ALBUQUERQUE (KRQE) - The political hot potato continues to sizzle with the racetrack and casino deal at Expo New Mexico.
Critics say selection of the Downs at Albuquerque was pushed through by the governor's office. The governor's office says everything was above board.
In November the State Fair Commission narrowly approved a 25-year lease with the Downs to run the racetrack and casino at the state fairgrounds.
It selected the Downs over the only other bidder, Laguna Development Corporation, which runs the Route 66 Casino on Interstate 40 west of Albuquerque.
Laguna Development filed a protest with the state, and the state General Services Department is looking at the claims.
On Wednesday the Downs submitted its response to the allegations.
It's unknown how long the state has to make a decision.
Laguna says e-mails between Downs executives and state fair officials before the winner was announced indicate the Downs may have had unfair access to bid information submitted by Laguna.
Laguna also says the Downs "failed to fully disclose all relevant campaign contributions." If true, that could shelve the deal with the Downs.
KRQE News 13 checked and found that over a 2 1/2-year period the Downs and people associated with the racino gave Gov. Susana Martinez's campaign $35,000. Those donations are listed in the bid paperwork.
The Downs says it's reported everything, and Laguna's claims are false.
Despite all the accusations and challenges, News 13 has learned the Laguna bid may have been botched from the beginning.
The corporation said it made no donations to candidates on its paperwork submitted to the state last summer.
Yet News 13 found since September 2009 Laguna Development and its associates gave more than a half dozen contributions to state campaigns including about $2,500 to Martinez. None of it was disclosed.
To do business with the state you have to claim any campaign contribution over $250.
News 13 asked Laguna Development Corporation about why it did not report campaign contributions as required. Officials issued a statement saying it was "fully responsive."
The governor's office says no contribution impacted the decision of which company should run the casino and race track.
With frigid temperatures, it's hard to imagine living without a heater these days. An Albuquerque woman claims that's exactly what her family has had to endure due to a pile of problems inside her apartment.
A District Court judge has ordered city leaders respond to a petition filed by an animal activist on the city's trap-neuter-return approach of managing feral cats.
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.