Las Vegas mayor expected in court after lengthy charges

New Mexico News

LAS VEGAS, N.M. (KRQE) – The Mayor of Las Vegas, New Mexico has finally been charged after a lengthy investigation. Investigators say they now have proof she was giving city contracts to her boyfriend to line both their pockets.

According to a complaint, Mayor Tonita Gurule-Giron was helping her contractor boyfriend since she first took office and now we’re getting a closer look into what was really going on behind closed doors.

In June, investigators with the Attorney General’s office raided the mayor’s home, city hall and the home of her boyfriend Marvin Salazar.

Gurule-Giron had been accused of providing inside information to Salazar who owns Gemini Construction, so he could come in with the lowest bid for city contracts.

In the complaint filed Monday, investigators first looked into a wood flooring job done at city hall in mid-2016. Salazar was contracted to complete the job and his bid came in as the second-lowest, meaning another contractor could have been awarded the job.

Then, they investigated a sidewalk repair in late 2016. Not only did Salazar submit his bid after the deadline, his bid came in just $200 less than another construction company.

Investigators also found text messages sent from the mayor to Salazar with two dollar amounts. They believe these were to alert Salazar of the pricetags for the other two bids so he could come in with the lowest bid.

When the mayor was first under investigation this summer, people who live in Las Vegas weren’t surprised.

The complaint goes on to say there was an emergency water damage order fulfilled in 2017. The initial cost for repairs was $10,000, then it was revised a month later for $94,000. That money was paid directly to Marvin Salazar. Yet, the insurance company only paid the city $42,000 for damages.

Gurule-Giron is facing a slew of charges including official acts for personal financial interest, unlawful interest in a public contract and demanding or receiving a bribe by a public officer.

The mayor is expected in court on January 6.

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