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.
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.