LAWSUIT: Roswell business owner sues the state for revenue lost during the pandemic

Coronavirus New Mexico

ROSWELL, N.M. (KRQE) – Many businesses are struggling during the pandemic. One New Mexico man says he’s especially feeling it because all four of his businesses are in the hospitality industry.

Summers in Roswell typically meant Madux Hobbs’ vacation rental homes would be booked up. However, this year is different since the pandemic has discouraged people from traveling.

Blair Dunn is Hobbs’ attorney. Hobbs owns two restaurants, a catering business, and a couple vacation rental properties in Roswell.

However, his business has been suffering because of the governor’s public health restrictions. That includes the 14-day quarantine for out-of-state visitors, discouraging tourists.

“If people are coming to town to vacation, they’re probably not going out to eat. So, it’s a snowball effect for somebody like Madux,” says Dunn.

That’s why Hobbs is suing the state, including Governor Michelle Lujan Grisham and health Secretary Kathy Kinkel. His attorney filed the civil suit two days ago in Chaves County District Court.

Dunn says if the government is going to shut down businesses like Hobbs’, then the state should be paying him for the lost revenue, saying the shutdown, amounts to the state condemning Hobbs’ business.

“When the government tells you you have to close your restaurant, they have taken control of your restaurant. Even though they haven’t physically taken control, they have legally taken control,” Dunn says.

Earlier this month, the governor insisted she’s not trying to punish the business owners. “Businesses in it themselves aren’t creating the risk, people are. As a result of those behaviors, we have to restrict your access because I can’t manage for New Mexicans whose lives we’re working to save,” said Gov. Michelle Lujan Grisham during a press conference on July 9.

Dunn did say Hobbs filed for small business loans, but that only covered rent and wages for his employees. Hobbs relies on the revenue from his businesses to support his family. KRQE News 13 reached out to the governor’s office for comment, but haven’t heard back.

New Mexico Coronavirus Resource Guide

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