was reversed. As evidence, she has pointed out that the state continued to approve payment of invoices from Titan.
There was a break in purchases around that time. There are no invoices from Titan Office Supply from March 5, 2004 – a few weeks before the date of Zubia’s memo – until both Titan and KPM submitted invoices on May 3, 2004.
14 comments so far. Scroll down to submit your own comment.
Leave a response
You must be logged in to post a comment.