Despite fraud, conspiracy charges, public official stays on the job

Posted at: 03/20/2014 10:09 PM
By: Chris Ramirez, KOB Eyewitness News 4

The Torrance County Manager, now facing fraud and conspiracy charges, will continue to stay on the job after the Torrance County Commission failed to vote on the matter Thursday. 

After meeting in executive session, Torrance County Commissioner Lonnie Freyburger made a motion to place County Manager Joy Ansley on paid administrative leave pending the outcome of her future trial.  But no other commissioner would second the motion causing the issue to die on the table.

That means Ansley is able to stay on the job in control of the county’s finances.

Ansley refused to comment on that matter.  County Commissioner Leanne Tapia has defended Ansely publicly for nearly two years.  

“A lot of people in the state may feel that these actions that you’ve taken make you part of the most irresponsible government in New Mexico, would you agree or disagree?” asked KOB 4 Your Side Investigator Chris Ramirez.  

“Disagree,” Tapia replied.  “You're innocent until proven guilty.”

The New Mexico Attorney General’s Office accused Ansley of running a bid-rigging scheme where she would funnel lucrative building contracts to vendor Chris Valdez, a man investigators believe was having a romantic relationship with Ansley at the time.  The AG’s office claims Ansley also allowed Valdez to overcharge the county by hundreds of thousands of dollars.  

In total, Ansley is accused of misappropriating more than $470,000 for Valdez.

This month a judge decided there was enough evidence for Ansley’s case to proceed to a criminal trial.