Keep Keller

Keep Keller This is the public political page for ABQ Mayor Tim Keller's 2021 reelection campaign. Mayor Tim is the frm NM State Auditor and state Senator; Dad, heavy metal fan.
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Operating as usual

"Harwood’s written ruling also highlighted the Gonzales campaign’s admission that it had submitted forged documents in t...
07/19/2021
Ruling: Clerk justified in denying public financing for Gonzales

"Harwood’s written ruling also highlighted the Gonzales campaign’s admission that it had submitted forged documents in the public financing qualifying process, dismissing the campaign’s defense that such incidents are standard." #nmpol

The Albuquerque City Clerk's decision to deny Sheriff Manuel Gonzales more than $600,000 in public money to fund his 2021 mayoral campaign was 'proper,' an administrative hearing officer has ruled. Ripley Harwood issued his written…

07/17/2021
Manny admitted to forgery—but…whodunnit?

A crime was committed. Someone did it. But who?

On Wednesday night, Sheriff Manny Gonzales admitted that numerous voters’ signatures on his campaign’s Qualifying Contribution cards were forged intentionally. That’s a very big deal. Unfortunately, he couldn’t tell us who did it.

Crime fighting has been Sheriff Gonzales' sole career and yet crimes—very serious crimes—were happening right under his nose. He says he had no clue it was happening, that somehow he wasn’t aware of a crime that, had it been successful, would have benefited him with over a half a million dollars of taxpayer money. But Manny Gonzales' hands aren’t clean. He was also facing an ethics complaint for personally telling a voter he would “cover” his $5 contribution. #nmpol #nmleg

See more>>
https://mailchi.mp/53fbfa28af86/evidence-shows-widespread-fraud-by-gonzales-campaign-5029085

Strong partnerships across agencies involved with our criminal justice system is how we will better combat crime.  #nmpo...
07/17/2021
ABQ launching effort to address 'broken' criminal justice system

Strong partnerships across agencies involved with our criminal justice system is how we will better combat crime. #nmpol
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"Over the past couple of years, the Keller administration has unveiled other initiatives meant to combat crime that involve early intervention and partnership with other agencies."

Meetings seek specific recommendations and fixes each stakeholder can implement

Photos from Mayor Tim Keller's post
07/17/2021

Photos from Mayor Tim Keller's post

"Albuquerque in New Mexico is setting up a third department of first responders with a new Community Safety team that wi...
07/16/2021
Albuquerque creates new safety department to change how police are dispatched - Cities Today

"Albuquerque in New Mexico is setting up a third department of first responders with a new Community Safety team that will work alongside the police and fire crews.

The cabinet-level department which has recurring funding allocated will launch this autumn. It will be staffed by 100 trained professionals such as emergency medical technicians, social workers, housing and homelessness specialists, and violence prevention experts. Dispatchers will have the option to choose a community safety response when it is more appropriate than a paramedic, fire-fighter, or armed police officer."

On a recent webinar organised by Ignite Cities and the National League of Cities, mayors from Philadelphia, Albuquerque and Waterloo discussed how they are approaching the complexities of managing public safety and a surge in gun violence while responding to calls to reform policing following the mu...

07/15/2021

Deeply saddened by the news of former Representative Delano Garcia’s passing. His deep love for New Mexico showed in the work he did for our county in the military, our communities and his abundance of energy and commitment to public service will not be forgotten. He was a mentor for me when few would give me a look. His dedication to honoring our history and building for our future leaves powerful legacy for many to follow.

From the article: Sheriff Manuel Gonzales’ mayoral campaign says the forgery allegations it is facing seem to be true ba...
07/15/2021
Gonzales campaign acknowledges apparent forgery

From the article: Sheriff Manuel Gonzales’ mayoral campaign says the forgery allegations it is facing seem to be true based on its own internal review...

Some receipts not signed by donors

Hi Folks: there's a LOT of news coverage on the forgery issue involving Manny - this is the email we sent out last night...
07/15/2021
Board of Ethics Meeting - July 16, 2021

Hi Folks: there's a LOT of news coverage on the forgery issue involving Manny - this is the email we sent out last night, before the breaking news that Sheriff Gonzales' campaign admitted to the forgery. We'll be posting articles as we go. See below.

