Rodarte quits Santa Fe job
He hasn't been allowed to come to work since last fall, though Robert Rodarte has been getting paid a roughly $80,000 annual salary the whole time. Now, he'll retire early through terms of a settlement with the city. Rodarte was the city's purchasing director and roundly criticized in both the McHard fraud risk report and the city's recent annual audit. The city says it investigated Rodarte, but wouldn't say what it found or why it was looking.
State cop busted
Federal prosecutors have charged a New Mexico State Police officer working the northwest part of the state with drug trafficking. The US Attorney says Daniel Capehart took drugs from arrests he made and gave them to women whom he found attractive, including a 16-year-old girl.
Wages on ice
A wage-theft case involving a Santa Fe sushi restaurant, Shokho, had its day in court yesterday. Three longtime sushi chefs at the Johnson Street eatery say the restaurant either illegally withheld overtime payment or failed to pay the city's living wage. The three still work at the restaurant, which says it misunderstood its duty to pay the employees and offered to help rectify the matter. Somos un Pueblos Unido, an immigrant advocacy group, helped file the lawsuit and reached a settlement in a similar case with Santa Fe Bar & Grill earlier this year.
An environmental group in southeastern New Mexico has complained that gas producers are venting potentially fatal hydrocarbons into the air. Earthworks filed seven complaints with the New Mexico Environment Department last month, which is responsible for overseeing proper oil and gas production in the state. The group says it hasn't heard back from the department, as is typical after it has filed similar complaints in the past.
Raul Torrez, the district attorney for Bernalillo County, says DNA evidence sat untested for months after Victoria Martens' 2016 murder. And he believes cellphone records weren't reviewed, either. He told KOAT-TV that he thinks investigators (it's not clear whether he's speaking about police investigators or those from his own office) instead relied on what's now known to be a largely false confession by Martens' mother. Michelle Martens agreed to a plea deal on Friday, and Torrez' office dropped many of the charges against her boyfriend, Fabian Gonzales.
Swing and a miss
Albuquerque Mayor Tim Keller has vetoed a $2.6 million incentive package for the Dallas-based Topgolf, a recreation group that hoped to build a nearly $40 million golf and entertainment complex off I-40 and Montgomery. Keller hasn't been a fan of the proposal for a while, despite a City Council that overwhelmingly approved the economic development money and a similar approval from Bernalillo County on a different assistance package. The council could override Keller's veto, but doesn't meet again until next month.
Las Vegas, New Mexico just welcomed a new truck stop to town. Love's, a prime competitor for Pilot Flying J, says the facility on the site of an old motel near I-25 will employ a few dozen locals ($). You undoubtedly remember that Santa Fe County recently rejected a Pilot Flying J proposal at I-25 and Cerrillos Road.
That was nice
A day of partial cloud cover and even a few late-evening raindrops wasn't so bad. Chances are better across much of the state for afternoon thundershowers. It was hotter than initially forecast yesterday, and today seems likely to follow suit. There's a small chance rain could impact fireworks events tomorrow, but that's not expected to be widespread.
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