Friday, June 19, 2009

Smiley Not Smiling

An Albuquerque grand jury has indicted former Region III Housing Authority director Vincent "Smiley" Gallegos and others stemming from a long investigation related to misuse of bond money.

The seven counts for Gallegos include charges of fraud over $20,000 or in the alternate, embezzlement, fraudulent practices, sale of securities, money laundering and conspiracy.

Others indicted are Albuquerque bond lawyer Robert Strumor, David Hernandez and Dennis Kennedy. Hernandez and Kennedy are former Region III employees.

Gallegos is a former state legislator from Clovis. In 2006 Region III defaulted on $5 million in bonds it sold to the state.

State Republicans were quick to respond:

Today, Harvey Yates Jr., chairman of the Republican Party of New Mexico released the following statement concerning the grand jury indictment of former Democratic lawmaker and Region III Housing Authority Director Vincent “Smiley” Gallegos for his involvement in a scandal related to the state’s housing authority:

“This indictment reinforces a growing sentiment that we need to reverse the path on which this state is headed. For far too long, self-serving political insiders have exploited, at taxpayers’ expense, their positions for personal or political gain.”

Here's the indictments:

Smiley Indictment