Tuesday, August 06, 2013

Koch Brothers Intrigue: They're Apparently Burrowed In At Bernalillo; Readers Play Sleuths, Plus: Radio Talker Villanucci With Final Swan Song For ABQ 

David Koch
Have the Koch brothers--the super wealthy conservative king makers--been holed up this week at the posh Hyatt Tamaya resort in Bernalillo? Seems so. Readers turned sleuths have been on the trail. A Senior Alligator came with this after we ran a pic Monday of GOP US Rep. Paul Ryan at Chicago's O'Hare airport preparing to catch a Sunday flight to New Mexico:

I wonder if Paul Ryan was going to stop by and say "hi" to the Koch Brothers who, may or may not be sequestered with a few of their friends at Hyatt Tamaya. A source told me, not confirmed, that the Hyatt kitchen has been taken over by personal chefs. They also say that everyone working this week  had to pass background checks, that all rooms and facilities are rented but not necessarily occupied.  

And take a look at this from the Hyatt Tamaya reservations page:

We would like to inform all of our guests that we will be fully occupied from August 3rd through the afternoon of August 6th. During these dates there will be no access to the resort and overnight stays, restaurant reservations, spa and salon appointments, fitness center, horseback riding and golf tee times will be unavailable.

One of our Gators told us that Rep. Ryan told fellow passengers he was headed to NM to see Governor Martinez. The Guv's office confirms a meeting with Ryan but did not reveal that she also reportedly met with the ultra-conservative and controversial Koch brothers.

Another sleuth reader writes:

Susana met with a group of very wealthy conservative donors. I heard the name Koch mentioned, Saturday evening at the Tamaya resort. This is according to a friend of mine who literally bumped into Susanna as she arrived with her security entourage.

And from another reader/Alligator:

Joe, the Tamaya event was billed/posted at the hotel as "ABC Foundation." How's that for transparency?

Warm up the black helicopters, we're headed for a landing at the Hyatt heli-pad!


Once again this blog and its readers bring to you the political news that you won't and can't get anywhere else in New Mexico. Nowhere.

The billionaire Koch brothers parked right in our own backyard and no one asks the Governor about it? No one--except us

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2014 Dem Guv contender Linda Lopez keeps taking swings at Governor Martinez, and Attorney General Gary King has to start wondering if they are scoring with party activists who will meet next March to place candidates on the June primary ballot.

Lopez, an ABQ state Senator, earlier called on Martinez to release all records pertaining to the controversial 25 year racino lease for the ABQ downs. She is one of very few Dems to call Martinez out on that subject.

She is now hot on the Guv's trail over the behavioral health uproar. Lopez penned this newspaper op-ed calling for Medicaid payments to be reinstated to NM providers who had them ended when the administration said there was evidence of fraud.


'14 Democratic State Treasurer hopeful Tim Eichenberg isn't waiting to make a statement about his race. The former ABQ state Senator and Bernalillo County Treasurer has already donated $50,000 of his own money to the effort, says his campaign.

Eichenberg, owns an ABQ real estate firm. Also running for the Dem nod is former Bernalillo County treasurer Pat Padilla who works on contract with the current BernCo treasurer.

And in other early '14 cycle news, an announcement for the NM Court of Appeals:

A long-time New Mexico Attorney, Kerry C. Kiernan, announced his candidacy for the Court of Appeals...He is seeking the seat of Judge Celia Foy-Castillo who retired earlier this year. It is currently held by (Republican) Judge Miles Hanisee, who was appointed by the Governor to hold the seat until the next election. Kiernan will run as a Democrat in the primary election to be held in June 2014, with the General Election in November 2014.


Former KKOB-AM radio talk show host Jim Villanucci, who is now working in radio in Portland, Oregon, writes to us of his ABQ departure:

Did I want to leave Albuquerque, and KKOB? Not really. I was very happy and comfortable in New Mexico, I had lots of great friends. I spent six years fixing up my home in Sandia Heights. I was making a comfortable living (Villanucci, at KKOB for 14 years, says his peak salary including talent fees topped out at about $140,000 a year) and I was very happy. That all changed about two years ago with new owners...

I probably could have stayed in Albuquerque, endured a big pay cut...I spent many months trying to find out what they wanted to do with me and was ignored, so on Feb 28th, I was no longer under contract...

Did I quit or get fired? Well, legally, if you are going to have to endure a massive pay cut and your contract is not renewed it gets into a gray area...I know that I was free to go, so I went to Las Vegas. I spent most of March thru May there...I got hired in Portland and went on the air in June at KXL 101 FM doing the 9 to Noon (Pacific Time) talk show. 

I am very fortunate to have landed in a great place...I wanted to let everyone know what happened. And that although I miss New Mexico, I am in a real good spot. I can be heard on the KXL 101 FM web site and can be reached at jim@kxl.com, @villanucci on twitter, or Jim Villanucci on the Facebook.


Call it an "Alliporker."  That's the picture one of our creative readers came up with to describe the controversial 2011 Louisiana Alligator hunting trip taken by first gentleman Chuck Franco:

I am following your fun (and excellent) coverage. At best, is this Alligator hunt going to end up as an insider deal to get pork pay and vacation tine for state police buddies married to Governor staffers? Sure, you can dress the pig up and hunt 'er down but the squealing is still going to happen..

One of the two state police officers who accompanied Franco to Louisiana as part of a security detail has a wife who works in the Governor's office. The trip was (and is) especially controversial because it occurred when the Martinez administration was negotiating a 25 year racino lease that was eventually awarded to the ABQ Downs. Two of the Downs' owners live in Louisiana.


We erred when we blogged in our first draft Monday that ABQ Dem City Council candidate Matt Biggs was receiving public financing in his race. He is raising private money. So is Republican Janice Arnold-Jones. We said she has raised about $5,000. She says the number is $16,000. Biggs also says he has raised about $16,000. Democrat Diane Gibson is also running for the ABQ NE Heights seat. She is receiving about $40,000 in public financing...

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