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WEDNESDAY JULY 14 EMAIL FROM TEAM TIM:
Update: Manny Gonzales was denied public financing—what’s next?

It’s likely you heard the news that the City Clerk did not certify Sheriff Manny Gonzales’ campaign for $660K in public financing because of evidence of forgery and fraud. The decision last Friday was based on evidence we submitted, which included 40 statements from voters attesting their signatures were faked, 149 examples of potential forgery (see here, here here, and here), and a statement from a voter saying the Sheriff personally told him he didn’t need to give a $5 contribution after signing paperwork saying he did.

Sheriff Manny Gonzales and his campaign have yet to directly answer for their fraud. They broke the law and took short-cuts to get over half-a-million of taxpayer dollars—and they should face the consequences.

Instead, they’re arguing they turned in more than enough Qualifying Contribution signatures and five dollar contributions to receive public funding. But the law does not allow for fraud. It doesn’t allow for forging others’ signatures and submitting money on their behalf. It’s quite simple: Crime doesn’t pay. Of all people, Sheriff Gonzales must know that.

Elsewhere in New Mexico, public financing has been denied to candidates for minor infractions of the law that have never involved fraud. One case even involved PRC Commissioner Karen Montoya who is now spokeswoman with the PAC supporting Gonzales. Montoya, after her opponent was denied funding, said, “When you're dealing with taxpayer money and public funds, there is a high threshold for what is appropriate, and as public officials, it is incumbent on us to be diligent.” Her words ring hollow now.

What happens next?

We’ve asked for an investigation into the campaign practices of the Gonzales campaign by the Office of the Inspector General. We’ve found widespread and deliberate fraud—largely committed by Gonzales’ taxpayer funded staff at BSCO and his top campaign staff. Now that the Sheriff has been denied funding, there are two processes that will take place.

Process 1: Sheriff Gonzales has predictably appealed the City Clerk’s decision to deny public funding to the City’s Hearing Officer, who is an independent arbitrator. If the Hearing Officer upholds the Clerk’s decision to deny funding, Gonzales can appeal that decision to District Court. The City Hearing is tomorrow, Thursday, July 13, at 10am. The Zoom information is here: https://cabq.zoom.us/j/98871335511#success (Meeting ID: 988 7133 5511)

Process 2: Ethics Board hearings. We have filed two ethics complaints against the Gonzales campaign. The City Board of Ethics will hear our first case against the Sheriff on Friday, July 16, at 9am. In this first case, the Sheriff told a voter he didn’t need to pay $5 to go with a Qualifying Contribution he was signing, saying “we’ll cover it.” That voter and Sheriff Gonzales are expected to testify. To watch online, go here: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=yF-sDzj_Gdg

Our second case regarding the forgery is set to be heard on Thursday, July 22, in the afternoon.

Finally, we have heard from our supporters today that the Sheriff’s campaign, led by long-time Republican operative Jay McCleskey, has investigators and others knocking on the doors of our supporters to try to dig up dirt for some sort of counterclaim. They might be "off-duty" BSCO deputies, who we know are helping his campaign. It's up to you to talk to them, but we encourage everyone to tell the truth and know just who is behind the phone calls and door knocks you might get.

We will keep you updated as the case against Sheriff Manny Gonazales’ fraud and forgery continues.

Best,

Team Keep Keller

The cases brought before the Ethics Board have to do with the laws Sheriff Manny Gonzales and his campaign broke while t...
07/13/2021

The cases brought before the Ethics Board have to do with the laws Sheriff Manny Gonzales and his campaign broke while trying to qualify for public financing. Sheriff Gonzales' campaign and the PAC supporting him are saying they have enough $5 Qualifying Contributions—but it's not the point. They have yet to publicly address the forgery claims. The 149 examples we've submitted. The 40 statements from voters saying their signatures were faked. That's the issue. #nmpol #nmleg

https://www.abqjournal.com/2409032/abqs-election-code.html

The cases brought before the Ethics Board have to do with the laws Sheriff Manny Gonzales and his campaign broke while trying to qualify for public financing. Sheriff Gonzales' campaign and the PAC supporting him are saying they have enough $5 Qualifying Contributions—but it's not the point. They have yet to publicly address the forgery claims. The 149 examples we've submitted. The 40 statements from voters saying their signatures were faked. That's the issue. #nmpol #nmleg

https://www.abqjournal.com/2409032/abqs-election-code.html

Even Manny Gonzales' supporters are saying it's wrong they forged his signature to qualify for public financing. #nmpol ...
07/13/2021
4 Investigates: Gonzales supporter says his signature was forged on campaign documents

