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12 employees on leave during criminal investigation


By Nancy Laflin

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    ALBUQUERQUE, New Mexico (KOAT) — Governor Michelle Lujan Grisham was asked about the shake-up and criminal investigation at the state’s largest school district, Albuquerque Public Schools.

At the center of it all is Sheryl Williams Stapleton, a longtime lawmaker and fellow Democrat.

According to a search warrant, Williams Stapleton is under investigation on possible charges of money laundering, receiving illegal kickbacks and violating the governmental conduct act.

Williams Stapleton is a state lawmaker and also an employee at Albuquerque Public Schools.

According to a search warrant in the case, investigators believe Williams Stapleton, the second most powerful member of the state House of Representatives, may have used her government position to fund programs she ran at APS.

The warrant said the district had a contract with a company called Robotics LLC and over the years, APS paid the company more than $5 million.

Investigators believe Williams Stapleton may have personally profited from the deal with Robotics to the tune of nearly $1 million.

“Innocent until proven guilty but the information that is publicly provided is deeply disturbing. Maybe deeply and disturbing aren’t strong enough and harsh enough. This is very serious, incredibly improper set of circumstances. I’m horrified,” said New Mexico Gov. Michelle Lujan Grisham.

The warrant said an APS employee saw red flags with the Robotics deal with APS. She brought her concerns to the superintendent who contacted the attorney general and asked him to investigate.

“When the ugly truths were revealed by transparency by The Albuquerque Public Schools it was abundantly clear that we weren’t simply going to hide it and brush it under the rug,” said Luis Robles, the outside legal counsel for APS.

He said at least a dozen APS employees are currently on paid administrative leave during the investigation.

As of now, Williams Stapleton has not been criminally charged. Target 7 was told federal investigators are also involved in this case.

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