Administration defends chief of staff after use of state card

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Posted: Friday, April 25, 2014 9:00 pm | Updated: 12:16 am, Sat Apr 26, 2014.

The office of Gov. Susana Martinez defended her chief of staff Friday after news that he used a state credit card for thousands of dollars in personal spending, saying that although it was “poor practice,” there was clearly “no ill intent involved” because he later reimbursed the payments.

In a direct violation of state policy and procedures, which prohibit the use of state-issued cards for personal purchases, the chief of staff, Keith Gardner, used his card for more than $5,000 in payments for hotels, tires, a cellphone and accessories, a necktie, heartburn medication, car fresheners, a coin display case, a copy of Popular Science magazine and more. Some of his purchases were tax-free because they were charged on his government card.

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  • Jennifer Bizzarro posted at 6:37 pm on Fri, May 2, 2014.

    Jennifer_Bizzarro Posts: 481

    Why? Because he's out of town! Or because he's in town. Or because he's in a hotel room.

    Because the governor says so.

  • Jennifer Bizzarro posted at 6:35 pm on Fri, May 2, 2014.

    Jennifer_Bizzarro Posts: 481

    Brilliant idea! This makes sense anywhere in a civilized society--except New Mexico.

    You see Mr. Hudson, in New Mexico if the governor's chief of staff was out of town and wanted to watch pay-per-view in his hotel room, it is a taxpayer expense

  • Peter Neal posted at 8:02 am on Thu, May 1, 2014.

    PeterNeal Posts: 282

    Are you really going there? Do some research on how much your beloved President gets paid, how much his "expense" account has racked up over the past 5 years, and how much his "benefits package" will cost taxpayers for the decades to come. Give me a break.

  • Noreen Quan posted at 11:12 am on Sun, Apr 27, 2014.

    nmnoreen Posts: 1

    Why in the world could he not use his own credit card for private purchases? The fact that he was allowed to do this in the first place is a violation of trust that one can get past the gate; others can't. Our leaders should be role models, plain and simple.

  • Eli Chavez posted at 5:32 pm on Sat, Apr 26, 2014.

    Eli Chavez Posts: 25

    I want to thank you Oscar Michael for your combat service in our Military. I agree with you that the KKK started in the Democratic Party in early 1900's. But the Democratic Party got rid of the KKK and NOW, the GOP KKK Party is well in trenched with the KKK, NRA, Ted Nugent, Susana Martinez, The Tea Party, The Koch Brothers who's father was a Fascist who helped Hitler in Austria during WWII. It appears that you condone racism, voter suppression, and support Gov. Tejana Martinez's Chief of Staff who used and abused an issued New Mexico State Credit Card to further his agenda breaking New Mexico State policy and laws. The COS purchase tires, heart burn medication to include a cell phone... It appears that you condone corruption. Lastly, what branch of military service were you in when you were combat. Welcome home. .

  • David Silva posted at 3:48 pm on Sat, Apr 26, 2014.

    lawyur Posts: 3

    The former prosecutor becomes the defense attorney here by arguing intent. So many people with credit card or embezzlement convictions admit that although they took money entrusted to them, they always had the "intent" to reimburse their employers. This excuse is often met with deaf prosecutors who focus on whether they took/spent money that was not theirs knowing that they had no right to do so. Gardner knew he had no authority to use the card for his personal use. The governor's blessing does not protect Gardner from the local DA filing charges.

  • oscar michael posted at 3:08 pm on Sat, Apr 26, 2014.

    oscar mike Posts: 142

    Sir, you say its not a republican thing, but the GOP is the republican party. As I stated to you before the KKK that you love to write about was founded by southern DEMOCRATS opposed to the reconstruction after the end of the civil war. So if you want to truthfully call a party the KKK, that would be the DEMOCRATIC party that you love to defend. I agree that the chief of staff should lose his position and if he was stealing from the state then he should be held to account. However your argument sounds hollow and meaningless the more liberal buzz words that you spout.
    Again what difference does it make that the governor was born in Texas???

  • Eli Chavez posted at 2:23 pm on Sat, Apr 26, 2014.

    Eli Chavez Posts: 25

    Yes, Corruption runs in it high Gov. Martinez Administration. Gov. La Tejana has forgiven her COS ..Her COS broke the law, and la Tejana should of fired her COS and filed criminal charges against him. I agree, Bill Richardson condoned corruption. Tejana's Chief of Staff must be charged, indicted and let a jury of his peers decide his fate. Maybe the GOP KKK 2%'ers can get involved and bail the COS out ... that would involve the Rich and Greedy known as the 2% .... La Tejana is involved by forgiving her COS. This not a Republican thing it is a GOP KKK party thing. The GOP kkk party is for voter suppression, and the list goes on and on.

  • oscar michael posted at 12:28 pm on Sat, Apr 26, 2014.

    oscar mike Posts: 142

    Corruption at the highest level??? Please! You must have conveniently lost all memory of your hero Bill Richardson. We all know the AG is worthless in this state but Im sure he wont mind wasting a few million bucks to investigate the 5000 dollars stolen by this idiot.
    What difference does it make that the governor was born in texas? Arent liberals the ones who love to stress tolerance and acceptance for everyone? Oh wait, just tolerance and acceptance of bad behavior by other liberals... I forgot how fair you guys are.

