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A ‘Framework’ and Mr. Aragon’s Departure
The Skyhorse Post
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Geraldine Chavez:Geraldine Chavez, the purchasing director at New Mexico Highlands University in Las Vegas, New Mexico is quickly becoming something of a legend. Among the many virtues Latinas in the southwest are known for having is honesty, and the ability to look out for the ‘whole’ family. Ms. Chavez appears to us to have a similar style.
Geraldine Chavez:Geraldine Chavez, the purchasing director at New Mexico Highlands University in Las Vegas, New Mexico is quickly becoming something of a legend. Among the many virtues Latinas in the southwest are known for having is honesty, and the ability to look out for the ‘whole’ family. Ms. Chavez appears to us to have a similar style.Journalists Martin Salazar and Mike Gallagher of The Albuquerque Journal published a team report on a 700,000 dollar construction contract at New Mexico Highlands University. The contract veered far from the legally required and published Request for Proposal. It appears that this RFP was ‘green-lighted’ by a kind of ‘closed-circuit’ NMHU cabal that included Manny Aragon, Regents President Walter Adams, VP Manu Patel, VP Judy Cordova, Lawrence Trujillo and Facilities Manager George Du Four.
Ms. Chavez refused to sign the contract because the scope of the work was significantly different from the request for proposals. She went so far as to even request a legal review. That was never done. Do you suppose any of the above named individuals mentioned it to their fellow regents? Not at least according to the published statements Regent Chairman Mr. Javier Gonzales. The Journal reports that, “Gonzales said he didn’t approve the contract but went along with it because he was attempting to fix a more serious problem.”
It now appears that Mr. Aragon, Regents Chairman Javier Gonzales, and Governor Bill Richardson respectively, see no evil, hear no evil, and speak no evil when it comes to the situation at New Mexico Highlands University. They might reconsider their approach before the developing situation worsens, if that is possible?
Of course there were no arguments about the process from Custer Basarich Ltd. a construction concern of Albuquerque, NM who stood to make a large sum of money paid for by New Mexico taxpayers and possibly could include federal dollars too.
The Journal reports that Custer Basarich, and a second firm, Public Private Projects, both “did work on the new state District Courthouse in Albuquerque, while Public Private Projects worked on the Metropolitan Courthouse.” The Journal reports, “Both companies also worked on Bernalillo County’s Metropolitan Detention Center. The three Albuquerque projects, with a combined cost of more than $210 million, are under FBI scrutiny for possible padded contracts and kickbacks in construction of the facilities. Aragon’s name has surfaced during the investigation.”
Public Private Projects even earned $50,00 on NMHU’s Student Services building project for five months without a signed contract. We can only assume there must have been fairly certain they would eventually be awarded the deal!
With each new day, the developing story in Las Vegas shows that it has legs. Possibly long ones that reach beyond Las Vegas, to Santa Fe, and perhaps to Albuquerque.
While we salute Geraldine Chavez, we are waiting patiently to see that the situation at Highlands is comprehensively resolved in a proper and transparent way the puts education in Northern New Mexico first on the agenda.
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