***image1*** Will the movers and shakers connected to Bill Richardson help or hinder him?

The year was 1980. A baby-faced politician named Bill Richardson was making his virgin run at political office. And he was getting his ass kicked.

The pummeling was being provided courtesy of New Mexico Congressman Mánuel Lujan, Jr., a powerful incumbent who was trouncing Richardson in the polls by a staggering 55 percent margin.

Richardson needed help. He found it in Donaldo "Tiny" Martinez, an influential political boss-or


-who wielded considerable clout over Democrats in San Miguel County. Desperate to get rid of Lujan, Martinez publicly gave Richardson his blessing. Though Richardson still lost to Lujan, Jr., Martinez' endorsement made the race surprisingly tight and breathed new life into Richardson's floundering political career.

More than 20 years later, Richardson returned the favor when Martinez' son applied for a state job. The newly anointed governor-remembering the hand Tiny had extended-told the younger Martinez that the job was his because of what his father had done. True, there were other qualified candidates along with Martinez, but in the back-scratching world of

la politica

, this was the way things were done.

In his recently published autobiography,

Between Worlds: The Making of an American Life

, Richardson recounts the story of Tiny Martinez and the lesson he learned about New Mexico politics. Namely, a favor bestowed upon an ally is an investment in political survival.

Today Richardson is a consummate master of the system. He is the most dominant politician, the most skillful


New Mexico has ever seen-a man who rules state


government with a savvy fusion of telegenic smiles and relentless authority.

Richardson's cherubic grin has graced billboards in Times Square, the pages of Time magazine and the Sunday morning television talk show circuit. He has effectively pushed through numerous financial initiatives, filling state coffers with revenue from tourism and film. He's also improved New Mexico's historically lax social programs, emphasizing DWI prevention and raising public school teachers' salaries.

And, as with any


, he has doled out prominent appointments and favors to those who have fueled his political ascent.

"New Mexico politics has always been done with a wink and a nod," says State Sen. John Grubesic, D-Santa Fe, an outspoken critic of Richardson. "It's been very effective for Richardson because he controls each and every aspect of New Mexico politics."

For Richardson, those favors have benefited the small, loyal circle of supporters he keeps around him. Men like horse track entrepreneur Paul Blanchard; president of the University of the New Mexico board of regents Jamie Koch; art dealer Gerald Peters and investor Guy Riordan. These are the

governor's men-a quiet cadre of insiders who have fueled Richardson's ascent to power. Together, their generous checkbooks, unabashed chutzpah and breathtaking backroom savvy have formed the Voltron of all political machines. It's safe to say that without that machine, Bill Richardson might still be trying to figure his way out of northern New Mexico.

"Quite frankly, people often want to jump to the conclusion that if there are a lot of guys throwing money around in politics then they're doing something wrong and that's just not the case," Whitney Cheshire, an Albuquerque-based Republican strategist, says. "These men hang around the governor, they are the inner circle. They have a lot of money and a lot of pull for him."

But there's a downside to keeping such ambitious personalities around. Since Richardson took office, some of the governor's men have also been linked to both political scandals and shadowy financial



Riordan became People's Exhibit A after he was named in the corruption trial of former state treasurer Robert Vigil. Others, including Koch, Blanchard and Peters, have all also been connected to prominent controversies.

For his part, Richardson has called for greater oversight and government accountability. In the wake of this week's mistrial of Robert Vigil, Richardson made a public statement about the need for greater campaign finance and ethics reform.

Richardson also has proven adept at publicly distancing himself from his friends' problems. He has routinely pledged to beef up his office's vetting process after watching several of his political appointments flounder. Richardson also was quick to dump Riordan from his post as a member of the State Game Commission while donating some $11,500 in Riordan contributions to charity.

Richardson spokesman Gilbert Gallegos plays down the personal relationship between the governor and Riordan. He says Richardson's friendships with Blanchard, Koch and Peters are more substantive but cautions that the governor makes his decisions based on sound policy above all else.

"The governor is very independent regardless of who his friends are and has always done what's best for the state," Gallegos says. "I think you need to separate the governor's friendships with what these individuals do in their business lives. I would also point out that these are friends of his, and the governor is very loyal to his friends, but they aren't his



Despite the potential political fallout from some of Richardson's associations, pundits expect the governor to win a November re-election in a landslide. It's his not-so-secret


aspirations for the White House that may cause problems.

