ALBUQUERQUE (KRQE) - The same year Manny Aragón pleaded guilty to taking hundreds of thousands of dollars in kickbacks, Bernalillo County eliminated the property taxes on his elaborate home in Albuquerque's South Valley.
That's according to documents from the Bernalillo County Assessor's Office, which show the hand-crafted castle that belongs to the once-powerful and now-disgraced state senator was valued at $93,358 in 2006 and 2007.
But from 2008 until this year, the home was valued at zero dollars, according to assessor records.
"I can't speak to what was here before," said Evelyn Barela, chief administrative officer for Bernalillo County's new assessor, Tanya Giddings.
Aragón's disappeared valuation occurred under the watch of former Assessor Karen Montoya, who resigned that post in December after she was elected to the New Mexico Public Regulation Commission.
Barela told KRQE News 13 that records indicate Aragón protested the valuation in 2008 and the county sent out an inspector.
"There was no heating, no cooling, no electrical, (no) baths, (no) kitchen," she said. "How do you put that on the market as a full value?"
The home features more than 4,700 square feet of concrete turrets, vigas and glass.
Asked if it was proper to eliminate any value on the home, Barela said, "In all honesty, I can't answer that because each administration has their policy."
Montoya did not return a call seeking comment.
Last week, News 13's Larry Barker uncovered a secret deal Montoya made just before leaving office that allowed a millionaire to avoid paying tens of thousands of dollars in back property taxes on a mansion and estate in Albuquerque's North Valley that was then valued at $7 million.
Since 2008, Aragón has paid taxes on the land beneath the home, which is valued at $47,500, according to assessor documents.
However, Giddings' administration re-assessed the Aragón property for 2013 and entered a value of $11,800 for the building, according to assessor records.
"We are just trying to make it fair for everybody," Barela said. "We don't want to charge you too much, and I don't want to charge you too little. There's a new sheriff in town, and we're going to make it all consistent and fair."
She said that is part of a plan to reassess every one of more than 200,000 properties in Bernalillo County to make sure everyone is paying their true share in property taxes.
Aragón pleaded guilty in 2008 in federal court to one count of conspiracy and two counts of mail fraud in connection with his role with more than half a dozen others in siphoning off $4.2 million in money meant for the construction of the Metropolitan Courthouse in Albuquerque.
He was sentenced to five years and seven months in federal prison and began serving that sentence in 2009.
Aragón served for 29 years in the state Legislature.
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