The New Mexico Supreme Court has denied a renewed motion by Valley Meat Company to remove 1st District Judge Matthew Wilson from a lawsuit involving the proposed horse slaughterhouse in Roswell.
Also, Valley Meat attorney Blair Dunn and Albuquerque attorney Martin Threet filed a lawsuit in the 5th Judicial District Court in Roswell against Wilson and in the 1st District Court seeking certain records under the Inspection of Public Records Act.
In the latest flurry of activity in the heavily litigated case, Justices Edward Chávez, Charles Daniels and Barbara Vigil filed a brief order Monday denying Valley Meat’s request for the court to exercise its power of control over the state’s courts. The specific request was to “restrain Wilson from continuing to preside over a matter in which he has allowed and continues to allow his campaign materials to give the appearance of impropriety and a lack of impartiality.” The reference is to posts on his campaign website by other individuals about the horse slaughter case.
Valley Meat is the defendant in a lawsuit filed by the Attorney General’s Office seeking to block the slaughterhouse because of food and water safety concerns, among other issues. Dunn attacked the civil lawsuit in a January court filing as a “publicity stunt” and said the attorney general lacks jurisdiction.
At the attorney general’s request, Wilson issued a temporary restraining order preventing the company from opening in December.
In his filing, Dunn alleged that there is a conflict of interest in the attorney general’s representation of Wilson and that he has not received court pleadings in a timely manner.
In the Inspection of Public Records Act lawsuit, Dunn alleges the court has failed to turn over any records related to Valley Meat, owner Ricardo de Los Santos, or the case at issue, including all communications between Wilson and his staff, Judge Raymond Ortiz and his staff, communications from outside individuals, a copy of the Wilson campaign Facebook page that shows who “liked” it, private Facebook messages sent or received by Wilson and more.
Wilson and the court administration responded in a Feb. 3 letter that they would not provide the requested records, according to the lawsuit, filed Monday.
The lawsuit asks the court to find a violation of the public records act and to impose an injunction to enforce it, as well as damages for the alleged violations.