ATTORNEY GENERAL’S OFFICE NEWS
Attorney General Hector Balderas announced Tuesday that former Rio Arriba County Commissioner Barney Trujillo was found guilty after trial for violating New Mexico’s procurement code. A Santa Fe District Court Judge found that Trujillo failed to disclose in-kind campaign contributions he made to an Española Public School Board member’s campaign as required by a professional services agreement he subsequently entered into with that same board.
“Political corruption cases are among the most difficult to prosecute in New Mexico, and we will continue to partner with members of the public and others to protect our schools and taxpayer resources,” said Attorney General Balderas. “I am grateful to the Court for its careful consideration of this case.”
On July 7, 2016, Trujillo and Española Public Schools entered into a professional services agreement worth over $50,000 annually for marketing services Trujillo was to provide for the school district. That contract required him to disclose any political contributions to school board members, which he knowingly failed to do. Trujillo thus failed to properly report those contributions to the board member’s election campaign before the board member authorized his contract.
According to testimony, Barney Trujillo donated numerous campaign signs for the Española Public School Board member’s campaign, and the board member had the ability to vote to authorize Trujillo’s personal services agreement. At trial, that board member denied ever reimbursing Trujillo for those materials.
Sentencing will be set at a later date. Trujillo faces up to 18 months of incarceration in the Department of Corrections, as well as potential restitution to the State of New Mexico. This case was prosecuted by Assistant Attorneys General Peter Valencia and Jonathan Gardner.