Bernalillo Co. treasurer takes the stand to fight recall petition

Posted at: 01/23/2014 9:25 AM
Updated at: 01/23/2014 1:55 PM
By: Nikki Ibarra and Elizabeth Reed, KOB Eyewitness News 4

The Bernalillo County treasurer took the stand Thursday in the courtroom battle to remove him from office.

Last week, local attorney James Dory went before a judge to ask permission to start a petition to recall Treasurer Manny Ortiz.

The Bernalillo County commissioners have accused Ortiz of mishandling county finances, saying his investments may have cost county taxpayers around $23 million.

But Ortiz appeared confident on the stand and said he paid every bill that came into his office.

At last week's hearing, a number of county leaders, including county manager Tom Zdunek, said Ortiz's actions limited the county's cash on hand, making budgets difficult to draft. But Ortiz said today he had no knowledge of the county passing on projects because of his investments.

He also called a state audit that accused him of breaking state laws "nothing but trash.

Ortiz's attorney previously questioned county leaders about their own roles in the county's investment policy. The attorney asked Zdunek about a rapid turnover of the county's investments using one investment broker in particular.

The hearing will continue next week in district court. If the judge in this case allows Dory's petition drive, it would take 4,500 valid voter signatures to remove Ortiz from office.