Updated: Tuesday, 16 Aug 2011, 6:32 PM MDT
Published : Tuesday, 16 Aug 2011, 5:57 PM MDT
SANTA FE, N.M. (KRQE) - Public Regulation Commissioner Jerome Block finally showed up for work Tuesday and admitted he has a drug problem.
Block’s been accused of ripping off taxpayers by running up charges on his state-issued gas card, and he’s even suspected of stealing a car.
All the while, the commissioner has been MIA, in hiding until Tuesday.
Block said all the allegations against him have taken their toll. He said that stirred up some demons, namely an addiction to prescription pills.
“I wanted to come clean because the battle that I’m facing is a battle a lot of New Mexicans are facing right now,” Block said.
He said his problem with prescription pills started about 2 1/2 years ago around the time he was elected to the PRC and accused of misspending campaign cash.
“I’ve been getting treatment for it," Block continued. "It’s a daily battle, and it’s something that I didn’t plan, I didn’t want, and it's unfortunate, but I’m receiving help."
However, he said his demons recently resurfaced after a slew of allegations were levied against him.
On Aug. 2 the New Mexico Attorney General’s Office refiled criminal charges against Block and his father ove the alleged misspending of campaign cash.
A couple days later the gas-card allegations surfaced.
Then last week, a Santa Fe car dealership said Block took a used Honda Accord for a test drive nearly a month ago but never brought it back.
“The recent allegations that surfaced caused a lot of stress on me, and yes, I was seeking medical attention and you know getting evaluated and want to move on,” Block said.
While Block was seeking medical attention, his fellow commissioners stripped him of his title as vice-chair and called for his resignation.
At Tuesday’s PRC meeting Block told the commission he is not stepping down.
“It’s good that he’s cleared some of the air with regard to what’s been going on, but I think with all the allegations that are out there I don't believe that he’ll be able to be an effective commissioner through the end of his term,” said Commissioner Jason Marks.
While Block came clean about his drug problem, he was not ready to come clean about anything else.
When asked by News 13 if he was denying the allegations against him in regards to misusing his gas card and stealing a car, he responded by not answering the question.
“I'm not going to respond to any of that. I just wanted to come clean with you folks and New Mexicans and I think I’ve done that and that’s pretty much the end of this,” he said.
Block did say he was clean Tuesday and fully capable of doing his job despite his struggles.
Investigators have not said if Block was using his gas card to fill up other people’s cars for money, but they do think he was putting gas in multiple cars and that he used his co-workers passwords to buy gas.
Block said the only way he will leave office is if he is forced out.
The Legislature could do that during the special session scheduled next month through impeachment procedings..