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Booze and mayors isn’t such a hot mix lately: New Mexico’s Sunland Park mayor--and congressional candidate—claims drunkenness while signing contracts. It’s all not turning out so well for the city that’s being sued for $1,000,000 million dollars over the drinks-plus-a-pen scenario. And it’s not just one. It seems Martin Resendiz signed nine contracts while under the influence.
Says Sunland Park’s Mayor Resendiz: "The day I signed [contracts], I had way too much to drink. It was after 5 p.m. and I signed it, and I didn't know what I was signing." Note: It was after 5 p.m., so that apparently justifies (at least in Resendiz' mind) that drinking while on the job is 'a-ok'. Yes, Mayor Resendiz: Signing work contracts for the city you represent does equal being 'on the job', regardless of time of day or planned alcohol intake.
The above quote was the Sunland Park mayor’s response to questions from attorneys representing architectural design firm Synthesis + in the legal battle over the nine contracts. Mayor Resendiz closes his thought to opposing legal counsel with this gem: "My sister had to pick me up." Well, now, that explains it all. The Sunland Park mayor is apparently missing the fact that his statement is about on par with the teenager busted while drinking underage, forced to call his mommy to come pick him up after being out with buddies and too irresponsible to find his own way home.
The (relatively) freshly-filed lawsuit claims the California company is owed some funds. And those aren’t minor funds. The court case is still wending its way through the legal system but Synthesis + is suing Sunland Park (NM) for $1,000,000 million bucks -- for work the architectural company says was performed under those nine, signed contracts.
The city’s defense? It doesn’t seem to have one. But that doesn’t mean, like any good city, it doesn’t have a planned escape route: Sunland Park is battling the lawsuit over performed work by claiming those nine contracts aren’t valid. Apparently none of the contracts was approved by the Sunland Park City Council. Good for contends the contracts were not valid because they weren't approved by the City Council. It’s a method oft-used by cities employing tactics that are questionable -- at least in terms of ethics. Ethics aside, it still may be legal, which could be bad news indeed for the company that didn’t dot those ‘i’s and cross those ‘t’s.
Apparently the New Mexico mayor who admits to sloppy contract skills has sights set even higher than Sunland Park. He’s a former El Paso, Texas, police officer. Frighteningly, he’s also been a Sunland Park municipal judge. And most recently he’s been acting mayor of Sunland Park for three years, since March 2008. Mayor Martin Resendiz plans to grab the Democratic nomination and challenge Republican U.S. Representative Steve Pearce.
Anyone scared yet?
As unbelievable as it may be that an elected city official could be drunkenly signing off not one (two, three, four, five, six, seven, eight) but nine contracts while highly under the influence of booze. But it also begs the question as to who was providing those contracts for signature on the other side. A transcript of Mayor Resendiz's June 2010 deposition by attorney Victor Poulos reflects Martin Resendiz acknowledging signature on those documents three years ago, in May or June 2008 -- after several hours of drinking with (surprise, surprise) no other than Sythesis+ executives, including the firm’s architect Daniel Soltero. It all went down at one of Sunland Park’s more posh places, known as ‘Ardovino's Crossing’.
That’s right: The California architecture firm that’s suing him seems to have been swooning him. It all went down at one of Sunland Park’s more posh places, known as ‘Ardovino's Crossing’. Not that it makes any part of the scenario ok – it just proves very interesting considering the legal aftermath.
According to the New Mexico city’s mayor: "Again, this was after two or three hours of us drinking, not exactly the best time to do business, not exactly the best time to read over legal documents, which he [Sythesis+ architect Daniel Soltero] did not portray at any time to be legal documents," claims Resendiz in his 2010 deposition.
Of course – it all makes sense: Who would think that pieces of paper and request for at least nine signatures could possibly equal legal documents like, perhaps, contracts? That one was definitely straight out of left field.
But providing contracts, for signature, after hours of drinking makes someone’s victim status instantly drop nine notches. If you’re going to roll with the pigs, you’d better plan on swallowing some mud.
Mayors and a propensity for boozing is a common theme of late. There’s two infamous ‘Bobs’ right now – both mayors, and both governing cities that seem to want those government officials’ heads on a stick. Or at least the hell out of their communities. Try Sheboygan, Wisconsin, Mayor Bob Ryan who’s politically recovering from a 3-day drinking binge after the self-described alcoholic got in a brawl and ended up passed out drunk in a bar. Before those little incidents, Sheboygan Mayor Ryan was already not so popular after Mayor Ryan appeared in a YouTube video -- describing the 'oral' abilities of his wife’s sister.
Pretty much in the same league, at the same time, is another Wisconsin mayor. Marinette (WI) mayor Bob Harbick is on his way out – a city after his official position after Marinette police deemed the mayor too drunk to even submit to a field sobriety test, a breathalyzer following a car crash showing Harbick to be nearly three times the legal limit for alcohol.
Residents of both the respective Sheboygan and Marinette cities in Wisconsin want those mayors booted – before their terms are technically complete. They’d like to see them go now.
For those interested in politics, it appears there’s going to be some unanticipated openings for people willing to relocate quickly.