SANTA FE, N.M. — Last month, Gov. Susana Martinez reappointed Santa Fe arts mover-and-shaker Charmay Allred to the state Arts Commission. Then, a few weeks later, the governor decided to return $9,600 in political contributions from Allred because of racist comments made by her husband 33 years ago. A total of $15,400 in donations from Edward Allred were also to be returned.
Although still married, the Allreds haven’t lived together for many years. She is a major donor to Democratic Party candidates and was first appointed to the Arts Commission in 2003 by Democratic Gov. Bill Richardson. Her husband is a major giver to Republicans.
Edward Allred, a physician who has homes in Nevada and California, founded a chain of abortion clinics in California. He is owner of the Los Alamitos Race Course in California and part-owner of the Ruidoso Downs racetrack and casino in southern New Mexico.
In finance reports filed with the Secretary of State’s Office, Martinez’s re-election committee listed a $4,600 contribution from Charmay Allred and $10,400 in separate donations from Edward Allred. The Republican governor’s political action committee, Susana PAC, has reported $5,000 from each of the Allreds.
But in a telephone interview Friday, Charmay Allred said all the money came from her husband. “He was the donor,” she said. “I had nothing to do with it.”
As for the governor returning all the money listed as coming from her and her husband, Charmay Allred said, “That’s up to her (Martinez) to make the decision.”
Edward Allred couldn’t be reached for comment.
Martinez reappointed Charmay Allred to the Arts Commission for a term ending in September 2016. It’s an unpaid position.
Charmay Allred helped found the Santa Fe International Folk Art Market and serves on the boards of the Museum of New Mexico Foundation, the Institute of American Indian Arts and the Lensic Performing Arts Center in Santa Fe. She was a recipient last month of the Santa Fe Mayor’s Awards for Excellence in the Arts.
Edward Allred’s remarks in 1980 about Hispanics and blacks have been publicized. I wrote about them in 2005 in a series of profiles on New Mexico casino owners.
Edward Allred said Hispanic immigrants had a lack of respect for democracy and social order. “I’d set up a (abortion) clinic in Mexico for free if I could,” he said.
He also said, “When a sullen black woman of 17 or 18 can decide to have a baby and get welfare and food stamps and become a burden to us all, it’s time to stop.”
Asked about those comments, he told the Los Angeles Times in 2002, “That’s just not the way I am.”
The Santa Fe Reporter reported Oct. 22 that Martinez’s re-election committee and Susana PAC had decided to return the total of $25,000 to the Allreds after an inquiry from the newspaper.
In an email Friday, Martinez political spokesman Danny Diaz said, “Gov. Martinez strongly disagrees with previous comments made by Mr. Allred. As such, she has decided to return the donations made to her re-election campaign and political action committee.”
Diaz added, “Once the governor learned about the particular comment in question, she immediately decided to return the political donations. As you know, the comment was made by Edward and no one else. This matter has been addressed.”
Edward Allred is also a listed director of Ruidoso Downs Racing, which has donated $5,000 to the governor’s re-election committee and $5,000 to her PAC since August 2012. That money wasn’t to be returned.
UpFront is a daily front-page news and opinion column. Comment directly to Thom Cole at firstname.lastname@example.org or 505-992-6280 in Santa Fe. Go to abqjournal.com/letters/new to submit a letter to the editor.