Local group offering $5,000 reward for proof of corrupt public officials

........................................................................................................................................................................................

A group of Valencia County residents, going by the name Citizens for Honest Government, has put a bounty out on dishonest and corrupt politicians.

At recent public meetings throughout the county, Las Maravillas resident Mike Wood has announced the group will pay a $5,000 reward for proof of wrongdoing by public officials.

At the Sept. 4 Valencia County Commission meeting, Wood said the reward was "to find the person getting you commissioners to vote the way you do."

Wood said he would make the same announcement at upcoming council meetings for the village of Los Lunas and city of Belen.

"(Former Commissioner Donald) Holliday voted on the Belen hospital contract and we have a female commissioner still doing something that's corruption in my opinion," Wood said about the commissioners' actions.

Holliday's vote came after he moved out of his district. In previous meetings, Wood has questioned why Commissioner Mary Andersen, who represents the majority of the village of Los Lunas, voted for the hospital contract with the city of Belen.

Commission Chairman Charles Eaton told Wood if he was going to make allegations of corruption, there were proper channels to go through.

"You seem to have a direct line to the (Attorney General's) office," Eaton said.

Eaton was referring to Wood's frequent claims to have knowledge about ongoing investigations by the AG's office into purported wrongdoing of local officials.

"If they had found a problem, there would have been indictments," Eaton continued. "There are appropriate channels for this. Coming up here, lambasting this commission and the previous commission, you're not getting anywhere. Alert the authorities. It will be investigated."

In an interview after the commission meeting, Belen resident and a member of Citizens for Honest Government, Bob McKague said the purpose of the reward being offered by the loosely organized group was to keep government honest.

"We are just trying to keep the city and the county honest," McKague said. "And we are offering a reward for information. We need proof. We are not up here incriminating anyone."

McKague said anyone with proof of corruption or dishonesty by a public official can call Mike Wood at 866-0151 and try to claim the reward.


-- Email the author at jdendinger@news-bulletin.com.