Dirty Downs Deal Gets A Hearing

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PROGRESSNOWNM was in the committee room yesterday as the Senate Rules committee held a informational briefing session about the now-infamous Downs Deal and the improper handling of that deal by Governor Susana Martinez and her inner circle.

It seems that by now most of the news outlets in the state, and even some outside the state, have run recaps of the process that granted a 25-year, multi-million dollar lease to the Downs at Albuquerque, but if you need a refresher take a look at these articles: Downs Doings (SF Reporter), Perception, reality, and the Downs deal (ABQ Journal), The Man Who Discovered Susana Martinez Could Also Be Her Downfall (National Journal — mostly about Jay McCleskey but still a great insight into the inner workings of the Martinez inner-circle).

We recorded the entirety of Monday’s hearing and you can visit our YouTube page to watch all the action for yourself.

Using the awesome power of Twitter, we compiled some of the highlights of what happened during the committee hearing yesterday and turned them into a play-by-play below:

Governor Susana Martinez & her consultant Jay McCleskey were both invited to testify at the hearing, neither showed. No Republicans were present in the committee when it began so Senate Rules was operating as a sub-committee. (Dan Mourning, the State Fair Manager, and Hector Balderas, the State Auditor, were also invited but did not attend.)

Matt Baca, the chief bill analyst, appeared in front of the committee first to give some context and review the OSA audit of the Downs.

Tom Tinnin, the former state fair commission chairman, and Charlotte Rode, a former state fair commissioner testified next. Tinnin and Rode, who described herself as a “conservative Republican” during the hearing, have been outspoken critics of the Downs Deal.

Charlotte Rode began delving into the myriad back-room connections between Martinez’s inner-circle and the people involved with the Downs and the lease process.

Mickey Barnett, Pat Rogers, Keith Gardner, Darren White, Jay McCleskey, Adam Feldman — Rode went through a detailed map of how big players in the Republican party (and Susana Martinez’s administration) had a hand in secretly guiding the lease process to fit the ends that best served them (not the taxpayers).

Twister Smith, a current state fair commissioner, was the last to testify for the day.

The hearing ended shortly after Smith’s testimony, but not before some harsh critiques from some Senate Rules committee members.

Watch the full Senate Rules committee hearing on the Downs Deal on our YouTube page here.