Morning Word

Thornburg CEO, Accused of “Sexual Favoritism,” Announces Resignation

“Rez Ball” filming in NM

Morning Word

Thornburg CEO accused of “sexual favoritism” resigning

On Friday, Thornburg Investment Management Chief Executive Officer and President Jason Brady announced via news release he intends to step down later this year from his role as president, CEO and portfolio manager, as well as from Thornburg’s board of directors. “Since joining Thornburg in 2006, I am proud of what we have achieved, particularly the strength of the team we have developed, and I’m grateful for the opportunity to serve as the firm’s president and CEO for nearly eight years,” Brady said in a statement. “This is the appropriate time for a new leader to step in and I remain fully involved and engaged while the Board searches for a successor.” The announcement comes just weeks before jury selection is scheduled in the First Judicial District in a 2019 lawsuit against Brady and several other Thornburg executives. Former Thornburg Director of Fund Administration Troy Statczar alleges in the suit Brady, along with the company’s human resources director and chief financial officer, retaliated against and fired him for raising concerns that Thornburg’s head of strategic development, Erin Carney, was receiving preferential treatment—”sexual favoritism”—because she was having an affair with Brady. The suit also alleges CFO Nimish Bhatt retaliated against Statczar after the latter relayed derogatory comments Bhatt had made about Statczar’s personal hygiene. The suit seeks punitory damages for a number of counts, including violations of the New Mexico Human Rights Act.

Rez Ball filming through May

Netflix’ feature film Rez Ball—expected to employ close to 3,000 New Mexicans as both crew and background talent—will be filming through May in and around Albuquerque, Shiprock, Belen, Los Lunas, Estancia, Santa Fe, Rio Rancho and the Navajo Nation. In a Friday news release, the state Film Office says the filming is happening “with the permission and support of local governments and sovereign tribal nations.” Described as “coming-of-age sports drama about Native American basketball,” made “with inspiration” from Michael Powell’s nonfiction book, Canyon Dreams, the film will be directed by Gallup native Sydney Freeland and written by Freeland and Sterlin Harjo, both of Reservation Dogs. This is a story that is so deep and close to me, and to be able to showcase our part of America with the world authentically is deeply gratifying,” Freeland said in a statement. “We set out to make a film from an authentic point of view, and our incredible cast has brought Sterlin’s and my words to life in that way. Our actors, culled from over 5,000 submissions, embody the spirit and energy of what Rez Ball is, and I can’t wait to share it with the world.” The film is set to star Jessica Matten (Dark Winds), Julia Jones (The Mandalorian), New Mexico native Amber Midthunder (Prey), Kiowa Gordon (Dark Winds) and Dallas Goldtooth (Reservation Dogs), along with a slew of new talent. “Rez Ball, an Indigenous story set in New Mexico, is being produced in New Mexico, directed by an Indigenous New Mexican from Gallup, and will be distributed by our state film partner Netflix,” Film Office Director Amber Dodson said in a statement. “Rez Ball is a testament to what a sustainable, progressive, and inclusive film and media ecosystem is, and can continue to be in New Mexico.

NM Gov to serve on US Climate Alliance

While Gov. Michelle Lujan Grisham’s recent vetoes of climate-change incentives garnered criticism at home, it did not keep the US Climate Alliance from choosing her to serve on its executive committee. In a Friday announcement, the Alliance said Washington Gov. and founding member Jay Inslee and Maine Gov. Janet Mills have been appointed co-chairs of the Alliance and will join Lujan Grisham and New York Gov. Kathy Hochul as co-chairs elect, along with California Gov. Gavin Newsom, on the executive committee. The announcement, the coalition says, marks “the first expansion of the coalition’s leadership” to include non-founding state members. “For nearly six years, our founding state members have led our coalition with great purpose and determination, and we’re thrilled to now expand and diversify our leadership with the addition of Governors Mills and Lujan Grisham to chart our next chapter,” US Climate Alliance Executive Director Casey Katims said in a statement on the Alliance’s website. In a news release from Lujan Grisham’s office, Katims described the governor “as the driving force behind significant and sustained climate action in New Mexico and helping move America toward a cleaner, greener, and more prosperous future,” adding: “We’re thrilled she’s joining our leadership ranks and can’t wait to write our next chapter together.” For her part, Lujan Grisham said she was “honored to have my peers elect me to this important position…New Mexico is undoubtedly recognized as a global leader in developing policies to mitigate climate change, and I look forward to working with my counterparts in 24 other states to continue bolstering the nation’s strategies to address the ongoing climate crisis.”

The governor on Friday also appeared in a live “fireside chat” with Johns Hopkins Bloomberg School of Public Health Dean Ellen MacKenzie to discuss the state’s work to improve public health outcomes, as well as the state’s efforts to protect women’s access to reproductive health care and gender-affirming care, as codified in the most recent legislative session via the Reproductive and Gender-Affirming Health Care Act. “We need a generation of advocates, men and women…to be really clear, this is a country that should be expanding individual rights about bodily autonomy and freedoms, not restricting those, particularly in the health care area,” Lujan Grisham said.

