SANTA FE (KRQE) - New Mexico Finance Authority Chief Executive Officer Rick May was placed on paid leave by the NMFA's board Thursday as the investigation into a forged audit continues.
The move comes one day after Chief Operations Officer John Duff and former controller Greg Campbell were arrested and charged with securities fraud and racketeering in connection with the fake audit.
The board discussed the action in closed session for more than two hours before announcing that May was placed on leave. Duff was placed on unpaid administrative leave.
Board chair Nann Winter told News 13 in a phone interview that both May and Duff do not have contracts and can be fired by the NMFA board with or without cause.
The New Mexico Finance Authority is a public corporation that serves as a bond bank. Counties, cities and school districts around New Mexico come to the NMFA when they need low cost loans to fund projects.
According to a criminal complaint, Campbell created a forged audit last year and used it to misreport about $40 million. Investigators say that money given back to the state over two years to help with a budget crunch and should have been reported as reduced revenue, but was instead reported as a grant paid out.
Stepping in as interim NMFA CEO is Brett Woods, deputy cabinet secretary for the New Mexico Energy, Minerals and Natural Resources Department, who will stay in his current position with that department as well. Board members told News 13 Woods is not expected to fill that role for long.
"I think the anticipation is that he will be there I would prefer he was there three to five days," said John Bemis, NMFA board member and NM EMNRD cabinet secretary. "I mean we are talking about a short term appointment while the board can go out and find someone who is qualified to be an interim director."
According to an online bio, Woods has past experience as a legislative analyst for the New Mexico Legislative Finance Committee and in a wide variety of regulatory roles across state government.
The state auditor's office is conducting a forensic audit into the NMFA's finances to determine if any money was embezzled or misappropriated.
While the investigation into the fake audit continues, the NMFA cannot sell bonds to investors, severely limiting its lending power. Wednesday, the board capped new loans at $5 million, freezing loan requests for several big-ticket projects around New Mexico.
Police responded to dozens of weather-related crashes in only a matter of hours Sunday.
A small plane crashed at about 8 a.m. Sunday morning on the Canyon Rim Trail near N.M. 502 and the entrance of Los Alamos.
Sunday night in Albuquerque and around the world people gathered for candlelight vigils to remember the loss of their children.
Department of Agriculture officials are warning customers to not get burned when buying firewood.
Church groups, parents and teachers met Sunday at the 20th annual Albuquerque Interfaith Convention. State education reform was their central focus.
Police officers were called out to Lovelace Hospital on Saturday after a patient woke up to find his laptop missing.