Billy Perdue, president of the Santa Fe chapter of the Fraternal Order of Police, pledged to save the organization’s south-side lodge last year.
The chapter had suffered years of financial mismanagement and faced close to $150,000 in past-due mortgage payments. But Perdue, who took over in 2016 as the group’s volunteer leader, was determined to keep it going.
He managed to pull it back from the brink, at least temporarily — preventing an auction of the decades-old building that had served as a gathering place for local law enforcement, a venue for fundraisers and weddings, and the center of the group’s many community service initiatives.
It appears those efforts ultimately fell short.
The Fraternal Order of Police is set to lose its lodge at 3300 Calle Maria Luisa Road in an auction Thursday on the steps of the state district courthouse. The organization failed to pay the remaining $174,985 left on its mortgage, according to a notice of sale filed Dec. 10 in the First Judicial District Court.
A special master, John Fox, will conduct the auction for 528 Investors LLC, which had purchased a loan on the property from Century Bank in July 2019, after the bank received notification from the New Mexico Taxation and Revenue Department of $242,000 in unpaid property taxes.
The notification led to a mortgage default.
In an interview in May 2019, Perdue told The New Mexican that two people with ties to the area who had asked to remain anonymous were in line to provide loans of around $360,000 to help the organization during its financial crisis.
But court records show a summary judgment was filed in April, followed by a notice of inactivity in November.
It was unclear whether the effects of the COVID-19 pandemic and the state’s public health order shuttering bars and banning large gatherings played a role in the order’s loss of the lodge.
The property has been assessed at more than $1 million, according to the Santa Fe County Assessor’s Office.
Perdue, a former police officer who currently works with the First Judicial District Attorney’s Office as a special investigator, could not be reached for comment on the auction.
Cheryl O’Connor, an attorney for the group, also could not be reached for comment, and calls to the lodge went unanswered.
The order’s lodge was chartered in 1966 and moved to its current home in 1982 as a way to bring together officers with the Santa Fe Police Department to socialize at a time when officers were more likely to live within city limits.
The aging lodge has a bar, slot machines and an event hall that can hold about 300 people. The venue has been used for everything from weddings and community fundraisers to DWI offender talks.
The local chapter of the Fraternal Order of Police has been subject to legal issues before, including allegations of embezzlement and mismanagement.
Before he took over in 2016, Perdue said in an interview last year, New Mexico State Police investigated claims of embezzlement, but the probe ultimately resulted in no criminal charges due to the state’s five-year statute of limitations for fourth-degree felonies.
The order hired Barraclough & Associates, a private accounting firm, to conduct a forensic audit, but the firm filed a lawsuit against the lodge in 2016 after $50,000 in fees went unpaid.