According to Josh Kurtz-politics editor at the influential Capitol Hill publication Roll Call and a former SFR staff writer-friends and foes in Washington, DC already are keeping tabs on Richardson in advance of his expected run for national office.

"I know that the Republican National Committee has a dossier on Richardson," Kurtz says. "If he announces, the Republicans will use that information to their full strategic advantage."

Kurtz says Richardson can nevertheless make a real play for the Oval Office because his electric personality and political know-how have kept him in high esteem with

Democrats and, with immigration becoming a hot-button issue, he has an opportunity to distinguish himself even further.

New Mexico political blogger Joe Monahan says that because the governor remains popular (according to Survey USA, his approval rating was at 57 percent as of May 18) it is not yet clear whether or not public esteem of Richardson will slip come 2008.

"New Mexicans have a high tolerance for political high jinks," Monahan says. "If you look at President Clinton and all the problems he had in Arkansas, they didn't stop him from getting the nomination. Unless there's something so blatant that it crosses the line ethically, it's all under the radar to the vast majority of the voting population."

In other words, it remains to be seen if Richardson's allies will ultimately rocket him all the way to Pennsylvania Avenue or torpedo his political career before he gets there.

Richardson has thousands of die-hard supporters in New Mexico and beyond. But only a few share cigars in the governor's mansion and accompany him to the Super Bowl. The following are among a select group of power players who stand just outside the incandescent glare of Richardson's spotlight.


The Man:

Any person capable of bringing an ornery, 1,000-pound animal to its knees would presumably have a head start in politics. Sure enough,

Paul Blanchard

-a competitive steer-roper and co-owner of both The Downs at Albuquerque and the Zia Park race track and casino (or "racino") in Hobbs-has proven to be an ornery political animal.

A former linebacker at UNM and president of Blanchard Construction, the Albuquerque contractor and developer has built himself into a multi-millionaire-and thus a critical benefactor of political causes. His ascension came after financial troubles in the late '80s and early '90s.

The Connection:

People aren't being figurative when they say Blanchard is the governor's right-hand man. Richardson appointed Blanchard to the State Board of Finance and he sits beside Richardson at meetings of the board, which also included deposed state treasurer Robert Vigil before his resignation.

Blanchard has served as a Richardson campaign finance chairman and as one of the directors (along with Jamie Koch and Eric Serna) of the governor's political action committee Moving America Forward. A regular visitor at the governor's mansion, Blanchard has accompanied Richardson elk hunting, clay shooting and-along with Guy Riordan-to high-profile sporting events like the Super Bowl and the World Series.

"I've seen a lot of bad governors and I just thought that he would make a great governor for this state," Blanchard says. "We really needed somebody who could move this state forward. I'm not a very political person and I wasn't on the political side of things until I got to be friends with the governor."

Blanchard's wife Kandace also sits on the New Mexico Rodeo Council, the Governor's Task Force on Compulsive Gambling and is the executive director of the New Mexico Council on Problem Gambling (NMCPG). Paul Blanchard-who receives an acknowledgment in Richardson's biography-has been a


major contributor to Richardson campaigns. The Blanchard family and The Downs gave some $120,000 to Richardson's first run for governor. Thus far, Blanchard has personally given $5,000 to

Richardson's re-election campaign while Zia Park has donated $10,000.

While Blanchard and his businesses have given contributions to a number of politicians-including Republicans like State Rep. Dan Foley, R-Chaves-he told the Albuquerque Journal in April 2005 that "Bill's my guy, no ifs, ands or buts."

The Controversy:

Running The Downs at Albuquerque involves formidable political navigating, but Blanchard's control over the racetrack and casino-located on the state fairgrounds-was cast into doubt when the State Fair Commission voted in 2002 to put its operation out to an open bid.

After Richardson took over in January 2003, his office reportedly asked the Fair Commission to withdraw its plans for a no-bid process. Fair Commission President Tom Tinnin refused the request and Richardson subsequently replaced the entire seven-member commission. At its first meeting, the new commission scrapped the open-bidding plan and, a few months later, voted to extend Blanchard's no-bid contract another six years, the maximum allowed at the time under state law.

Blanchard says the deal was hardly a sweet one, given that his annual rent paid to the state was raised nearly $1 million and that he was forced to dole out $5 million to build new horse barns.

