DEMING, N.M. (KRQE) – The City of Deming is facing two lawsuits surrounding allegations that the city overbilled residents for water. Alexi Jackson, the former Deming Community Services Director, is leading the two lawsuits.
Jackson claims that in August of 2022, he began receiving informal complaints from Deming residents. Jackson says his own water bill was “excessively and inexplicably high.”
Jackson says he told the utility supervisor and several others of the concerns regarding potential overbilling. In the lawsuit, Jackson claims his own home was billed for over 122,000 gallons of water in a period of about 30 days.
Now, a class action lawsuit could help reveal exactly what went on with the city’s billing system. As of now, the claims are just that – unproven claims.
The lawsuit is focused on examining the extent of any alleged overbilling and getting accurate numbers on the issue, Levi Monagle, the lawyer helping Jackson, says. “There are important things we still don’t know yet.”
Jackson, the former Deming employee, is looking to act as a representative in the class action lawsuit for a potentially huge number of residents. “If overbilling is occurring and occurring in the way we think it is, then it’s impacting thousands of people,” Monagle says.
Jackson is also suing the city claiming he was wrongfully fired for raising red flags about the water billing. After Jackson sent administrators emails about billing, and after posting on Facebook about the issue, he was placed on administrative leave without an explanation, he claims in the lawsuit.
“Our allegation is that Alexi Jackson was terminated in direct retaliation for making allegations about widespread utility overbilling and stating his suspicion that it was intentional,” says Monagle.
Aaron Sera, Deming’s city administrator, told KRQE News 13 that they have not yet seen the allegations made in the lawsuits. As for what Deming is doing about the overbilling concerns, back in November of 2022, Sera announced that Deming was hiring a firm to conduct an audit.
A spokesperson for the New Mexico State Auditor Joseph Maestas says Deming never got an audit done and that the state auditor took over that work. The spokesperson says they have met with Deming officials to discuss the audit but haven’t set an exact timeline for when the audit might be done. If they don’t encounter any roadblocks, it may be done by October, they said.
KRQE News 13 called Triadic Enterprises, Inc., which serves software used in government systems. Jackson’s lawsuit alleges that Triadic may also be at fault for any overbilling issues. A representative at Triadic says they have not yet been served the lawsuit and can’t comment without seeing the allegations.