DALLAS - Former New Mexico investment officer Gary Bland is seeking $1.25 million from the State Investment Council in a lawsuit that claims he was damaged by claims of corruption.
The Investment Council, which Bland formerly headed, filed a lawsuit in May 2011, alleging that Bland and others made New Mexico investments through political supporters of former Gov. Bill Richardson. Former pension fund investment officer Frank Foy made similar allegations in whistle-blower lawsuits.
Bland’s countersuit names Foy, current Gov. Susana Martinez, and Attorney General Gary King.
Martinez, a Republican who succeeded the Democratic Richardson, chairs the council.
Bland resigned in 2009 during a federal investigation of state investments. How ever, no charges have been disclosed.
In his court filing, Bland said he resigned because of the possibility of a “no confidence” vote by several members of the Investment Council. He was accused of taking part in pay-to-play schemes, with money allegedly going to politically connected friends and supporters of Richardson’s.
The former governor has denied any knowledge of any illegal scheme. Richardson, whose transportation bond program was the target of a federal investigation involving underwriters and a swap advisor, is still under scrutiny by another Albuquerque grand jury, according to news reports.
Bland, 68, said he has been bankrupted by the allegations. His damaged reputation in the investment community has prevented him from working in the profession, according to the lawsuit.
“They’ve taken on somebody with nothing left to lose,” Bland told The Associated Press.
Investment Council spokesman Charles Wollmann said the state’s lawsuit “speaks for itself.”
“The Investment Council is committed in its efforts to recover pay-to-play losses and hold those responsible accountable,” Wollmann said in a statement.
The law firm of Day Pitney is working with the attorney general’s office on the case under a bill passed by the 2011 New Mexico Legislature. Day Pitney also represents the New York State comptroller in civil recovery efforts arising from the pay-to-play scandal involving the $140 billion New York common retirement fund.