SUNLAND PARK, N.M. (AP) - State police investigators armed with a search warrant temporarily shut down City Hall, but officials were tight-lipped about what might have prompted the unusual move.
The Las Cruces Sun-News reports state police and investigators showed up about 4:30 p.m. Tuesday and asked workers to leave. City Hall doors were then locked while investigators searched through files.
Assistant District Attorney Scot Key said he couldn't disclose what files investigators were looking for because the warrant is under court seal. Sunland Park City Council member Isabel Santos said she was notified about the raid, but Santos said she didn't know what investigators were looking for.
Last month, New Mexico Secretary of State Dianna Duran launched a review of some of the city's election practices after receiving a complaint from one of the three mayoral candidates. Gerardo Hernandez alleged that absentee voting applications were improperly withheld from him. City officials deny the charge.
Hernandez is one of three candidates vying to replace Mayor Martin Resendiz, who last year withdrew his bid for Congress after he admitted signing contracts for $1 million worth of work with an architectural design firm after having way too much to drink with company executives. In a lawsuit, the California company Synthesis+ said the mayor then asked for a donation when it came calling for payment.
The mayor has not commented publicly on the allegations, but in a deposition in the case he told lawyers he was drunk and didn't know what he was signing.
A few months, later Resendiz nearly came to blows with the mayor pro tem after members questioned his absence and his approval of a $47,000 buyout for the city manager.
After that meeting, state Rep. Mary Helen Garcia, D-Las Cruces, called for the state to takeover of the town, which is just across the border from El Paso.
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