Isleta Pueblo Politics

By Christopher L. Abeita

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Council Selects New CEO for the Isleta Resort & Casino

Harold Baugus will be the New CEO of the Isleta Resort & Casino

Baugus is currently the General Manager of the Indian Head Casino in Warm Springs, Oregon. The Council expects him to begin as CEO of the Isleta Resort & Casino this coming June or July.  Baugus doesn’t believe that Isleta should be worrying about the Sandia Casino. Instead, he thinks that Isleta must create and improve its own identity.

One Council Member said that Baugus plans on improving the Casino’s customer service. It will be one of his top priorities.

R. Lar Thomas Confirmed as New Isleta Tribal Court Judge

Governor Eddie Paul Torres nominated attorney R. Lar Thomas to serve as an Associate Tribal Court Judge for Isleta. The Isleta Tribal Council confirmed Thomas with a vote of 4 in favor, 2 opposed & 0 abstaining.

Vice-President Michael Allen Lente, Secretary Barbara Sanchez, Ulysses Abeita, and Fernando Abeita voted in favor of the nomination. Council Members Verna Teller and Betty Lente voted against. President Frank Lujan did not vote because he was absent.

Thomas is currently a Municipal Court Judge with the Village of Bosque Farms. He was elected to a four year term in 2012.

Governor Torres chose Thomas to replace Tribal Judge Michelle Brown-Yazzie who recently resigned for personal reasons.

Kurt Weber Selected as New Tribal Treasurer

The Council selected Kurt Weber to serve as the new Treasurer for Isleta Pueblo. Weber is a non-Indian and he replaces Andrew “Tino” Teller.

This term, the Council was able to select a non-Indian as Tribal Treasurer because last year tribal members voted to amend the Isleta Tribal Constitution to eliminate the requirement of appointing a tribal member to serve as Treasurer. 

IBC Selects Former Tribal Treasurer Andrew “Tino” Teller

The Isleta Business Corporation (IBC) hired former Tribal Treasurer Andrew “Tino” Teller as their Chief Financial Officer (CFO).

Council Seeking Replacement for Patrick Sanchez

The Council is seeking a new Executive Director (ED) to replace Patrick Sanchez for Isleta’s troubled Gaming Regulatory Agency. Lead Internal Auditor Priscilla Speidel is currently serving as the Agency’s acting E.D.

Council Members are also very unhappy that former Council Member Joseph “Cougar” Lucero is currently working as an investigator with the Gaming Agency. They do not believe he is qualified. They’re also concerned because he was previously removed several years ago from the Casino’s surveillance department.

Council Members are also reporting that Joseph “Cougar” Lucero fought to shield Patrick Sanchez from scrutiny last term. Lucero served on the Council and developed a close friendship with Sanchez.  When Lucero lost his re-election efforts, Sanchez quickly hired Lucero to work at the Isleta Gaming Regulatory Agency.

Council Seeking an Isleta Appellate Court Justice

The Tribal Council is advertising in the New Mexico Bar Bulletin to fill a vacant position on the Isleta Appellate Court. The current Justices are: Tony Lucero, Roshanna Toya-Lucero and Ken Reid.  The present Justices are non-attorneys. So, the Council wants to fill the remaining vacancy with an attorney.

Council Supporting San Felipe Tribal Member for Spot on the MRGCD 

The Tribal Council approved a donation of $1,000.00 to Michael T. Sandoval. He is seeking election onto the Middle Rio Grande Conservancy District (MRGCD). He is a former Governor of San Felipe Pueblo. 

Eugene Abeita, an Isleta Tribal Member, has chosen not to seek re-election onto the MRGCD. Some Isleta officials were unhappy with Abeita’s service on the MRGCD claiming that he did not fully protect the Tribe’s interests.

Spain Junket

Yesterday, Tribal Council President Frank Lujan and Governor Eddie Paul Torres left on their trip to the old world. The duo is traveling to Spain to attend events concerning the Blue Nun.

Council Members Irritated by Attorney Pablo Padilla

This month, Tribal Attorney Pablo Padilla disappeared for approximately one week and failed to return phone calls from Council Members. This irritated some Council Members because there was no explanation for Padilla’s absence. This prevented the Council from getting answers on legal issues that Padilla was working on.

Later, Padilla’s political protectors claimed that he was out sick with the flu.

Governor Eddie Paul Torres and President Frank Lujan are continuing to protect Attorney Pablo Padilla by failing to investigate Padilla’s actions to obtain free hotel rooms on multiple occasions from the Isleta Resort and Casino.

President Frank Lujan Wants to Become the Casino’s Facilities Manager

James Lente, a former Council Member, lost his position as the facilities manager with the Isleta Resort & Casino. This job pays nearly $100K annually.  When Lente first lost his position, President Frank Lujan told the Tribal Council that he is interested in taking over as the Casino’s facilities manager. This would require Lujan to resign his position on the Council, if the Casino selects him to fill the vacancy. 

The question is whether Lente was deprived of a fair grievance hearing because of Lujan’s desire to take over as the Casino’s facilities manager. 

 

Ribbon Cutting for New Isleta Elder Center & Assisted Living Facility

 

Isleta Gaming Regulator Patrick Sanchez Escorted Off Casino Property

 

Isleta Police Department Misspending Federal Grant Money

1 Comment

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  1. What a joke? Hiring nothing but non-Indians to these positions! Really! I can recall someone once said “there are too many non-Indians working for the tribe.” Which current Council Member stated those words!

    First, was there are background check done on Mr. Harold Baugus? What were the results? What recommendations did the Tribe receive from Warms Springs? Third, Kurt Weber hired as the Tribal Treasurer, now everyone and everybody will now have the financials at their hands. Whose worried about getting the financial status of the Tribe’s assets out in the “real” world? Too busy looking for a diamond and now the community gets “coal” in the hen house. Fourth, kudos to IBC for hiring Andrew Teller, that’s one point for IBC but let’s see the financials and the status of this Corporation Andrew! Fifth, Patrick Sanchez is not the only individual who has had their trips paid for. Why wasn’t Lt. Chewiwi placed on suspension for this luxury trip? Joseph “Cougar” Lucero employed with Regulatory, you’ve got to be kidding If he needed a job why didn’t he go back to the Transfer Station? tsk tsk tsk Sixth, Appellate Court Justices are going to be hard to find? Just don’t put William Johnson back, he’s a joke! Seventh, SPAIN! We need to remember that there is Spanish blood here whether we refuse to believe it or not. Maybe the Governor and Frank Lujan will find some family lineage. However, spending the tribe’s money is another issue! SMH Seventh, Pablo Padilla should have been kicked to the curb the minute he started abusing the use of our Tribal Constitution. Reading it as if he knew and interpreting what others want to hear. It will be a matter of time before he makes a mistake that will totally impact our tribe drastically. Tick tock! Eighth, President Frank Lujan wants to be the Casino’s Facilities Manager! That goes to show that Frank Lujan was only there for the money and NOT the people. What kind of shady deals will he make? Finally, how can anyone trust or get along when all kinds of shenanigans are flowing around out there! Isleta has the potential to get ahead of all other Pueblos and here we are….investing in what our leaders can get for themselves not the people and their needs!

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