In 2004, Manny Aragon-then a state senator-sponsored a bill that would have extended the contract an additional 25 years while requiring the state's other race tracks to subsidize improvements to the fairgrounds using tax revenue to the tune of roughly $1.5 million annually. Richardson eventually vetoed the contract extension but signed the subsidies into law.

"Paul Blanchard is a friend," Gallegos says. "The governor spends time with him. But as an example of his independence, the governor didn't hesitate to line-item veto a 25-year lease extension on Paul's race track."

Blanchard was less than pleased with the governor's decision.

"I was stunned," Blanchard says. "But we're too good of friends for me to be pissed off."

In November 2003, the State Racing Commission-appointed by Richardson-chose a partnership that included Blanchard to build a new racino in Hobbs. Zia Partners won the bid over three other competing groups-including one involving Gerald Peters. One of Blanchard's partners, RD Hubbard, had, at the time, a company, Pinnacle Entertainment Corporation, under investigation. The Indiana Gaming Commission subsequently required Hubbard to relinquish his Indiana gaming license, pay a $740,000 fine and sell his stock in Pinnacle Entertainment Corporation.

Blanchard's name also popped up in the State Treasury Department scandal. Robert Vigil met financial advisor Kent Nelson (who was co-operating with the FBI) at The Downs in August 2005 to allegedly accept an envelope containing $5,000 in kickbacks. According to FBI transcripts of the conversation between Vigil and Nelson, part of the reason for meeting at the Downs was so Vigil could try and arrange for Blanchard to host a fundraiser for his re-election campaign. Blanchard has denied contributing any money to Vigil or organizing fundraising efforts for the former treasurer.

In addition, Guy Clark-chairman of the National Coalition Against Legalized Gambling and director of the New Mexico Coalition Against Gambling, has previously called for Kandace Blanchard's resignation from the New Mexico Council on Problem Gambling.

"She's the part-owner of a couple of racetracks where they're promoting gambling and she has money coming and going out of the system. It's a major conflict," Clark says.

Blanchard denies any conflict of interest regarding his wife. He points out that Kandace is a licensed counselor and a certified therapist as well as one of only a handful of people in the state with the credentials to handle gaming issues. He also points out that, unlike Clark's organization, the New Mexico Council on Problem Gambling isn't anti-gambling. In fact, the NMCPG, and Kandace Blanchard, work with the gaming industry to treat compulsive gamblers.

"Guy Clark is somewhat confused with all his rhetoric because he's pushing this anti-gambling agenda and my wife is just trying to help people out of their addiction problems," Blanchard says. "It's like saying that a guy who owns a bar and his wife treats alcoholism is somehow a conflict."

The Risk Factor:

"Blanchard has contributed very large amounts of money to the governor's campaign and it's obvious that they're not just casual acquaintances," Clark says. "The governor is very popular right now and while there are enough issues here to raise concern and cause suspicion in the hearts and minds of a lot of people, I don't think it will have a huge impact on his electability. But if things like [the Downs' no-bid contract] keep coming up, any opponent would have to be out of his mind to not make it a campaign issue."


The Man:

A former state legislator and former chairman of the New Mexico Democratic Party,

James "Jamie" Koch

is currently president of Daniels Insurance in Santa Fe and president of the University of New Mexico Board of Regents. Koch-whose grandfather ran a commercial laundry in Santa Fe and whose father was one of the founders of the Santa Fe Ski Area-graduated from UNM and has served on the State Game and Fish Commission.

The Connection:

A seasoned veteran of New Mexico politics, Koch served in the State Legislature before becoming a confidante of former governor Bruce King. Richardson appointed Koch as state Democratic Party chairman during Richardson's first run at governor. Koch donated approximately $6,500 to Richardson's first gubernatorial campaign and was on the board of directors for Richardson's Moving America Forward political action committee.

Within weeks of taking office, Richardson asked for the resignation of all state university regents. The governor could not force resignations by law, but four regents at UNM heeded Richardson's request, clearing the way for the governor to appoint Koch and three others to the board. A few months later, Koch was elected president of the regents.

The Controversy:

During the first several months of his tenure as president of the UNM regents, Koch vowed to make the board-which has routinely met in closed-door executive sessions-more transparent while championing the creation of a conflict-of-interest clause forbidding UNM to do business with regents or their companies.

But earlier this year, Koch and the regents came under fire for holding a closed-door meeting with representatives from the Richardson-created New Mexico Sports Authority. The meeting was to discuss the possibility of luring a college football bowl game-which has since come to fruition-to Albuquerque. Bob Johnson, executive director of the New Mexico Foundation for Open Government, accused the regents of violating the state's Open Meeting Act.

