Contarino calls allegation 'a flat-out lie'
Posted 2/03/2009 04:17:00 PM
Dave Contarino says an allegation that he ordered other officials to make state investments in exchange for a little more than $15,000 in contributions to Gov. Bill Richardson’s 2008 presidential campaign is “a flat-out lie.”
The allegation was made public earlier today when Contarino’s name was unsealed as a defendant in a civil lawsuit related to the state’s losing $90 million in the investment deals with Vanderbilt Financial and affiliated companies. Frank Foy, the former chief investment officer for the New Mexico Educational Retirement Board, is alleging in the lawsuit that Contarino instructed State Investment Officer Gary Bland and Bruce Malott, chairman of the educational board, to make the investments in exchange for the contributions.
“I never instructed Gary Bland or Bruce Malott to invest in anything,” Contarino said in a statement that was just released. “I wasn’t even chief of staff at the time of this investment. I played no role in this investment and have no recollection of ever meeting Mr. Foy or anyone involved with Vanderbilt Investments.”
Contarino, a former Richardson chief of staff and campaign manager, said he was “not aware” of any contributions from people tied to Vanderbilt to the governor’s campaign, and said “this entire accusation is a total fairy tale concocted by Mr. Foy and his attorney.”
“This entire lawsuit -- by a former employee -- is irresponsible, and the claims are ridiculous and untrue,” Contarino said. “People are tired of political witch hunts. Enough is enough.”
Meanwhile, Foy said today that the educational board made the investments at the direction of Malott, who he said “told me that it was Contarino’s instructions,” according to the New Mexico Independent. Foy made that statement at the news conference his attorney called to reveal Contarino’s name. The news conference apparently became a shouting match between attorneys for Foy and Malott.