The dirt is piling on.
Yesterday, the Rio Grande Sun published
the much-sought-after resignation letter of former New Mexico Elections Bureau Director AJ Salazar, who had accused his boss, Secretary of State Mary Herrera, of running a "crooked organization
." (Herrera's office had refused to release the letter despite it being a public record.)
This afternoon, SFR received an anonymous letter accusing Salazar of stealing from an elderly client, along with a copy of a complaint the client filed against Salazar with the Disciplinary Board of the Supreme Court of New Mexico, which investigates complaints against attorneys.
Updated March 12: "I've never stolen anything from anybody," Salazar tells SFR.
The letter and complaint are posted after the jump.
In the complaint, Lynn Hasenbank, a "77 year old legally blind woman," claims she hired Salazar to recover $200,000 embezzled from her by a former aide. She claims she paid Salazar a $20,000 retainer, and that all he has done in nearly a year's time has been to send two emails on her behalf.
"I'd sure like to get a bit of my money back," she tells SFR.
Salazar did not immediately return SFR's call.
Salazar tells SFR that he has yet to receive a copy of the complaint. Although he did work for Hasenbank, he stresses he's never stolen from anyone. "I'm very confident that nothing will come of that, because I've done nothing wrong," Salazar says
SFR has no way of determining the validity of Hasenbank's allegations—which is all they are, at this stage. A clerk at the Disciplinary Board that "there is no discipline of public record on Mr. Salazar." She could neither confirm nor deny that an investigation was underway. The complaint is dated March 6, four days after Salazar resigned and two days after the Albuquerque Journal first reported his allegations against Herrera.
Hasenbank was aware, from news accounts, of Salazar's allegations against Herrera, but says she wants to stay away from the controversy. Asked how SFR might've gotten a copy of her complaint to the Disciplinary Board—a confidential document, at this stage—Hasenbank replies, "Lordy god, I don't know."
However, Hasenbank suggested SFR call Andrew J Perkins, a Santa Fe accountant who referred her to Salazar. Hasenbank tells SFR that Perkins handles not only her finances, but also her outgoing mail.
Perkins did not immediately return a call for comment. Perkins is active in Democratic Party politics and has run for elected office in the past. According to the Secretary of State's office
, Perkins is the current treasurer of the Santa Fe County Democratic Party.
Salazar calls Perkins an "acquaintance
Here are the anonymous letter and complaint.