"It was totally a mistake on my part," Koch admits. "We let [the NMSA] talk to us in executive session for about two minutes and we shouldn't have. We made a mistake."

Koch is less contrite about the hiring of Billy Sparks, Richardson's former deputy chief of staff, as director of communications and marketing for UNM Health Sciences Center. The position-which reportedly pays $120,000, more than some UNM doctors make-was not advertised and reportedly was created explicitly for Sparks, an assertion Koch denies.

"Billy is a very skilled news media person and it's wrong to say that the position was created," Koch says. "The position was there and you don't have to do a search for everyone who's hired at the University of New Mexico. Frankly, I'm surprised Billy left the Governor's Office but we weren't asked by the governor to hire him. I personally had nothing to do with the hiring."

In February 2004, Richardson also requested that the State Game Commission-whose chairman at the time was Guy Riordan-honor Koch by erecting a monument in his honor at the Willow Creek campground on the Pecos River. The commission complied. Later that year, Koch and the board of regents voted to name a massive and expensive expansion of the UNM hospital the Barbara and Bill Richardson Pavilion.

Despite the appearance of an unwavering alliance between Koch and Richardson, spokesman Gallegos is quick to point out that the two have butted heads on more than one occasion.

"Jamie was a valuable asset to the Democratic Party as chairman and has done a terrific job as a regent at UNM," Gallegos says. "But Jamie and the governor have clashed publicly and even in court. The governor wanted to use federal campaign funds to possibly run for governor and they went to court for that, but now they're friends and strong allies."

Most recently, Koch and the regents have been stuck in an icy impasse with UNM president Louis Caldera-whom the regents hired little more than two years ago-and have been rumored to be negotiating for Caldera's resignation.

The Risk Factor:

"[Koch] understands New Mexico politics as good as anyone," Joe Monahan says. "He is good as a fundraiser and at providing the governor with advice. I'm not sure how far the Republicans will dig into the personnel moves [at UNM] but it doesn't seem to have impacted the governor adversely."


The Man:

Throw a rock anywhere in downtown Santa Fe and there's a good chance you'll hit something owned, operated or developed by

Gerald Peters

. The prominent Santa Fe businessman has an ownership stake in a multitude of enterprises including the Gerald Peters Gallery, Century Bank, Santa Fe Properties, the Monte Sol Group investment firm and several restaurants including the Rio Chama Steakhouse, a favorite watering hole for legislators, lobbyists and the governor himself. The Denver native moved to Santa Fe in the late '60s to attend St. John's College and never left, building himself into one of the nation's leading collectors of American art and one of the most powerful businessmen in the state.

The Connection:

Peters played an integral role in Richardson's first gubernatorial campaign, giving $137,000 in the form of cash contributions, art donations and the use of his private plane for Richardson's campaign swings around the state.

In an e-mail to SFR, Peters explains that he first met Richardson more than 20 years ago and has followed the governor's political career closely ever since.

"I thought he would make an exceptional governor. I think he deserves a lot of credit for his dedication to the state's best, long-term interests," Peters says. "I made my plane available to Bill Richardson because he was taking his campaign to just about every town in New Mexico. The plane was available, and I wanted him to travel safely. On a couple of occasions, he used the plane to travel out of state."

Peters was subsequently named to Richardson's transition team and was appointed to two search committees that recommended candidates for state engineer and state investment officer. Richardson also appointed Peters to sit on the State Board of Finance-a position Peters has since left-and the Commission on Higher Education, a group that has since dissolved.

Peters praises Richardson for his work ethic and his ideas for education, tax reform and public/private partnerships.

"He never stops," Peters says. "He cares passionately about the state and isn't afraid of big ideas, big projects and taking big steps. He courageously embraces the political risk that accompanies big visions."

The Controversy:

Peters' Century Bank donated more than $100,000 to the Con Alma Health Foundation-where Eric Serna served as board president-before Serna (and Robert Vigil) signed a contract with Century Bank in 2003 to handle hundreds of millions of dollars for the state's Insurance Division.

Serna recently retired from his post as Insurance Division superintendent, effectively ending a New Mexico Public Regulation Commission inquiry into the contract. Nonetheless, Attorney General Patricia Madrid has said publicly her office will continue its investigation into the Century Bank contract as well as the bank's relationship with Con Alma.

