Attorney General demands resignation from APS board member

Analee Maestas
Analee Maestas


ALBUQUERQUE, N.M. (KRQE) – The New Mexico Attorney General said on Monday, it’s time for Albuquerque Public School board member Analee Maestas to go.

Hector Balderas said she’s not fit to hold the position after she was accused of stealing from a charter school she ran. So, will she resign?

In a letter sent by Balderas, he also stated, “the New Mexico Constitution does not require that you be found guilty of any conduct related to them to be declared unfit to hold your office, and your oath to uphold the very same Constitution now demands your resignation. If you do not immediately resign, as required by that oath, my office will take all appropriate legal actions.”

Analee Maestas has adamantly denied the allegations made against her, time and time again, even when KRQE News 13 crews showed her proof. 

According to the Public Education Department and the State Auditor, Maestas doctored receipts and used the money meant for La Promesa Early Learning Center to have carpets cleaned at her home.

In September, Auditor Tim Keller revealed it was much bigger than carpet cleaning. He found that Maestas’ daughter, who was the school business manager at La Promesa, was signing checks made out to vendors, then pocketing the money — around $700,000 dollars.

“Turns out those checks were going into the business manager’s personal account,” said Tim Keller.

In a September interview, Keller said it’s hard to believe Maestas didn’t know her daughter was stealing under her watch.

In the letter sent by Balderas, he is also demanding she resign from the board immediately, saying she’s no longer qualified for her position.

“It’s an indication of the problem,” said Todd Hathorne, the Vice President of the New Mexico Education Improvement Project.

On Friday, the group announced their recall efforts to get Maestas off the school board, asking unions to withdraw their support.

“Her job is to take care of those funds, her job is to make sure that fiduciary responsibility is met, and she hasn’t done that,” said Hathorne.

Maestas’ attorney released the following response to the AG’s letter on Monday:

On September 25, 2017, the Attorney General drafted a public letter demanding that Dr. Maestas resign from her position on the APS Board. Tellingly, his letter does not quote a single law or court case in support of his conclusion that Dr. Maestas must resign.  If the Attorney General had read the State Auditor’s report, he would understand that Dr. Maestas is innocent, and that the State Auditor did not make a single finding suggesting that Dr. Maestas participated in that report’s allegations of embezzlement or fraud. The Attorney General’s letter is more concerned with capturing a headline than it is with the pursuit of the truth.

Dr. Maestas has not engaged in any conduct that violated her oath of office with the APS Board, or any other law. Dr. Maestas has brought over 45 years of experience and commitment to childhood education to uphold her oath to APS and maintain the public’s trust, and used her APS office only to advance the public benefit. The Attorney General is wrong to suggest otherwise.

Maestas could also be removed through a recall, but that would require a petition signed by 151 voters in her district, a judge agreeing there’s enough evidence Maestas stole money, and then a special election.

The Albuquerque Police Department is investigating the embezzlement case at La Promesa Early Learning Center. When police are done, the case will be turned over to the District Attorney, who will decide if they’ll be charged.

The Attorney General also sent the letter to Chief Gorden Eden and District Attorney Raul Torrez.

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