ISO new LFC director

In the wake of Legislative Finance Director David Abbey’s March announcement of his pending retirement at the end of this month, the state is now hiring for his replacement. Abbey has served in the role since 1997, making him the person with the longest tenure in the job. On Friday, the Legislative Finance Committee announced it had opened a national search “with bi-partisan leadership from the New Mexico House and Senate.” Applications are due by noon on Tuesday, May 23. According to the official job listing, annual compensation ranges from $105,016 to $202,631; candidates should have at least five years of experience (preferably in New Mexico) and “a deep understanding” of: government; public finance; program evaluation; management skills; and leadership of strong and diverse teams; and state legislative experience; along with budget and tax policy experience. “The LFC director plays a vital role in our state by helping us develop a responsible budget framework to address our biggest challenges and ensure that our state agencies are best serving the needs of New Mexicans,” LFC Chairman George Muñoz, D-Gallup, said in a statement. “We look forward to finding a strong new director with a unique combination of fiscal and policy expertise, collaborative skills, and a passion for public service, to fill the big shoes left by Director Abbey.”

COVID-19 by the numbers

Reported May 5: New cases: 153; 680,742 total cases. Deaths: 0 Statewide fatalities: 9,236; Santa Fe County has had 410 total deaths; Statewide hospitalizations: 74; patients on ventilators: four. The state health department will stop reporting daily COVID-19 cases on May 11.

The Centers for Disease and Prevention most recent May 4 “community levels” map shows two New Mexico counties have turned yellow, depicting medium levels: Colfax and McKinley. The rest of the counties remain green, aka have low levels.

Resources: Receive four free at-home COVID-19 tests per household via; Check availability for additional free COVID-19 tests through Project ACT; CDC interactive booster eligibility tool; NM DOH vaccine & booster registration; CDC isolation and exposure interactive tool; COVID-19 treatment info; NMDOH immunocompromised tool kit. People seeking treatment who do not have a medical provider can call NMDOH’s COVID-19 hotline at 1-855-600-3453.

You can read all of SFR’s COVID-19 coverage here.

Listen up

The most recent episode of New Mexico In Focus examines the national fight over reproductive health care rights, as well as the ongoing efforts to restrict abortion access in New Mexico using legal arguments based on the obscure 19th-century Comstock Act. The Line Opinion panel discusses the latter, while host Gene Grant talks with Hobbs Mayor Sam Cobb about that city’s ordinance. Lastly, correspondent Gwyneth Doland interviews civil rights attorney Laura Schauer Ives about how lawsuits involving these local anti-abortion laws could impact people nationwide.

Be here now

New Zealand media outlet Stuff sojourns to Santa Fe, which it describes (accurately) as “one of the oldest and most photogenic cities in the United States.” Writer Sam Wilson pretty much sticks to the hits in his travelogue, recommending a downtown walking tour; a visit to Meow Wolf; hanging out at the “hip” Santa Fe Railyard; and taking a cooking class in the local cuisine at Santa Fe School of Cooking, among other activities. Meanwhile, self-described Austin influencer Jane Ko, aka Koko, a food and travel blogger, pronounces Santa Fe one her favorite US cities and provides a three-day itinerary for other visitors, which includes celebrating happy hour at Los Poblanos’ Bar Norte; enjoying a breakfast at Mille French Café & Crêperie; at least one visit to El Chile Toreado (Koko makes two); a spa visit to Ojo Santa Fe (Koko also has a roundup of New Mexico’s hot springs and spa waters); and yet another happy hour at Tumbleroot Pottery Pub (among many other stops for art and shopping). The benefits of a trip to Santa Fe also made a recent BuzzFeed list on life-changing destinations (culled from a Reddit thread) with one contributor writing: “The American Southwest is an unforgettable domestic experience. My first solo trip was to Santa Fe, New Mexico. I spent two weeks there and fell back in love with the history. The trip was so inspiring that it convinced me to spend five years traveling solo all around the country.”

The taste of NM

Some mornings, no food will suffice besides a breakfast burrito at Horseman’s Haven...or blue corn pancakes from the Plaza Southside or huevos rancheros from La Choza. As The Word remarked to her lunch companions just this weekend over the latter meal, “It’s so sad to think of people who live in other places and don’t get to eat this food.” New Mexico Magazine’s recent cover story, “¡Viva La Cocina!,” investigates, as Editor in Chief Steve Gleydura writes (post surviving Horseman Haven’s Level 2 green): “what makes a restaurant a New Mexico classic. Like the food itself, the ingredients are simple: cherished recipes and time-honored techniques, generations of family welcoming guests, longtime and trusted employees, deep roots in the community, and a passion for hard work. But it takes just the right amount of love to make it all come together—and the right amount of award-winning green chile.” Food author Lynn Cline visits several owners of classic New Mexico restaurants to get their take on what it takes to become a legend in New Mexico’s restaurant landscape, as, for instance, Rancho de Chimayó. It’s not always easy, says co-owner Florence Jaramillo, 92: “But you can make a lot of people happy, and that’s what’s important.”

Mild Monday

The National Weather Service forecasts today will be sunny, with a high temperature near 75 degrees and west wind 5 to 10 mph becoming southwest 10 to 15 mph in the afternoon. Look for relatively mild conditions today and tomorrow, with a transition to higher winds—and fire watch alerts—mid-week, followed by a chance for storms and precipitation next weekend.

Thanks for reading! The Word enjoyed perusing the Atlantic magazine’s most recent photos of the week—particularly since one of them came from the recent Gathering of Nations Pow Wow in Albuquerque.

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