What would someone be hiding by checking into a hotel under an assumed name?
That’s a great question to ask embattled Republican House Rep. Nate Gentry.
While representing his constituents and New Mexico at a national conference for state legislators, Nate Gentry registered and stayed at a high-class hotel under an assumed name. He even tried to stick organizers with the bill.
Legislators from around the country, Democrats and Republicans alike, attend National Conference of State Legislators (NCSL) events every year. They are invited because they are elected leaders and they represent their states in various panels covering transportation policy, tax policy and education trends. And, like every conference, there’s plenty of time for fraternizing with fellow legislators from your own state and others.
NCSL, a non-profit, picks up the tab, so long as you are and elected legislator. And that’s where Gentry’s story gets complicated.
Registration records and hotel bills from NCSL’s 2013 Spring Conference show who attended and how much organizers paid for each hotel room. ProgressNowNM obtained the records from the legislature.
Registration records show that Gentry registered on April 11, 2013, along with fellow Rep. Monica Youngblood. Legislators we’ve talked to tell us that hotel rooms were booked separately from the conference registration.
No other legislators registered for the 2013 Spring Forum that day.
But when the conference rolled around next month, Nate Gentry never had a hotel room to stay in. Instead, a mystery hotel guest surfaced on the bill for New Mexico’s legislators.
It wasn’t until after he spent days coming and going from his private hotel room under an assumed name that his scheme was uncovered. The non-profit organizing the conference for legislators refused to pay the bill for for the hotel room of “Jim Smith” from New Mexico because “Jim Smith” wasn’t registered for the event (New Mexico does have a Rep. Jim Smith but he didn’t not attend this meeting, legislators tell us).
NCSL balked and after checking with New Mexico’s legislative leaders they learned that Jim Smith was really Nate Gentry – hiding in plain sight under an assumed name while he was supposed to be representing us. They made the note in the hotel record (you can see that below).
And that’s not the only time mystery legislators have popped up on New Mexico’s legislator roll call on out-of-state official business.
Fast forward to July of that same year and once again a mysterious fake legislator shows up registered for the NCSL’s Fall Conference: “Honorable John Smith” of New Mexico. Haven’t heard of Rep. John Smith? Neither have we, because he doesn’t exist. Is that Nate Gentry once again traveling under an assumed name on official business? Someone should ask Nate.
What’s Nate doing in that hotel that’s so secret he didn’t want anyone knowing? Good question.
Ask him on his Facebook page here.