Even Manny Gonzales' supporters are saying it's wrong they forged his signature to qualify for public financing. #nmpol #nmleg
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"It's not right that they would forge my signature, I would agree with that," [Ken Struve] said.

Attorney Lauren Keefe, who represents the Keep Keller Campaign, believes Gonzales should be held responsible for the allegations Keller's campaign brought forward.

"It's an attempt to gain taxpayer money, fraudulently," she said. "And in this case, we're talking about $650,000 of taxpayer money that the candidate would be able to use for their campaign, that they're obtaining through fraud, that they're submitting forged, falsified documents, in order to get that money."

Bernalillo County Sheriff Manny Gonzales' campaign for Albuquerque mayor is facing two separate ethics complaints.

“As the former State Auditor, where we investigated and uncovered cases of fraud and misuse of taxpayer dollars, I know ...
07/10/2021
No public financing for sheriff's mayoral bid

“As the former State Auditor, where we investigated and uncovered cases of fraud and misuse of taxpayer dollars, I know a scam when I see it,” Keller said.

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The entire article:

The Albuquerque city clerk has declined Bernalillo County Sheriff Manuel Gonzales’ application to get public financing for his mayoral campaign, citing questions about potential misconduct in the qualifying process.

In a letter to Gonzales dated Friday, Clerk Ethan Watson said he could not confirm that Gonzales had complied with the city’s Open and Ethical Election Code and associated regulations, noting a pair of ethics complaints Mayor Tim Keller’s reelection campaign filed against Gonzales last month.

“The Office of the City Clerk has not reached this decision based on the mere fact that complaints were filed,” Watson wrote. “The decision instead is based on the conclusion that the evidence submitted to date prevents the Office from certifying that you are entitled to receive $661,309.25 from the Open and Ethical Elections Fund. The Office of the City Clerk cannot provide that certification on the record as it stands today because of the obligation all officials have to safeguard public funds.”

Gonzales’ campaign, meanwhile, alleges that Watson was “coerced” by Keller and says it is now considering its legal options.

“For Tim Keller’s handpicked city clerk to deny our campaign public financing after citizens submitted more than enough qualifying contributions demonstrates a stunning level of arrogance and contempt for the voters of Albuquerque,” the campaign said in a statement to the Journal on Friday.

Watson declined to comment on those allegations.

Per Albuquerque’s charter, the mayor appoints the city clerk, but it is one of the few leadership positions that require City Council approval. The council unanimously confirmed Watson in 2020.

Gonzales has three days to appeal Watson’s decision. That would trigger a hearing before the city hearing officer during which Gonzales “has the burden of providing evidence to demonstrate the Clerk’s decision was improper,” according to Watson’s letter.

A Gonzales representative did not say if it would pursue the appeal process as outlined, saying lawyers were considering all options and “we will be putting out additional details about our legal strategy in the near future.”

Should Watson’s decision hold up, Gonzales could still shift to running a privately financed campaign.

Qualifying for public financing

To qualify for public financing – and the $660,000-plus pot – mayoral candidates must prove they have sufficient community support by collecting $5 contributions from 1% of city voters – 3,779 people.

Both Gonzales and Keller appeared to have met that threshold based on numbers posted on the clerk’s website. Each had over 4,100 contributions verified, and hundreds more that were rejected (591 for Gonzales and 338 for Keller), according to the clerk’s website.

Watson has certified Keller for public financing, the mayor’s campaign confirmed.

But Watson’s letter to Gonzales references the recent ethics complaints in explaining “concerns that prevent certification.”

The first complaint includes a written statement from a voter who said Gonzales told him that he did not have to submit a $5 contribution and that the Gonzales campaign would pay for it.

