Lawsuit Claims Ex-NM Governor Defrauded State

Former New Mexico Gov. Bill Richardson is being sued on behalf of the state by two real estate agents claiming the former member of the U.S. House of Representatives and U.S. ambassador to the United Nations and energy secretary defrauded the government by running a kickback scheme while running the state.

Frank Foy and John Casey accuse Richardson of demanding payment for funds dispersed from the State Investment Council, a $26 billion endowment which Richardson was also the chairman during his time as governor. It also accuses six others of assisting Richardson by shielding his involvement, the Daily Mail reported.

Richardson’s office denied the accusations in the suit.

“This lawsuit is ludicrous and unfounded,” it said in a statement. “The allegations are baseless and politically motivated.”

Richardson, 72, was governor of New Mexico from 2003 to 2011, and also served as Energy Secretary and U.S. Ambassador to the United Nations in the Clinton administration.

The lawsuit, which was filed in May and unsealed last week, was filed under the state Fraud Against Taxpayers Act.

Richardson was investigated in 2009 for exchanging government jobs for political contributions, which forced him to withdraw his nomination to be commerce secretary in the Obama administration.

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