11:18am

Mon February 10, 2014
Local and State News

Senate Panel To Examine Fairgrounds Casino Deal

SANTA FE, N.M. (AP) — A Senate committee plans to take a look at operations of the State Fair and the award of a 25-year lease by Republican Gov. Susana Martinez's administration to a racetrack company to build a larger casino at the fairgrounds.

The Senate Rules Committee is scheduled Monday to hear from former State Fair Commissioner Charlotte Rode, who has spoken out against the handling of the 2011 lease that allowed the construction of the larger casino by the Downs at Albuquerque.

Martinez critics contend the lease was rushed through to benefit Martinez political supporters. However, the governor's office has said political contributions didn't influence decisions on the fairgrounds lease.

The committee chairwoman is Sen. Linda Lopez of Albuquerque, who is among five Democrats running for governor against Martinez this week.