Gonzales’ campaign has denied it, but Watson’s letter indicates that the clerk has “deemed the contribution … fraudulent and referred it to the City Attorney for investigation pursuant to our rules and regulations.”

The second ethics complaint alleges Gonzales’ campaign forged voter signatures on qualifying documentation, citing disparities between signatures on $5 contribution receipts and the same voters’ signatures from other places, including on the petition to get Gonzales’ name on the Nov. 2 ballot.

To support the complaint – originally filed June 29 – the Keller campaign said it this week submitted to the clerk 149 examples of alleged forgeries.

It also filed signed statements from about 40 people contacted by a private investigator Keller’s campaign had hired to research the matter. Most said the signature on Gonzales’ nominating petition was theirs and about half confirmed they had contributed $5 to Gonzales’ public financing effort. But nearly all said signatures on $5 receipts submitted in their name were not legitimate, according to the documents provided by the Keller campaign.

“Looks like someone is pretending to be me,” one voter said in a text message exchange with the investigator, saying she had never signed anything related to Gonzales’ campaign.

“The … signature was obviously made by a left-handed person and I am distinctly right-handed,” another wrote in a signed statement.

In one case, someone wrote that a receipt allegedly signed by her 94-year-old mother on June 1, 2021, could not have been, as she’d suffered a major heart attack about a week before.

“I stayed with my mother all day and all night on June 1. The only visitors we had on June 1, 2021, were the home health evaluating nurse, a home health aide, and aides delivering meals. At no point on June 1, 2021, did my mother sign any documents for the Gonzales campaign,” she wrote in a statement.

The Gonzales campaign did not comment directly on the latest supporting documentation in the forgery complaint, writing “we will have more soon once our lawyers review everything.”

But when the forgery complaint was initially filed, a Gonzales representative said it appeared to be “innocent administrative mistakes made by volunteers.”

But Watson cited the evidence presented so far in his letter denying Gonzales public financing.

“The contrast between signatures for the same voters on those documents further prevent certification at this time. The public is not served if the Clerk’s Office certifies that public funds should be distributed in these circumstances,” Watson wrote.

Watson has referred the $5 contribution at the heart of the first ethics complaint to City Attorney Esteban Aguilar for investigation and is also requesting that the city’s Office of Inspector General look into the ethical allegations against the Gonzales campaign.

Gonzales’ campaign is accusing the clerk of trying to “silence the political opposition.”

“What this is really about is that Tim Keller knows that he will lose if voters are able to hear from both campaigns,” a Gonzales representative said in an email.

Keller in a statement said the evidence shows Gonzales’ campaign “engaged in intentional and widespread fraud” through forging voter signatures.

“As the former State Auditor, where we investigated and uncovered cases of fraud and misuse of taxpayer dollars, I know a scam when I see it,” Keller said.

A Gonzales representative reiterated Friday that Gonzales submitted hundreds more $5 contributions than necessary to qualify for public financing, and the complaint involves what it deemed a “small handful of alleged invalid” contributions.

But Keller campaign manager Neri Holguin said Friday that Gonzales’ campaign did not make the kind of simple mistakes often made in the process – such as submitting contributions from people who live outside a specific area.

“This is deliberate, this is systemic, this is widespread,” she said.

Both ethics complaints are still pending before the City’s Board of Ethics and Campaign Practices. The first complaint is scheduled for a hearing on July 16 and the forgery complaint is scheduled for a hearing on July 22.

The board has the authority to levy fines, issue written findings of censure and, when applicable, refer the matter to the Secretary of State and/or the State Ethics Commission.

Keller himself faced ethics complaints during his 2017 mayoral run. The city’s Board of Ethics and Campaign Practices found that he violated both the City Charter’s Elections Code and Albuquerque’s Open and Ethical Elections Code in how he reported in-kind donations but determined he had not done so intentionally. He was not fined or reprimanded.

Albuquerque city clerk denies qualifying application; Gonzales alleges politically motivated coercion

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Will the Journal report on this? An Albuquerque police patrolman, with a history of overtime abuse, is now on track to make over $240,000! Mayor Keller HELLO!!!!!!!!