AG isn't saying pay-to-play lawsuit lacks merit
Posted 1/15/2009 09:24:00 AM
When a former state employee unsealed on Wednesday his lawsuit alleging that the state lost $90 million in investment deals made in exchange for contributions to Gov. Bill Richardson’s presidential campaign, the governor’s office was quick to point out that the attorney general had already reviewed and declined to prosecute the allegations.
Under the state law that allows former New Mexico Educational Retirement Board Chief Investment Officer Frank Foy to sue on behalf of the state, Foy had to first take his case to the AG and give that office the option to prosecute. The AG declined to get involved.
In pointing that out on Wednesday, Richardson spokesman Gilbert Gallegos was using that fact as supporting evidence of his assertion that the lawsuit lacks merit.
But an AG spokesman says his office’s decision to stay out of the case isn’t an indicator of the case’s merit -- or lack thereof.
“Under the Fraud Against Tax Payers Act, the AG can intervene or not intervene, but the decision has no impact on the merits of the case,” said Phil Sisneros, spokesman for Attorney General Gary King. “In this case, we believe the plaintiff is capable of pursuing his claims and that we can assure the state’s interests are protected.”