State Auditor Brian Colón announced Saturday his office plans an examination of $1.7 million in payouts to quickly and quietly settle state Department of Public Safety employee complaints against the state government in the final days of Republican Gov. Susana Martinez’s administration.
In a news release issued by spokeswoman Stephanie Telles, the State Auditor’s Office said Colón will hold a news conference Tuesday in Albuquerque to discuss the examination.
Telles did not respond to requests for comment Saturday on Colón’s decision to look into the settlement process.
The secret payouts came to light last week in a KRQE-TV report citing sources who said the complaints, which include cases involving members of Martinez’s state police security detail, were settled without investigation.
At least one attorney said the claims contained “damaging information” that could destroy Martinez’s reputation, according to the news report.
Details of the settlements were sealed until 2023, drawing criticism, even from some members of the Republican Party, which called on Democratic Gov. Michelle Lujan Grisham and the state attorney general to unseal the agreements.
On Friday, an attorney for three former state police officers who settled sexual harassment and discrimination cases said her clients want to dissolve lengthy confidentiality agreements they signed with Martinez in December.