042720Grants_241.JPG

Diane Rowe, owner of Papas Pawn & Gun, high-fives Grants Mayor Martin Hicks outside her business Monday.

The owner of a Grants pawn shop that has remained open in defiance of a state public health order shutting down nonessential businesses has been fined $60,000 and told to appear in court.

Diane Rowe, who owns Papas Pawn & Gun, said she was slapped with the fine after receiving a state police warning that her store should be closed.

The New Mexico Department of Health has the authority to enforce emergency public health orders by issuing a civil penalty of $5,000 per day on the third or subsequent warning, according to an April news release from state police.

State police spokesman Dusty Francisco said the pawn shop was issued a cease-and-desist order April 14 and a citation to appear in court Monday after the store remained open during that time.

A copy of a letter sent Wednesday to Rowe from the Department of Health was provided to The New Mexican by the Governor’s Office. The document confirms that Rowe was fined $60,000 for remaining open for 12 or more days after being instructed to close.

But Rowe argues the fine should have been issued only after the third warning, and she claims she was issued only two before receiving a hefty penalty charging her for days the store remained open before the citation.

Rowe said she believes she should have been fined from the point following her second citation, which was issued on her court date. She added that she believes the $60,000 penalty is “clearly just retaliation” for “standing up for my rights.”

“This is about our small businesses being just picked off,” Rowe said. “I am getting a hold of lawyers now and trying to figure out what we’re gonna do. I would like to be able to stay open. It’s my constitutional right to be able to earn a living.”



Rowe said the store has been “very careful,” allowing only two customers in at a time and making sure that people stand 6 feet apart from one another.

She was part of a small resistance by owners of stores that have remained open or opened Monday in Grants after the city’s mayor, Martin “Modey” Hicks, ordered city employees back to work and encouraged businesses there to reopen in defiance of public health restrictions shutting them down.

Hicks was ordered Thursday by the New Mexico Supreme Court to comply with the health orders and submit a written response to the court.

Also Thursday, Gov. Michelle Lujan Grisham announced businesses considered nonessential under a previous public health order would be able to reopen Friday by offering delivery or curbside pickup.

But Rowe said that does not apply to Cibola County, where her pawn and gun shop is located.

It also does not apply to McKinley and San Juan counties. The three areas are COVID-19 hot spots in New Mexico, and Lujan Grisham said during a Thursday address that she would not lift restrictions in those areas because of the explosion of virus cases there.

The Republican Party of New Mexico decried the substantial fine in a statement Friday as “a violation of Rowe’s civil rights and constitutional rights and another unjust action against businesses trying to survive.”

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(61) comments

Matt Matadoro

Ms. Rowe's rhetoric hit the $60,000 brick wall of reality. What simple math equation of $5,000.00 dollar a day fine failed to promptly get her attention? Did Ms. Rowe think that she'd get a free set of "I Love NM" shot glasses as she waited until her fine got to $60,000? LOL! I recall reading the Grant's Mayor Hicks babble how he wants to go to court on this because the Governor's order will fail. LOL! Hicks just guaranteed another losing lawsuit after he ordered the city manager Ms. Jaramillo fired because she refused to open the golf course. The fact Cibola and the other two counties collectively possess nearly 50% of the CV-19 cases in NM is lost on Mayor Hicks and Ms. Rowe.

CV-19 is the real deal, it is highly infectious and if it doesn't kill you then you might still come out of it disabled. The Governor has done an outstanding job and put us citizens first before the whims of the soon to be defeated Trump. Wha? 78,000 plus deaths due to Trump's mismanagement and you think he STILL will win? LOL!

The NM State Police have better things to do than play Ms.Rowe’s marketing games.

Charles Andreoli

Aww, poor Matt, he will be so disappointed come November when our great President Trump is re-elected.

Dr. Michael Johnson

And yet this tiny tyrant refuses other forms of democracy as well, this is what a dictator looks like: https://www.abqjournal.com/1450615

Jim Klukkert

Is the Governor's physical stature important in your assessment of her politics, or are you just mixing alliteration with size shaming?

Dr. Michael Johnson

She suffered from this well known malady........Napoleon Complex

A peronality complex that consists of power trips and false machismo to make up for short height and feelings of inferiority.

Jim Klukkert

I did not know your Ph.D. was in analytical psychology. Or are you just riffing?