  • Eli Chavez posted at 12:03 pm on Sat, Apr 26, 2014.

    Eli Chavez Posts: 25

    Did the DEVIL make Governor Susana AKA La Tejana's Chief of Staff (COS) use his State Issued New Mexico Credit Card? According to a State of New Mexico Audit, Gov. Martinez Chief of Staff used his State Issued Credit Card to purchase (Taxpayer Credit Card) items for himself. A/G Gary King please Investigate this corruption case. This Case is Corruption at it's highest level and may need to be investigated by the FBI.

  • Donald Gallegos posted at 10:40 am on Sat, Apr 26, 2014.

    Don Gall Posts: 8

    and common sense. [beam]

  • William Hudson posted at 10:35 am on Sat, Apr 26, 2014.

    whudson43 Posts: 4

    It simply makes me wonder how many others in Governor Martinez's Administration are also using State Credit Cards for personal expenses? Perhaps there should be an Audit of all their cards.

  • Pat Shackleford posted at 10:29 am on Sat, Apr 26, 2014.

    Pat Shackleford Posts: 566

    Someone like that (Gardner) probably has a checkered past with credit companies and a poor credit rating. Would have to be a fairly serious history of making late payments, non-payment or bankruptcy, if he couldn't wrangle his own credit(s) card at a salary north of $100K.

  • Jennifer Bizzarro posted at 10:16 am on Sat, Apr 26, 2014.

    Jennifer_Bizzarro Posts: 481

    Yes, they keep drinking the Kool-Aid and repeating the mantra, "She's a woman and she's Hispanic."

    If she only had a brain . . .

  • Miles Conway posted at 9:14 am on Sat, Apr 26, 2014.

    Miles D Conway Posts: 2

    IS the interest on New Mexico State Credit Cards really 18%? Now whoever negotiated that rate should be fired. Also, "provider of Internet entertainment"....please, do go on!

  • Luanne Greene posted at 9:13 am on Sat, Apr 26, 2014.

    dolgre Posts: 7

    Ok, so let me get this straight: Martinez thinks that teachers, who make an average of $45K/yr to dedicate their lives to helping children and spend out of their own pockets for classroom supplies are lazy, overpaid and sit on their butts all summer.

    But Gardner, her COS, makes $136K a year and has apparently an unlimited limit on his state credit cards to use for his convenience while jaunting about the country, staying in expensive hotels and eating at fine restaurants to conduct political business that does nothing redeeming or good for society--well, he's just fine.

    What happened to Republicans being the party of fiscal responsibility and old fashioned values?

  • Eli Chavez posted at 8:24 am on Sat, Apr 26, 2014.

    Eli Chavez Posts: 25

    Gov. Susana Martinez AKA La Tejana has become the investigator, the Prosecutor, the jury, and probation officer. What a deal for her Chief of Staff. La Tejana needs to become a leader and go after her "Boy" and allow the Criminal Code Work as it does for all New Mexicans. If this happened to a State Employee and/or a New Mexican La Tejana would go after the violators making sure the Media would publish the "BUST". Does the Chief of Staff know something about his boss (La Tejana) that the boss does not want to the public and law enforcement to know???? What really happens in Law Enforcement they recruit the Example BOY to snitch on the Boss. AG Gary King needs to investigate this case and if Federal Law has been broken the AG needs to call the FBI in to investigate the Governors Officer for Corruption. La Tejana knows what I am writing about. Is there a Cover Up? If La Tejana was a real leader she would call the AG and/or the FBI and let the cards fall where they fall. New Mexicans are tired of Corruption within the Governors Office. Come on AG King do something about this case and show you have the guts to stop corruption.

  • Michael Murray posted at 8:17 am on Sat, Apr 26, 2014.

    Mike M Posts: 62

    Fire the bum. If others have been prosecuted for similar spending so should he. One of the things D's and R's have in common is corruptly spending other peoples money.

  • Emanuele Corso posted at 7:51 am on Sat, Apr 26, 2014.

    ecorso Posts: 12

    We'll soon see whether Martinez will display her double standards. One for her and her friends and another for everyone else. He needs to be brought up on charges and dismissed. "Car Fresheners"? What was he smelling?

  • Staci Benni posted at 7:49 am on Sat, Apr 26, 2014.

    Sta Benni Posts: 170

    Gardner is not from out of state. He was a representative before he became Martinez's COS. I find this administration to be unresponsive with Gardner epitomizing the attitude of "as long as I get paid, who cares?" Maybe Gardner was too busy reconciling his personal and business expenses to respond to constituents.

  • Jay Shapiro posted at 6:02 am on Sat, Apr 26, 2014.

    jayshapiro Posts: 28

    This is just one more example of what happens when you take an unsophisticated, unprepared, and not particularly bright candidate and surround her with a bunch of slick, political manipulators from out of state. Martinez may or may not be more than a clueless dupe, but opportunists like Gardner always know what they are doing and only say "Ooops, sorry," after they get caught. The difference in corruption between the Richardson and Martinez administrations is that Fat Bill drove the train; Susana just has a nice seat.

  • Ron Romero posted at 2:21 am on Sat, Apr 26, 2014.

    RonRomero Posts: 44

    Man oh man.... the crap just keeps coming out from this administration. What's more amazing is that there are still fools that support her.


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