ALBUQUERQUE, N.M. (KRQE) – The state-run Martin Luther King Jr. Commission is under fire, just two years after former employees were convicted of fraud and embezzlement. Another former employee is claiming they are still up to no good.
“There’s some real red flags here,” says attorney Jacob Candelaria. It starts with the Martin Luther King Jr. Commission. It’s a state-run non-profit organization that promises to bring social change for New Mexicans.
Candelaria says the commission is hiding something. “The commission has not submitted its audits to the state of New Mexico in several years,” he says.
Candelaria is the attorney for the organization’s former associate director, Erica Davis Crump. He says she was suspicious of the commission’s spending and also claims the current executive director, Leonard Waites, made inappropriate and sexual comments to her on the job.
That’s when she filed a public records request for the financial records, claiming $50,000 went missing from the commission’s budget. However, she was hit with a response from Waites. It says, in part, that the records are not required to be revealed because it’s a private part of the commission.
However, Candelaria pointed to the state’s website showing that Waites created the foundation as “the fundraising arm of the MLK commission,” which is a public entity.
In 2018, former executive director Kimberly Greene along with former employees Cheryl Yazzie and Charles Countee, used phony state vouchers to steal money from the MLK Commission. All three pleaded guilty to fraud and embezzlement charges.
The lawsuit also claims when Crump questioned the commission about the missing $50,000, they told her they would not look into it because they trusted Waites. After multiple attempts to reach out to the current executive director, Leonard Waites, KRQE never got a response.
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