Mr. Haussamen, with all due respect, I feel you have failed your readers in an attempt to inform them about my service as a former mayor of Sunland Park.
The following is in response to the April 26 commentary “The good old days in Sunland Park? I think not,” by Mr. Heath Haussamen, editor and publisher of NMPolitics.net, and to Mr. Haussamen’s extended invitation to write a guest column in response to the former.
Mr. Haussamen, first and foremost, with all due respect, I do not agree with your comments, and I feel you have failed your readers in an attempt to inform them about my service as a former mayor of Sunland Park. I do not condemn you for writing your commentary; your commentary is your opinion, and only your opinion… as biased as it may sound. Nevertheless, I appreciate the opportunity to set the record straight and clarify your statements with accuracy and factual information.
It is necessary for me to weigh in on the accusations written in your commentary so readers can formulate a proper opinion utilizing the same information that was provided (by me, our city staff and city attorney) at the time to several state agencies and courts of law in the State of New Mexico as proper protocol, to protect the interest of the city and its people during my tenure as Sunland Park’s city mayor.
So let me shed some light and truth on your column’s claims.
A flawed audit
In reference to the audit issued in 2003 by the State of New Mexico’s Auditor’s Office, the city fully responded to this inquiry, with a 72-page document, transported in three boxes, with factual, supporting evidence responding to each individual inquiry in the audit. The city provided copies to the Office of the New Mexico State Auditor, the New Mexico Department of Finance and Administration, and, most importantly, to the Office of the Attorney General.
In addition, the city attorney, several staff members and myself personally met with an assistant attorney general in Santa Fe and reviewed each response with the supported documentation for each individual inquiry.
In our response, the city legally questioned the credibility of the audit because it did not adhere to the U.S. GAAP (General Accepted Accounting Principles in the United States) as required in §126.96.36.199(E)(1) NMAC (2003). In addition, the city also legally contested over 70 percent of the audit finding as factually incorrect.
The audit’s discrepancies not only included substantive failures, but procedural ones as well. The audit failed to follow the New Mexico Audit Act and the state auditor’s own regulations, in an apparent procedural due-process rights violation under the N.M. Constitution and the U.S. Constitution as well.
That is, the City of Sunland Park was never given the opportunity to respond to the audit’s findings prior to it becoming a public document. Specifically, the State Auditor failed to:
- Follow State Auditor regulations for conducting audits pursuant to § 21-6-12 NMSA 1978.
- The state audit was not conducted in accordance with auditing standards generally accepted in the United States of America.
- The city was not provided with an “exit conference” and time to respond before the audit became public as required by §188.8.131.52(K)(1)(2)&(3) NMAC (2003).
Loan actions ratified
Equally, at the center of the state audit was also a major finding, which argued that the city had wrongfully acquired an interim loan from Wells Fargo Bank in order to pay for the Santa Teresa Services Co. condemnation. Nevertheless, the city responded that such action was in lieu of the RUS bond issuance in accordance with Resolution 2001-09 and Ordinance 2001-01 in which the governing body unanimously approved the Wells Fargo interim loan based on the legal advice of the city attorney – actions that were later ratified by the outcomes of the following two cases:
- Court of Appeals: City of Sunland Park v. Santa Teresa Servs. Co., 134 N.M. 243, 75 P.2d 843 (Ct. App. 2003). (New Mexico Supreme Court denied certiorari on August 18, 2003).
- Court of Appeals: City of Sunland Park v. The New Mexico Public Regulatory Commission, 135 N.M. 143, 85 P.3d 267 (Ct. App. 2004).
Not bending to the ‘status quo’ or ‘self-interests’
As you are aware, the statutory authority to pursue any legal or criminal wrongdoing is vested not with Governor Bill Richardson as your column so eloquently implies, but with the Attorney General’s Office. To imply that somehow Governor Richardson miraculously made the audit go away is to deny the Attorney General’s Office its rightful statutory authority.
As to motive and the timing of the state audit, I will simply allude to the above two cases where I believe your readers can so graciously generate their own conclusion.
I hope that the information and facts stated above give testament to my persona and add, however small, to illustrate the integrity and transparency of my mayoral service during a 12-year span.
For the record, I have never undermined the authority given to me by the people of Sunland Park and I stood strong, protecting the interest of our citizens and not bending to the interest of the “status quo” or other “self-interests.”
As you wrote, “It’s true that then-Gov. Bill Richardson and the state pumped a bunch of money into Sunland Park while” I was mayor, but it was not only the state or Governor Richardson; the U.S. federal government and individuals from the private sector did too. A better picture highlighting the successes during my tenure can be found by clicking here.
The ‘good old boys’ or ‘better days’
In conclusion, Mr. Haussamen you may be correct that my 12-year tenure as mayor may not necessarily represent “the good old days in Sunland Park,” but they certainly represented better days. To the readers, I apologize for all the legal jargon, but I find it necessary to give credence to my explanation given Mr. Haussamen’s assertions.
To the residents of Senate District 31, ultimately you will be the deciding voice as to what direction this Senate seat will be taking; that of the “good old boys” or for “better days.”
Segura, a Democrat, was Sunland Park mayor for 12 years and is now a candidate for N.M. Senate District 31. Editor’s note: NMPolitics.net is attempting to obtain the City of Sunland Park’s 72-page response to the 2003 audit referred to in this column, and will post it if it can obtain it.