Ever since SFR first broke the news that Jerome Block Jr. had failed to disclose his full criminal record during his primary campaign to win election to the Public Regulatory Commission, indiscretions, lies and anomalies have continued to mount.
Below are the links to SFR's coverage of the race for PRC district 3 and the trials and tribulations of Block Jr.'s candidacy. For the most current information on Block and the PRC race, check SFR's fast-paced news and culture blog SFReeper.com.
Decisions, Decisions: On May 28, SFR Endorsed Bruce Throne in the primary elections as the democratic candidate for PRC. SFR identified three strong candidates, but Block Jr. was among those noted as struggling to have "a strong grasp of the issues." Block Jr. went on to win regardless, bolstered by the name recognition of his father, who had served in the same post.
Failure to Appear: On June 25, SFR staff writer Dave Maass broke the story that Block Jr., lied about being found "not guilty" for a drunken driving arrest. In addition, Maass' investigation turned up another DWI-related incident, an arrest for disorderly conduct related to urinating in public, failure to appear charges related to a child-support and custody case, as well as loan-default issues.
All in the Family: On July 16, SFR revealed that Block Jr.'s campaign Web site was created and paid for by a corporation that is regulated by the Public Regulatory Commission, demonstating at least the appearance of conflict of interest.
Manning Up: On July 23, SFR reported on Green Party PRC candidate Rick Lass. Lass is Block Jr.'s sole opponent in the district 3 race. The Block Jr. campaign directed attention to a domestic violence charge in Lass' past in an attempt to take balance a race that had been rocked by Block Jr.'s failure to disclose his criminal record.
Jerry From the Block: On August 8, Maass broke new revelations about Block Jr.'s past, demonstrating earlier connections to gang activity and the threatening of two boys, which resulted in a restraining order against Block Jr.
Audit Right There: On August 20, SFR unveiled campaign finance practices by the Block Jr. campaign, potentially inappropriate payments made to San Miguel County Clerk Paul Maez and his band. San Miguel County is the only one Block won outright in the primary election.
Chopping Block: On September 17, SFR reported on District 3 Congressional candidate Ben Ray Lujan's apparent reluctance to endorse Block Jr., as well as Block Jr.'s diminishing support among democrats.
Las Vegas Optic Reports: On September 24, after it was revealed that two of San Miguel County Clerk Paul Maez' band mates stepped forward to state that they had never performed at a campaign event for which Block Jr. paid the band $2500, Block Jr. admits to the Optic that he lied.
Mysterious Break-in: On September 23, Block Jr.'s campaign manager alleged to the Santa fe New Mexican that Block Jr.'s home in La Puebla had been burglarized.
A Complaint to the Secretary of State: On September 24, campaign finance advocacy group Common Cause issued a formal complaint to the New Mexico Secretary of State regarding Block's apparent violations of the Voter Action Act in San Miguel county.
Attorney General Involvement: On September 27, the Attorney General stated that an investigation into Block Jr. lying about finances used in San Miguel County is on the "front burner."
Block The Vote!: On October 1, SFR reported on the ramifications of Block Jr.'s name remaining on ballots for the primary election, regardless of any investigations into criminal wrong-doing by his campaign.
Letter from Secretary of State: On October 6, The office of the Secretary of State issued a letter to Block Jr., requesting an explanation for conflicting information and irregularities which could lead to an investigation. Block Jr. was ordered to respond by Friday October 10.
Nick of Time: On October 10, just before the close of business at 5 pm, Block Jr. submitted his letter of expanation to the Office of the Secretary of State.
Still Failing to Appear: On October 10, Block Jr. declined to show up for a scheduled interview on KNME with host David Alire Garcia. A 20 minute interview with Block Jr.'s challenger, Green Party candidate Rick Lass aired without opposing viewpoints.
More Pressure: On October 13, Common Cause New Mexico expressed doubts about the veracity of Block Jr.'s letter to the Secretary of State and said it intended to follow up with the Secretary of State's office. Executive Director Steve Allen said “I think the most crucial thing now is for the Secretary of State to make some sort of determination and then probably hand it over to the Attorney General’s office.”
Just Who Ain't on the Payroll?: On October 14, the first general election campaign finance reports for the district 3 PRC race indicated that Block Jr. payed Cordy Medina for "mailout assistance." What's the problem? Medina is the State Attorney General's consitutent services coordiantor--the person who picks up the phone when citizens call to complain about, um, political candidates having suspicious payrolls.
Democrats fr Lass: On October 17, former Democratic party chairman Earl Potter presented a formidable list of democratic supporter for the Green Party candidate.
Fined!: On October 20, Block Jr. was formally fined by the Office of the Secretary of State for lying and mishandling campaign funds. The bill? $21700. The investigation at the Attorney General's office remains open.
More opposition surfaces: On October 21, The Conservation Voters of New Mexico, which has endorsed Rick Lass, began airing attack ads on Block Jr. pointedly describing his missteps and poor judgement.
Pricey Forum: On October 21, Block Jr. attended the only pulbic forum that he has appeared at during the primary campaign. Members of the public had to fork over $25 to attend, or be denied first person participatory democracy. SFR captured it on video: Part One, Part Two, Part Three
Lashing out: On October 21, the Block Jr campaign--rocked by fines, lies and financial impropriety--issued allegations that Green Party candidate Rick Lass had received illegal contributions. A cursory reading of the rules proves the charges baseless, but opens up areas of confusion in the Secretary of State's regulations.
Land of Confusion: On October 22, Dave Maass described the confusion regarding funding regulations and--critically--misinformation coming from county clerks on how to vote a straight democratic ticket except for Block Jr.
Still fibbing: On October 22, SwingStateofMind.com published a letter proving that Block Jr has been dishonest about receiving an endorsement from an organization that has a policy against endorsements.
Secretary of State gets serious: In late October, leading up to election day, the Secretary of State's Office officially requested explanation of apparrent misspending of public campaign monies on the part of Block Jr's campaign.
Block Jr Claims He's Confused: On October 30, A letter from Block Jr to the Secretary of State argued that he is being too heavily fined and that his actions were the results of simple befuddlement.
The Fines Stand!: On November 3, Secretary of State Mary Herrera batted down Block Jr's plea of confusion and ruled that he is still responsible for $21700 in combined fines.
Running For What?: The day before election day, Block Jr's website indicated that someone's not clear on just what commission he's hoping to garner a $90,000/year public office job with.
District 3's Folly: Jerome Block Jr was elected, despite his continuing shenanigans and the possibility of felony charges. Block scooped up 97,405 votes to Rick Lass' 75,731 votes. It looks like the Patron system is alive and well in New Mexico.
Ponied up: On November 13, Block Jr returned $10,000 dollars in misspent funds and paid the $11,700 dollars he owes to date in fines for hinky spending during the primary and general elections. Deputy Secretary of State Don Francisco Trujillo II says it ain't over yet--investigations into Block Jr's shenanigans are ongoing.
Jerome, meet Hector: On November 26, SFR revealed that state auditor Hector Balderas is closely monitoring Jerome Block Jr.
Grand Jury Indictment!: On April 8, 2009, a New Mexico Grand Jury handed down eight criminal charges of election- and embezzlement-related fraud against now sitting PRC commissioner Jerome Block, Jr. The Grand Jury also handed down 4 indictments against his father, former PRC commissioner, Jerome Block, Sr.
Again, for the most up-do-date information coming in regarding Block Jr.'s PRC campaign check SFR's fast-paced news and politics blog SFReeper.com
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