Brian Weiss

The order is legal, the fine is justified. Sometimes there is a need for the greater good to take precedence. That's part of being in a society, as opposed to a loner on an island. If she was SO convinced it was "unconstitutional," the correct course would be to challenge it in court. She didn't. That makes her a yahoo, not a heroine.

Becky H.

A good thing I can still go in to the packed Target store and buy a hula-hoop and inflatable kayak. I thought I was in Michigan for a minute!!! As retired law enforcement, I would have refused to enforce this.

Connie Lopez

Not to worry. Mayor Hicks has officially been silenced. If Mr. Hicks is reading this, I have a personal challenge for you. Please re-open this gun business since the U.S. Constitution is on your side and the NRA. I'll pay your bail. Prediction . . . crickets. Connie Lopez-Lucero.

scott smith

New Mexico needs to check federal laws. Under several federal laws, all pawnshops are an essential business. See the the Patriot Act; The Graham-Leash-Bliley Act. See the Bank secrecy Act, the Truth in Lending Act.....That is it. Federal law trumps state law. New Mexico was way, way out of line to decide, against federal law, that a pawnshop is non-essential...Case closed.

Richard Vinet

He gets fined? Not good enough. He needs jail time.

Charles Andreoli

Don't be absurd Richard, we don't even put real criminals in jail here in NM let alone an elected official doing what his voters/supporters wanted

Jim Klukkert

R. Vinet- Indeedd! Might help Hicks with obvious needed attitude adjustment to do some legal study with jail house lawyers.

reta saffo

Well, this certainly sets a marvelous precedent (for anyone else considering following suit). MLG doesn't need a silly gun, she kills flies sledgehammers. Gotta love it!

kyle renfro

FEDERAL GOVT, SEND ME A ARMY HOSPITAL, "NO MLG", SEND ME VENTILATORS, "NO MLG", DONT BUILD THE WALL, "GET LOST MLG" , AL LEAST THE CASINOS ARE CLOSED, JUST THINK, WITH THE STIMULUS MONEY PEOPLE CAN SAVE FOR THE 250K SPACE FLIGHT FROM THE SPACE PORT

Angel Ortiz

What's with all the caps bro? Not very elegant.

kyle renfro

RELEASE STATE PRISIONERS BUT FINE A GUN STORE, THE MLG MIND

Jim Klukkert

Oh that darn CAPS LOCK key!

Barry Rabkin

No-one has a "Constitutional Right" to open or remain in business.

But every governor does have the full authority of the US Constitution to manage the "Health and Welfare" of the people who live in each of their States. Governor Grisham's Public Health Orders are legal and she can, and should, use every single resource available to her to enforce the Public Health Orders.

Absolutely nothing illegal about what our Governor is doing: not one thing.

Charles Andreoli

Unfortunately common sense and good judgement are not part of her legal authority.

Jim Klukkert

A swing and a miss!

Jim Klukkert

b. Rabkin- Well said.

Dr. Michael Johnson

Many more people who appreciate these Patriots will step up to pay this fine, and support the legal case to charge #MalevolentMichelle in her reign of tyranny. This is not over.

Connie Lopez

@ M Johnson: Oh, I think you may be wrong, respectfully. Ms. Rowe's next stop is Chapter 11 bankruptcy. This is Grants, NM we are talking about, armpit of NM. There is no way she can sustain such a fine in a nothing economy like Grants. Connie Lopez-Lucero

Dr. Michael Johnson

The owner will NOT pay the fine, supporters of the Constitution will pay it.

Connie Lopez

Hmm. I'm a U.S. Constitution supporter, but I'm not paying that $60,000 fine.

Dr. Michael Johnson

Then you should realize this is a violation of several parts of it, you only support the parts you agree with I suspect, or don't really know what all of it says, like most socialists.

Jim Klukkert

Dr. Micheal Johnson- You write that the Governor’s enforcement of her lawful Public Health Order ‘is a violation of several parts of [the US Consititution].”

I have cited Case Law and NM Law showing that the Governor’s Public Health Order is lawful, and surely you know there are many Governors issues PHO’s. The Predator-In-Cheif acknowledges this, and the overwhelming majority of Americans are glad for their Governor’s handling of this crisis.

Would you please take the time to lay out your perspective on this? Citations would be most appreciated.

