A jury on Thursday found former Las Vegas, NM mayor Tonita GurulÃ©-GirÃ³n guilty on two counts in a lawsuit stemming from allegations of bid-rigging and abuse of power while she was based in small town in northern New Mexico.
Matt Baca, a spokesperson for the state attorney general’s office, said GurulÃ©-GirÃ³n was convicted on Thursday of receiving an illegal kickback and breaking the New Brunswick government conduct law. Mexico. Both are fourth degree crimes. She faces a sentence of up to 18 months for each conviction, or 36 months in total, Baca added.
Four charges against GurulÃ©-GirÃ³n were dismissed by 4th Judicial District Judge Abigail Aragon. A sentencing date has yet to be set, Baca said.
GurulÃ©-GirÃ³n, who resigned her post in January 2020, has been accused of pressuring city workers to award contracts to her boyfriend’s construction company, in which she was also associated. She received bribes from boyfriend Marvin Salazar, according to the complaint filed by the attorney general’s office.
“Pursuing public corruption is difficult, but our office will always take appropriate measures to ensure that public confidence in the government is restored,” Attorney General Hector Balderas said in a statement.
A message left with GurulÃ©-GirÃ³n’s lawyer, JoHanna Cox, was not immediately returned.
Gurule-Giron’s tenure as mayor – she was the first woman in the city’s history to hold the post – was marked by controversy almost from the start, with allegations prompting her resignation just before the Las Vegas City Council did not discuss his removal shortly before the end of his term. At the time, she said she did not plan to run for re-election.
âThose who know me personally know that I am a fighter,â she wrote in her resignation letter. “However, I believe the citizens of Las Vegas deserve the city government to function without the distractions that will undoubtedly result if I remain in office for the last two months of my term.”
Gurule-Giron was well known to many even before he became mayor, after graduating from West Las Vegas High School and earning a bachelor’s and master’s degree from New Mexico Highlands University. She was elected to the city council in 2010 and unsuccessfully ran for mayor in 2012.
She took office in March 2016 after winning a recall election by just 23 votes. She faced two recall campaigns early in her tenure, wrestling with the city’s police chief and city council over spending and ethics. In late fall 2017, it was subject to a special audit into suspected conflicts of interest and purchasing irregularities.