Isleta Pueblo Politics

By Christopher L. Abeita

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Lipstick on a Pig

The Isleta Tribal Council was considering buying the A.S. Horner property, which included an office building, a warehouse and 33 acres of land. This property is located in Albuquerque, just off of Bobby Foster Road. The original asking price of this property was in excess of 5 million dollars.

The Council was sharply divided on whether to buy the property. Some Council members wanted to use the building to house tribal programs and others thought they could lease out the property. Ultimately, the Council had no definite plan on how to use the property.

Nevertheless, at a prior meeting, the Council decided to get an independent appraisal on the value of the building. The Council hired Godfrey Appraisal Services to provide an assessment.  Bryan Godfrey gave his report to the Council during their afternoon session on September 2, 2014.

After listening to Mr. Godfrey’s assessment, the Council excused him.  Each Council member then briefly stated whether they were in favor of purchasing the property.

Some of the more interesting comments were:

Council member James Abeita – We try putting more lipstick on a pig every time we discuss this. But, it changes nothing. There will be too much in additional future costs and I do not support this.

Secretary Verna Teller – All of the concerns that some of us had with purchasing this building have been confirmed.  I want to be clear, I’m not opposed to purchasing land.  But, it has to make sense for our Pueblo.  As for this, “it’s a big fat no.”

Council member Barbara Sanchez – The appraisal gave me more information.  But, I see us giving out per capita and we spend 7.5 million dollars on that every time.  For this, I’m gonna stay neutral.

Council member Joseph “Cougar” Lucero – The whole purpose of doing a due diligence it to allow us to make an educated decision. I don’t think it makes sense for us to purchase this property.

Vice-President Larry Jaramillo – I know, I’m out voted. But, I think this would be a good investment. I see Sandia purchasing things.  We also need to venture out.  I know we have the IBC (Isleta Business Corporation) but we haven’t seen anything out of them.

After everyone stated their position, Secretary Verna Teller made a motion to terminate purchasing the A.S. Horner Property and directed the Pueblo’s Treasurer to get back the Tribe’s $50K that was placed in escrow. Council member Josephine Padilla seconded the motion.

The Council voted as follows:

In Favor:

Verna Teller;
Josephine Padilla;
Douglas Jiron;
James Abeita;
Fernando Abeita; &
Cynthia Jaramillo.



Larry Jaramillo;
Barbara Sanchez; &
Phillip Jiron.


Joseph “Cougar” Lucero


Michael Allen Lente; &
Juan Rey Abeita.

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Add a Comment
  1. Why not use that money and give tribal employees a raise?!

    1. Why not use that money and educate the employees so they may earn that raise…hummmm

  2. My sentiments exactly Jane Doe. The tribal employees have enough benefits which include every time a religious or traditional ceremony happens, even the non-Indians get time off. Not to mention, some get their clothing paid for, the use of a tribal vehicle and the list goes on. As much money is spent on 3/4 of the employees, all tribal members would be rich and not have to wait for a handout of Per Cap!

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