The PRC had previously declared that the contract between Century Bank and the Insurance Division was illegal because it allowed the bank to receive a higher fee for its services than allowed by state regulations. Century Bank agreed to repay the difference.

Peters says in his e-mail that Century Bank and Con Alma have been positive forces in the state. He says that Century Bank helps keep money in New Mexico while benefiting homeowners and small businesses.

"I think a legitimate inquiry into the Bank's charitable giving will conclude that the Bank is a good corporate citizen," Peters says. "I don't see how any public official would be affected one way or the other. I would encourage everyone who can to support Con Alma as well."

In addition, Peters has a number of commercial ventures tied into state government, among them, a bid to build a new train and bus station complex in Santa Fe as part of the governor's Railrunner commuter train plan.

Also, after losing his bid-won by Blanchard's Zia Partners-to build a new racetrack and casino in Hobbs, Peters has teamed with Jemez Pueblo to lobby for a new casino near Anthony, some 300 miles away from the pueblo. The off-reservation project needs approval from the governor and the US Interior Department. Richardson hasn't taken a position on the casino, although US Bureau of Indian Affairs has requested his office weigh in on the project.

The Risk Factor:

"There is no doubt that Jerry Peters is a huge asset to the governor," Whitney Cheshire says. "Everybody knows that he is a big contributor. Everybody knows that he has a lot of business interests that involve state decisions. But everything beyond that is really speculation. What it will really come down to is if anything comes out of the Con Alma/Century Bank investigation…"


The Man:

No name-short of Robert Vigil-raises more eyebrows in the Roundhouse these days than

Guy Riordan

. Riordan is a veteran financial advisor, stockbroker and managing director of New Mexico operations for the New York brokerage firm Wachovia Securities.

Riordan is also a prolific political benefactor, contributing to candidates ranging from Richardson and Lt. Gov. Diane Denish to Attorney General Patricia Madrid and Sen. Jeff Bingaman, D-NM to former treasurers Vigil and Montoya. Riordan has been a successful lobbyist, particularly for legislation benefiting the State Game and Fish Department. Riordan is also an amateur boxing promoter and owns and operates the Rancho de la Joya Game Preserve, a commercial hunting facility. Riordan could not be reached for comment for this story.

The Connection:

Riordan contributed at least $28,000 to Richardson's 2002 campaign and has donated at least $11,500 toward the governor's re-election, money Richardson has since donated to charity after Riordan's name surfaced in the State Treasury scandal. Richardson has hunted with Riordan at Rancho de la Joya and the two have traveled together to boxing matches, the Super Bowl and a World Series game.

Richardson appointed Riordan to the State Game Commission in January, 2003 and also named him to the search committee-along with Peters-that made recommendations for the state investment officer position when Richardson first took office.

The Controversy:

Richardson swiftly removed Riordan from the Game Commission after the broker was named in the Treasury scandal. Former treasurer Michael Montoya testified in court that Riordan paid him roughly $100,000 in kickbacks in return for Montoya


steering state investment business to Riordan (Riordan's attorney has previously denied the allegation).

Richardson spokesman Gallegos reiterates that the governor and Riordan may have been friends, but they weren't close.

"They did go hunting, they did go to boxing matches, they did spend time together," Gallegos says. "But the governor's relationship with Guy was different because the governor was never that close to him. The governor believes that Guy deserves due process. He hasn't been formally accused of anything at this point and, again, the governor is independent. That's why he removed Guy from the Game Commission and donated his campaign contributions to charity."

With Riordan as its contact, Wachovia Securities handled an estimated $1.2 billion in state investment business during the last budget year. Riordan also heads a management team from Wachovia that handles more than $20 million in investments for the troubled Con Alma Health Foundation. The Con Alma board of trustees recently decided to open up bidding for the financial management of the foundation's investments.

The Risk Factor:

"I don't think Richardson's affiliation with Riordan is going to hurt him in the gubernatorial race; he's such a compelling candidate for so many other reasons, and I think he took the exact right steps towards Riordan when he became aware that [Riordan] was an issue," says Eli Il Yong Lee of the Albuquerque political consulting firm Soltari Inc. "Certainly at the national level there have been a lot of recent ethical scandals involving Republicans so Democrats have to be doubly careful that the candidates they put up are ethical candidates. We haven't done a great job of that in the past and we ought to do better."

