BernCo Commissioner offers proof of exoneration

Posted at: 08/21/2014 6:39 PM
Updated at: 08/21/2014 6:43 PM
By: Chris Ramirez, KOB Eyewitness News 4

Investigation results are due later this month into claims that Bernalillo County inmates are forced to clean private property.  If true, the acts would be illegal because public resources aren't permitted to be used for private gain. 

Investigators flagged five addresses, one belonging to Bernalillo County Commissioner Art De La Cruz.  In an interview this week, De La Cruz offered picture proof that he believes exonerates him from any wrongdoing. 

Last summer, De La Cruz's South Valley home was chosen to be a part of a city garden tour.  His home was one of seven chosen.

"I asked my assistant to get ahold of the individual who runs the CCP to clean the streets leading to the homes," De La Cruz told KOB-TV.

CCP stands for Community Custody Program.  The participants are youth who otherwise would be incarcerated.  They primarily clean up streets while wearing GPS devices.

"An allegation was made that perhaps I had my personal yard cleaned by CCP inmates," De La Cruz said. 

De La Cruz said the allegation is false.  He claims dots on a map of his neighborhood are his proof.   

"Each dot represents 30 seconds to a minute of an individual.  There were 20 individuals cleaning that street," De La Cruz said. 

In other words, the red dots show each member of the cleaning detail's move as tracked by GPS.  There are no dots on De La Cruz's corner lot. 

"The bigger question was did they clean my property, and as you can see, it never happened, and now we have proof," De La Cruz said. 

The official county investigation hasn't exonerated Commissioner De La Cruz, but results are due out soon.

"Do you think you abused your power in anyway?" reporter Chris Ramirez asked De La Cruz.

"I didn't abuse my power," De La Cruz. "This was on public right-of-way.  It was for a community event, for a non-profit.  Had I done it because I was having a party at my house or something personal, maybe, but in this case it was a community event."

Requests can be put in by anybody for the CCP detail to clean the public areas of a neighborhood.  But they are not permitted on to private attorney.