New Mexico weighs major settlement in pay-to-play scandal

SANTA FE, N.M. (AP) – Investigations into a pay-to-play scheme that preyed on New Mexico state investment and pension funds during the administration of former Gov. Bill Richardson have reached at a major crossroads as district courts hold hearings on a $24 million proposed settlement with a Chicago investment firm.

New Mexico’s attorney general and the State Investment Council are urging approval of the settlement with Vanderbilt Capital Investors. But husband-and-wife whistleblowers and their Santa Fe attorney say they can do far better at clawing back money for state taxpayers and a teacher pension fund.

The labyrinthine legal dispute comes to a head Friday in the first of a series of hearings in Santa Fe and Albuquerque.

Supporters of the proposed Vanderbilt settlement include Gov. Susana Martinez, chair of the State Investment Council. provides commenting to allow for constructive discussion on the stories we cover. In order to comment here, you acknowledge you have read and agreed to our Terms of Service. Users who violate these terms, including use of vulgar language or racial slurs, will be banned. Please be respectful of the opinions of others. If you see an inappropriate comment, please flag it for our moderators to review.

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