The Others

On March 18, State Sen. Kent Cravens, R-Bernalillo, asked the Attorney General's Office to investigate Richardson's creation of at least 65 exempt positions in state government for his allies. The Richardson administration publicly dismissed Cravens' request as a political attempt to discredit the governor.

Still, Richardson's tenure has thus far been marked by the perception that he has put a large number of his allies into positions of power.

Whether it's true or not, it is certainly the case that a handful of Richardson appointments have proven controversial.

"I appreciate his loyalty to his friends. I find that to be an admirable trait," Rep. Dan Foley, R-Chaves, says. "But at some point-after your fifth, sixth, ninth, 10th appointment comes back to bite you in the butt-you need to have a better vetting process."

Here are a handful of the more controversial figures within an arms-length of the governor.


Manny Aragon

, a 30-year veteran of the State Legislature, has had a rocky tenure since leaving the Roundhouse to become president of New Mexico Highlands University. In 2004, the Richardson-appointed NMHU board of regents chose Aragon to head the school even though the faculty senate recommended another candidate. Richardson supported Aragon's candidacy but denied that he pressured Highlands to select Aragon.

The move nonetheless left Richardson as the undisputed king of the Roundhouse while granting Aragon his wish to transform NMHU into a premier university for serving the Hispanic community. Shortly after taking office, Aragon caused an uproar by firing or denying tenure to several non-Hispanic employees and professors. In March, NMHU paid $250,000 to settle a discrimination lawsuit filed by one of the fired employees. Earlier this month, an investigation by the American Association of University Professors found that Highlands' administration was at fault for firing two of the professors; the group is considering a censure of the school.

Aragon has also surfaced in an FBI investigation regarding the construction of the Metropolitan Court judicial complex in Albuquerque. In a lawsuit between two former partners of an engineering firm involved in the project, which cost more than $200 million, allegations were made that the engineering company flew Aragon-then still a state senator-to golf tournaments and paid him at least $50,000. In a court deposition, Aragon-who also has a law degree-denied taking any bribes, saying he was paid for providing "legal services" to the company.

Frank Berged III

, deputy director of the State Fair, stepped down in February 2003, after allegations that he embezzled money from the New Mexico Coalition Against Domestic Violence, where he had previously worked as a bookkeeper.

Paul Donisthorpe

, a Commission on Higher Education appointee, resigned less than a week after he was appointed in June 2003, following news reports of a prior conviction for a past vehicular homicide conviction. The accident killed an Albuquerque middle school teacher.

Tommy Jewell

, a former State Children Court's judge, was appointed to head up the state's Children, Youth and Families Department in February 2006. Shortly thereafter, Jewell wrote a letter to Richardson declining the job after past allegations of domestic abuse resurfaced. Jewell denied the allegations but withdrew his candidacy.

Tommy Rodella

, a former State Police officer and husband of Rep. Debbie Rodella, D-Rio Arriba, was appointed by Richardson as Rio Arriba County Magistrate Judge in 2005. A few months later, Rodella resigned amid media reports regarding numerous alleged violations, including disciplinary issues during his career as a state cop. Other concerns about Rodella that surfaced involved his alleged involvement in voting irregularities for his wife's campaign and, most prominently, Rodella's release, as a judge, of a friend who'd been arrested on DWI charges.


Eric Serna

recently announced his retirement from the State Insurance Division (effective June 14) amid investigations by the Public Regulation Commission and the Attorney General's Office into a state contract Serna signed with Gerald Peters' Century Bank. The bank has donated more than $100,000 since 2002 to Con Alma Health Foundation and had also purchased $16,500 worth of pens from a company associated with Serna and his wife. Earlier this year, Serna stepped down as president of Con Alma. Serna had previously received the Governor's Distinguished Service Award from Richardson in 2004 and was one of the directors for Richardson's political action committee Moving America Forward.


Robert Vigil

, the embattled former state treasurer, was accused of taking kickbacks in return for steering state investment business to specific companies. His case ended in mistrial this week and is expected to be retried. Before his resignation, Vigil sat on the Board of Finance-a body entrusted with oversight of State Treasury investments-alongside Richardson, Blanchard and, at one point, Peters. Vigil also sat on the State Investment Council, a nine-member committee chaired by Gov. Richardson that directs investments on the billions of dollars located in the state's permanent funds.

Reginald Whitehead

, Richardson's director of boards and commissions, resigned in February, 2003 after television stations reported that Whitehead was married to two women at the same time for a short time during the early '90s.