The local developer whose comments led to an investigation involving City Councilor Patti Bushee finally made public comments on the situation this afternoon.
In an e-mail to local media, Railyard Co. LLC Principal Steve Duran says his comments during a closed-session meeting with city staff last week were misconstrued.
At that meeting, Duran said something "to the effect of, 'If she messes this up, I'm going to go after her. I've got pictures. She didn't pay me,'" City Manager Robert Romero wrote in an e-mail to the Santa Fe New Mexican yesterday.
"All I stated was that I must protect my investment to the fullest extent of the law," Duran writes in his e-mail to media.
Regardless, Duran's statements prompted Romero to sign a contract with an Albuquerque law firm to investigate
claims that Bushee owes him money. Bushee, who hired Duran's brother in 2005 to do plumbing work on her home, has repeatedly denied the allegations and says she has all the receipts to prove it. Part of the investigation will center on whether Bushee should have disclosed the potential conflict and recused herself from city council votes related to Railyard Co.
Railyard Co. has clashed with the city ever since it entered a deal in 2005 to construct a $14 million parking garage underneath the Railyard's Market Station building. The city, which has been threatened with a lawsuit by the company for delaying the project, might be on the heels of a compromise with agreeing to buy roughly 22,000 square feet of the Market Station building from Railyard Co.
City Council will discuss the measure on Wednesday. Bushee, who's been vocally opposed to the project, accuses Duran of not wanting her to vote on the project.
"I adamantly disagree with the outrageous, slanderous remarks of Councilor Bushee," Duran writes.
He also writes that he hasn't been contacted by any investigators but will fully cooperate in the investigation.
Read Duran's full statement:
PO Box 280
Santa Fe, NM 87504
To whom it may concern:
RE: Steve Duran statement to media.
1. I have been unavailable because I have been out of town working.
2. I have not been contacted by any investigator, but I will cooperate fully in this investigation.
3. I adamantly disagree with the outrageous, slanderous remarks of Councilor Bushee.
4. My comments at the meeting with City Staff have been misconstrued as all I stated was that I must protect my investment to the fullest extent under the law.
5. As Councilor Bushee well knows, I did contracting work for her and she did refuse to pay for completed construction work.
6. The reference to pictures were to a trip to New York that Councilor Bushee and I went on. I paid for travel expenses including air fare and hotel accommodations. There are pictures of us in New York. No other pictures exist regarding any other matter.
7. I encourage Councilor Bushee to vote on the merits of the settlement agreement to be herd on April 25th, 2012.
8. The duty of disclosing information for the work I performed, the trip, and my relationship with Councilor Bushee is her requirement not mine.
9. In response to Councilor Bushee's comments on "Bailout" attached is an agreement signed by the City that protects my membership interest in the Railyard Co. LLC's development agreement with the City and SFRCC. The agreement was signed before any work commenced in the Railyard because the City and SFRCC could not provide clear title and could not provide the Railyard Co. LLC a marketable leasehold estate for financing purposes prior to the enormous undertaking of our Company. The letter agreement along with the First Amendment to Parking Garage Development Agreement approved by City Council on February 1, 2006 insured us that the City would be responsible for any and all delays, interruption, and interference of the Development obligations of Railyard Co. LLC. Unlike the national bailouts of AIG, GM, etc., our company was induced by the City to proceed on the project with contractual rights, protection rights, and the responsibility of the City to remedy any and all claims that adversely affected Railyard's Co. LLC's obligations, liabilities, and responsibilities under the Development Agreement.
10. I have no further comments at this time.