KRQE News 13 is reporting that Patrick Padilla, the embattled Bernalillo county investment officer may not be holding that office for much longer.
Padilla, the former treasurer and current chief investment officer under Treasurer Manny Ortiz, is under increasing scrutiny for a high-risk, high-reward investment scheme that officials say placed the county’s $300 million investment portfolio at substantial risk, resulting in hundreds of thousands of dollars in actual losses with the potential to cost millions more.
It wasn’t just the fact that Padilla tied up so much money, that was bad enough, because the county no longer has the liquidity it needs to deal with budget shortfalls and emergencies. State investigators are looking into inappropriate relationships in the actual investments. Patrick Padilla is accused of using a long time family friend to invest tax payer dollars.
Through the years, Padilla has funneled hundreds of millions of dollars in investments to the broker, Royce O. Simpson of Houston, Tex., for dozens of trades. Padilla’s wife, Cheryl A. Tucker, also sent a lot of business Simpson’s way, albeit on a smaller scale, when she was investment officer for Sandoval County in the 1990s.
Simpson has a dicey past in the brokerage business: He has been sued at least twice, including by Sandoval County, over allegations he overcharged governments for trades. Former employers have settled nearly $2 million worth of claims on his behalf.
On Friday, County Manager Tom Zdunek confirmed in a telephone interview with KRQE News 13 that he plans to issue a request for proposals seeking an outside investment adviser to oversee trades and manage the portfolio.
“That adviser would look the investment portfolio, hopefully with the concurrence of the county treasurer, and come up with an exit strategy to get us out of the long-term investments we’re currently in,” Zdunek said. “That strategy would be based on the cash-flow needs of the county and would prioritize our strategy into security first, then liquidity, then yield – instead of the other way around, as it is now.”
He said Ortiz has told him Padilla, who is running for state treasurer in next year’s Democratic primary, plans to leave the Treasurer’s Office by the middle of next month.
“So, our hope would be to get someone in there in the next couple of weeks, hopefully while Patrick is still there, so that person would have some time to pick Patrick’s brain and ensure a transition,” Zdunek said.
Neither Padilla nor Ortiz, who also is a Democrat, could be reached for comment Friday afternoon. A female staff member who answered the telephone at 4 p.m. said they had both gone home.
Corruption is destroying our state and our country and it is a direct result of moving away from the Lord and His word. New Mexico is in great danger if it’s people will not turn away from their wicked ways.
KRQE is doing a great job investigating this story. Read more here.