If you can leave out any unfounded negative assertions or insults, you will lessen the distraction and confusion that your posts too often contain.

This Democratic Socialist, like many socialists and others off other political stripes, does know the content of the US Constitution. Any suggestion to the contrary is just downright wrong headed and stupid.

Thanks!

Dr. Michael Johnson

Case law is clear wrt the arbitrary and capricious nature of lockdown orders: "The courts have indeed struck down quarantine orders as well, however, when they were found to be arbitrary and unreasonable in relation to their goal of protecting the public health. In Jew Ho v. Williamson, 103 F. 10 (C.C.D.Cal.1900), the court found that sealing off an entire section of San Francisco to prevent the spread of the bubonic plague was “unreasonable, unjust, and oppressive.” Id. at 26. Such an overbroad order, the court declared, was “not in harmony with the declared purpose” of preventing the spread of the disease. Id. at 23.

In another case, the court also found the order was beyond the power of government and was thus of similar concern in In re Smith, 101 Sickels 68, 76, 146 N.Y. 68, 40 N.E. 497 (1895). There, the New York Court of Appeals rejected the blanket quarantine of individuals who refused vaccination, when there was no reason to believe they had been infected or even exposed to that disease.

Building on the legal principles, it can be reasonably argued that the initial decision to quarantine the entire society or to even demand worldwide vaccination as Bill Gates has been demanding, is beyond the power of government. This clearly bears no real or substantial relation to the protection of public health, and it is obviously arbitrary and oppressive. At a minimum, a complete quarantine of society shutting down all commerce is arbitrary and oppressive.

There is not even clear and convincing evidence that a woman simply taking her two young children to play on swings threatened either society or the lives of her children. In Idaho, there were 1,766 cases in total with only 51 Deaths. The total population of Idaho was 1.7 million in 2019. Locking down the entire state for such a tiny fraction of the population testing positive was a violation of her Civil Rights actionable under 42 U.S.C. § 1983.

Dr. Michael Johnson

A task force at DOJ is being formed as we speak.......https://www.documentcloud.org/documents/6842227-Trump-Allies-Call-On-DOJ-To-Block-State.html

Dr. Michael Johnson

And of course anyone with half a brain knows exactly what all this is, it is the left wing strategy so well espoused by Rahm, never let a crisis go to waste, and thus take as many Constitutional rights away from people as you can, to punish your political and social enemies, then slowly give a few back and at the end of the day you have bent the arc, not toward equality and justice, but toward further erosion of civil liberties that are inconvenient for the socialists.

Dr. Michael Johnson

Here you go Klukk........https://www.gofundme.com/f/nm-small-business-vs-our-corrupt-governor?utm_source=customer&utm_medium=copy_link&utm_campaign=m_pd+share-sheet

Dr. Michael Johnson

And what a Constitutional Law professor knows is going on here.......https://thehill.com/opinion/civil-rights/495788-the-dangerous-liberal-ideas-for-censorship-in-the-united-states

Jim Klukkert

Dr. Johnson: I see the go fund site, and IF the present rate holds, her fine will be paid in about 3 weeks, and the fund goal will be met in only about 35 weeks. That's a big IF, but at least that money will not be funding John Arthur Smith in his race to service BIG OIL.

Dr. Michael Johnson

Have no fear Klukk, we conservatives with deep pockets can protect this patriot as well as defend the true Democratic Senators like John Arthur, Mary Kay, Clemente, etc. from the socialist plague of the Santa Fe Ring and Gibson's bros......

Matt Matadoro

Whatevs. At the end of the day, Governor Grisham is totally in her right. In fact Trump has no power to order a state to open. Sure pay the fine, break the law and prepare to pay again...and again.

Amy Earle

I’m all in favor of the AG coming down hard on this foolish man and the equally foolish people in Grants who think the doors should just be flung open. Grants in general was an economic mess long before Covid. The town is full of boarded up buildings, gutted old motels, and not much else. Maybe he should expend his energy on a much needed economic plan for the future instead of running around encouraging people to disobey the law.

