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New Mexico Telegram » Featured, Local News » Audit: Treasurer’s Office broke state law, violated county policies

Audit: Treasurer’s Office broke state law, violated county policies

Manny OrtizEmbattled Bernalillo County Treasurer Manny Ortiz broke state law, violated county investment policies and the county’s ethics code according to an audit.

In all, it doesn’t look good for Ortiz.

“These audit findings show that public officials who are entrusted with taxpayer funds violated their fiduciary duties imposed by state law and County policies,” State Auditor Hectgor Balderas said release announcing the audit. “The County and appropriate oversight agencies must review the auditors’ recommendations and take immediate corrective action to restore public confidence in the Treasurer’s Office.”

Balderas had previously ordered a special audit for the Treasurer’s Office.

The audit alleges that Ortiz’s office violated state law by depositing “over $2.4 million in certificates of deposits in banks with branch offices outside of New Mexico.”

The audit also says that a “high-level County Treasurer’s Office employee” approved their own pay raise from $27.3832 per hour to $31.4909 per hour and approved a pay raise for another high-level employee in the office. Teh pay raises did not go through the proper channels.

The office also violated the state’s Open Meeting’s Act when Investment Committee minute meetings were missing or there were differing versions of the minutes from the same meetings. There was also no evidence that the Investment Committee provided proper public notice requirements.

Ortiz himself was dinged for violating the County’s Code of Ethics. He accepted at $2,500 campaign contribution from a “prohibited source” while running for treasurer.

These are not the only alleged violations.

The Bernalillo County Treasurer’s office has been under fire after reports by KRQE that the office had been favoring a certain securities broker. Royce O. Simpson handles around 30 percent of the county’s investment portfolio.

The county has also been forced to sell investments early, at a loss.

The released audit was for all of Bernalillo County, although the Treasurer’s Office was the subject of a significant portion of the audit.

A pdf of the audit is available here.

Written by

Matthew Reichbach has blogged about New Mexico politics since 2006. Matthew was a co-founder of New Mexico FBIHOP with his brother and part of the original hirings at the groundbreaking website the New Mexico Independent. Matthew has covered events such as the Democratic National Convention and Netroots Nation. In addition to politics, Matthew is an avid sports fan, especially of the Los Angeles Dodgers, and TV fan.

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