ALBUQUERQUE (KRQE) – Search warrants filed by investigators from the New Mexico Attorney General’s Office show the Martin Luther King Jr. Commission’s executive director, Kimberly Greene, is suspected of using a non-profit reading skills group to funnel thousands of dollars in state funds to herself.
In addition to raiding the Albuquerque offices of the MLK Jr. Commission Tuesday, agents for the Attorney General’s Office also seized bank records, computers, hard drives, emails and cell phones from the home of Greene and the offices of eREAD, the non-profit group.
KRQE News 13 obtained the search warrants Wednesday, which show a web of allegations centered around Greene. Investigators suspect the MLK Jr. Commission director of misappropriating $16,000 in state money that she had used her state position to designate for eREAD.
The $16,000 check dates back to July 2015. According to the search warrant, Greene used her state e-mail account to contact eREAD executives to tell them of new funding hitting the eREAD accounts. Greene stated that the MLK Jr. Commission was contributing $41,000. In the same e-mail, Green then requests $16,000 in cash from eREAD for the MLK Leadership Tour.
By getting the non-profit to cut her a check for an “MLK Jr. Leadership Tour,” the affidavits suggest, Greene embezzled the money. According to the search warrant, Greene was questioned by an MLK Commission board member about providing receipts to prove the use of the $16,000. So far, Greene has been unable to produce any receipts.
The documents also suggest Greene is suspected of creating a fake invoice from eREAD to the MLK Jr. Commission for nearly $52,000 for hosting the annual “You Are The Dream Youth Conference,” an event devoted to furthering the non-violent principles of civil rights leader Martin Luther King, Jr.
Greene went before the New Mexico State Board of Finance last month to ask for nearly $100,000 in emergency funding to cover the cost of that invoice, among other things. The Board ultimately approved a $55,807 cash infusion to cover part of that budget shortfall.
According to the search warrant affidavit, the invoice for the “You Are The Dream Youth Conference” was said to be for the use of facility space at the eREAD headquarters. However, eREAD’s president told investigators that the non-profit had donated the space used for the conference and did not send the MLK Jr. Commission an invoice.
The warrants indicate eREAD president Charles Countee discovered the fake invoice and sent a letter to the non-profit’s board members as well as State Treasurer Tim Eichenberg. Countee did not respond Wednesday to News 13’s email requesting comment on this story.
Eichenberg told KRQE News 13 he met with Countee on Sunday, January 3 to discuss eREAD and the MLK Commission. By law, Eichenberg has a seat on the commission. Eichenberg said he alerted another MLK commissioner, Karen Montoya, about his concerns. Within days, the Attorney General’s Office was investigating.
The MLK Jr. Commission’s finances are now the target of the office of the New Mexico State Auditor. Online records show that the commission is two years behind on annual audits. According to the last audit available from 2013, documentation shows that the commission has also had consistent problems in returning unspent state funding for the last decade.
News 13 has also learned that Greene is familiar with the financial dealings of both the MLK Jr. Commission and eREAD. Greene recently testified to the State Board of Finance that she was a contract CFO for the MLK Jr. Commission from 2004 to 2011. In 2011, Greene became the executive director of the commission.
Greene also volunteered to provide tax services for eREAD for several years, according to the search warrant. News 13 has obtained a 2008 tax filing from eREAD that lists her as the “preparer” of the return under the name of “Kimberly Shelby.”
According to court records, Greene used to use the last name Shelby, as she used to be married to the son of son of Bishop Michael Shelby. Michael Shelby is the pastor of “God’s House Church” in Albuquerque. That church is also the headquarters for the eREAD program.
News 13 attempted to reach Greene at her home on Wednesday. A person speaking through the door said Greene wasn’t home and wouldn’t be interested in speaking about the situation.
Greene recently appeared on live television to speak about the MLK Jr. Commission’s work. The segment was broadcast as part of the “2 KASA Style” program, which airs on KRQE News 13’s sister station, 2 KASA FOX.