Connie Lopez

@ Amy Earle: Grants, NM is plain ugly. Maybe the City can apply for a grant from State of NM to attract tourism, etc. I'm pretty sure MLG will welcome such a request with open arms . . . at least I think so. Connie Lopez-Lucero

Jim Klukkert

[thumbup]

Connie Lopez

“This is about our small businesses being just picked off,” Rowe said. “I am getting a hold of lawyers now and trying to figure out what we’re gonna do. I would like to be able to stay open. It’s my constitutional right to be able to earn a living.” Ms. Rowe, let me give you free legal advice, please. Stop this! A constitutional attorney will even take more of your money. The State of NM and a personal attorney will end up filing liens against your business, home, whatever you own for nonpayment, which is probably quite likely. It's not worth it. You violated a public health order, so just accept it and start making monthly payments on your $60,000 fine (I can't even type that many zeroes). Perhaps Mayor Hicks or even NRA will help you out, just a thought. Connie Lopez-Lucero

Jim Klukkert

Hey Connie- Totally get it! Try the k for Klukkert short cut: 60k.

Raquel Casillas

Fine adult examples in the photo there. They're practicing anarchy and "I don't care about anyone else or their grandmother" rights.

Connie Lopez

Yes, notice in the photo the pistol Diane Rowe is wearing on her waist belt? That's a $60,000 gun she's showing everyone. I hope it was worth it. Connie Lopez-Lucero

Connie Lopez

Gotta say, this is the most I've laughed in months! Just the other day, Mayor Hicks said Grants, NM was having a firework display to celebrate small businesses opening. He said, "Come one, come all!" Nothing was going to stop Grants, not even NMSP and MLG, remember? I thought MLG had a bigger hammer than Mayor Hicks and I was 100% correct. MLG opened up a can of whoop-a** on this dude and the sheep gun store owner. Personally, Mr. Hicks should help pay gun store owner's hefty fine, but I bet he does not even offer because "he's all hat no cattle." Connie Lopez-Lucero

Richard Reinders

Isn't a pawn shop an essential business to out of work people to get money for food to some they are a life line, but they are not a big box tax payer.

kyle renfro

the federal govt needs to declare NM a disaster and take control of it

kyle renfro

all that comes directly from the desk of MLG, a self centered coward, who can only try to run the state from behind her desk. I will show them, waaa laaa, of course it would pertain to guns that she loathes, but of course has the SP every day.MLG just shows what a pitiful little person she is.

Dan Chase

If she hated guns why did she just ease the restrictions on gun stores? Your ignorant

Charles Andreoli

Attempting to avoid the outstanding NRA law suit.

angela chavez

It sounds to me that you have some personal issues against our wonderful hard-working carrying and strong governor. Our governor i's one of the strongest smartest person and we the majority want to thank her for the love she has for the people of New Mexico. She definitely is not a yes person and has the concern of the welfare of every human being in New Mexico get a grip renfro and do something positive with your time!

Amber Scott

Exactly. It’s because of her quick action that NM has the one of the lower number of cases and deaths in the country. She was criticized for being one of the first states to close everything but had she not, we could’ve been one of the hot spots in the USA. It’s very obvious the counties that did not heed this warning by looking at the numbers.

Comment deleted.
Jim Klukkert

Chas AnTroll- Once again, your comment heavy with Name Calling, and light on Substance! Calorie Free![offtopic]

Jim Klukkert

[thumbup]

Judy Audrey

It used to be about "flattening the curve." Now the curve doesn't matter, distancing doesn't matter. It's purely a demonstration of power.

angela chavez

You seem to know the answers to everything perhaps you should run for governor

Ed Li

Break the law, you pay the price. Owner knew the consequences of opening and ignored them. No sympathies to give.

angela chavez

Dido

Amber Scott

Wth.... um... do you mean”ditto”....

Emily Koyama

If these small stores can practice safe social distancing protocols the same way the big box stores are (supposedly) doing, then they should be allowed to operate.

This blatant favoritism to corporate retail is unfair and plain wrong.

Connie Lopez

If I were Diane Rowe, I'd be talking to a Chapter 11 bankruptcy lawyer about now, not a constitutional lawyer to reopen her gun business. I mean $60,000 is a lot of scratch! Connie Lopez-Lucero

Jim Klukkert

You would be more correct Emily, to point out that the powerful are able to profit from misfortune whilst the powerless suffer. And you might be more effective over the long term, advocating that the Federal Government stop with Corporate Welfare and Handouts for the Super Rich, and instead make Whole those who suffer the most hardship. Throw in Medicare 4 All, and we have a winner!

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