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Pay-to-play lawsuit: Plaintiff wants look at group's records: Lawyer says Richardson's foundation 'shrouded in secrecy'
[January 30, 2009]

Pay-to-play lawsuit: Plaintiff wants look at group's records: Lawyer says Richardson's foundation 'shrouded in secrecy'

(Santa Fe New Mexican, The Via Acquire Media NewsEdge) Jan. 30--Frank Foy, who is suing to recover $300 million for the state allegedly lost in a pay-to-play scheme, has subpoenaed documents from the Moving America Forward Foundation in an attempt to find out who contributed.

The nonprofit foundation, established by Gov. Bill Richardson in 2004, was set up with the stated goal of encouraging minority voting. It collected more than $1.7 million, but by law doesn't have to disclose details of contributions or expenditures and so far has chosen not to.

Foy, who alleges a scheme at the State Investment Council and Educational Retirement Board, wants to look at whether the foundation hid what his lawyer called "pay-to-play contributions."

"Because MAFF is shrouded in secrecy, no one knows whether Moving America Forward Foundation was used as a conduit by people who wanted to buy business from the state of New Mexico," Victor Marshall, Foy's attorney, said in a statement.

He emphasized that it is not known whether companies like Vanderbilt Financial, one company named in the civil lawsuit, or any other companies used the foundation to hide "pay-to-play" contributions.

"That is why we need discovery of these documents. It's a normal part of civil litigation like this."

Amanda Cooper, Richardson's former political director, who was listed as a paid board consultant on the foundation's IRS filings, didn't return a call seeking comment Thursday evening. She has not returned previous calls by reporters about the foundation.

At the heart of Foy's lawsuit are allegations that state taxpayers were defrauded of $90 million by a host of financial companies and two state officials. Among the defendants are State Investment Office and Educational Retirement Board officials, including Gary Bland, who was appointed by Richardson, and Bruce Malott, ERB chairman. Malott is the managing principal of Meyners and Co., an Albuquerque accounting firm also named as a defendant. His company also did the books for Richardson's foundation, according to documents filed with the IRS.

All have denied wrongdoing.

Foy, the former chief investment officer at ERB, alleges Bland and Malott were instructed by an unnamed "John Doe #2" to invest with Vanderbilt Financial and associated companies in exchange for political contributions from the firm's employees. According to federal campaign finance records, Vanderbilt, its employees and their families contributed more than $15,000 to Richardson's presidential campaign.

The subpoena also seeks any and all documents related to the board of directors, including meeting minutes. It seeks financial or tax records and any contracts in excess of $1,000.

The deadline to respond to the subpoena is Feb. 19.

Contact Kate Nash at 986-3036 or Read her blog at

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