First Judicial District Court Judge Sarah Singleton has set a mid-May deadline for Gov. Susana Martinez to comply with an April 2013 public records request by the fired CEO of New Mexico’s Finance Authority, Richard May, a former Beltway Republican who says he was a scapegoat in an audit that identified fraud in NMFA.
May’s October lawsuit, filed 174 days after he requested the records, alleges that the Martinez administration “purposefully and intentionally delayed, failed, and refused to produce copies of properly requested public records,” which “may be embarrassing or show excess and abuses of the powers and authority.” May’s Inspection of Public Records Act request asks for years of communications and other records involving the Finance Authority and the special audit of NMFA’s finances.
The case is one of a handful of lawsuits accusing the Martinez administration of unlawfully withholding public records—despite the administration’s public statements claiming it’s the “most transparent” administration in the state’s history. The Associated Press, New Mexico In Depth, Las Cruces Sun News, the New Mexico Foundation for Open Government and SFR are among the organizations involved in lawsuits against the administration for refusing to turn over a variety of records.
At a Monday hearing, Singleton told lawyers for Martinez to submit detailed affidavits describing the administration’s policies and procedures for searching for the requested records in preparation for a motion for summary judgment. SFR’s own lawsuit accuses the governor’s office of having an inadequate process for searching for documents and asks the court to require “prompt and thorough” records searches. No hearing has been scheduled on the case yet.