Finally. After two and a half years of allegations and a summer of intense scrutiny, Public Regulation Commissioner Jerome Block Jr. agreed to resign from office today.
Block will plead guilty to six felonies, including two "embezzlement charges; fraudulent use of a credit card; theft of identity; violation of the state Election Code, Campaign Reporting Act, and Voter Action Act; and conspiracy to commit violation of the Election Code," according to a press release from Attorney General Gary King.
Block will also never run for public office again. Up to now, Block has denied the many allegations against him, including $8,000 worth of gas charges on his state-issued credit card this year and misuse of public campaign money.
"I'm looking forward to being whole again," he said at the time, "and if it takes a resignation from me to get some piece of mind, then that might be something I need to look into the next few weeks."
Block also expressed reluctance over having taxpayers foot the bill for his impeachment process, which the state legislature set aside $1 million for during the special session. He elaborates on it in this week's cover story.
SFR followed Block's troubled political career closely over the years. Click here for a recap.
Attorney General Gary King's press release:
Block Resigns and Faces 6 Felonies, Taxpayers Likely Off the Hook for Impeachment
(SANTA FE)Attorney General Gary King says Public Regulation Commissioner Jerome Block, Jr. has agreed to resign and plead guilty to multiple felonies involving two separate cases.
“Another important step was taken today in the prosecution of government corruption in New Mexico,” says AG King. “I congratulate my Government Accountability Division staffers for their good work and dedication in pursuing this matter.”
The PRC Commissioner agrees to plead guilty to two (2) separate embezzlement charges; fraudulent use of a credit card; theft of identity; violation of the state Election Code, Campaign Reporting Act, and Voter Action Act; and conspiracy to commit violation of the Election Code.
Block, Jr. has also agreed never to seek public office again and to repay the state for all improper charges involving state gasoline charge cards. The Attorney General adds that the state can likely save a million dollars in expected costs for impeachment proceedings in the legislature.
A sentencing agreement requires the defendant to successfully complete a drug court program and meet other requirements before final sentencing by the Court.