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Believable or NOT

The video clips are out on Mayor Chavez’s decision to return the money raised when his buddy Art Trujillo held a fundraiser at the home of Angelo Garcia, confessed extortionist and indicted swindler of the elderly. Take a look at the video clips from KRQE and KOAT.

I can’t find the video from KKOB, the station that broke the original story, but it is interesting to note that Mayor Chavez’s first response, despite a substantial war chest, did not include a decision to return the money. Make no mistake, this is not because he was caught off guard by reporter Neil Simon. The mayor’s campaign was contacted about the story at least a full 24 hours before it broke and had plenty of time to decide to do the right thing. Heck, even I heard about the fundraiser last Thursday night while hanging out at the New West Launch Party at the Press Club. Unfortunately, I was unable to get someone not tied to the mayor’s opponents to provide on the record corroboration. Yet on Monday night, when the mayor went on the air, he still wasn’t ready to give up the ill-gotten funds.

Worse yet, the mayor proceeded to insult our intelligence. Reading this summary, you can’t help but be struck by the following quote:

“Certainly, if we had some of his money, knowing what we all now know about him, I’d give it back in a heartbeat,” said Chavez. “But I have no money from him or from any of his associates to my knowledge.”

Get real! Marty Chavez has a law degree from Georgetown University, and he expects us to believe that he doesn’t understand that people who attend a fundraiser at someone’s house are “associates.” How about the $2,000 received from Art Trujillo? Since Trujillo has received over $20,000 from Angelo Garcia, doesn’t he count as an associate?

Can’t you just picture the scene that must have occurred at Mayor Chavez’s campaign headquarters. The high paid consultants explain to the mayor that he must return the money, and Marty, in Napoleonic fashion stomps his feet and whines, “But it’s my money. They gave it to me. I don’t want to give it back. You always make me give it back.”

Eventually – once they explain to him that it means more television coverage – he sees the promise of camera lights and agrees. The result is a mediocre encore performance:

Albuquerque Mayor Martin Chavez’s re-election campaign is returning approximately $3,000 dollars raised during a fundraiser hosted by a man indicted in the treasurer’s office scandal.

A campaign spokesperson [and the Mayor in the KRQE interview] says the money is being returned in order to avoid the appearance of impropriety.

The mayor was even less believable than when he tried to plead innocent after being caught using the ABQPAC as an ATM.