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DA Plans Check on Wilson Records

By Peter Eichstaedt/
Journal Capitol Bureau
      SANTA FE --Bernalillo County District Attorney Robert Schwartz said Thursday he plans to send an investigator to the Children, Youth and Families Department offices in Santa Fe to check on foster parent records involving department Secretary Heather Wilson."What I intend to do, very simply, is to contact her office, since it is a record that comes out of Bernalillo County, to make arrangements for an investigator to make sure it (the record) is intact and maintained in a manner as required by law," Schwartz said.


FROM ALBUQUERQUE JOURNAL ARCHIVES

  • August 9, 1996: DA Plans Check on Wilson Records
    Bernalillo County District Attorney Robert Schwartz said Thursday he plans to send an investigator to the Children, Youth and Families Department offices in Santa Fe to check on foster parent records involving department Secretary Heather Wilson. full story

  • June 17, 1998: Former DA Says Wilson Broke No Law Over File
    Former District Attorney Bob Schwartz said Tuesday that Republican congressional candidate Heather Wilson did not break the law in 1995 when she had a confidential file concerning her family moved while she was head of the state's Children, Youth and Families Department. full story

    click to enlarge photo
    July 19, 1998 Sunday Journal front page from microfilm

  • July 19, 1998: Friends Say Wilson's Husband Content on Sidelines
    People who know him say Jay Hone is happy to watch his wife, the new 1st District congresswoman, have the spotlight. full story



  •        Schwartz's comments come in the wake of a controversy surrounding Wilson's decision to move foster parent records involving her family to a more secure location. Wilson and her husband are foster parents.
           Moving department records regarding families is not unusual, she said. "We move records every day," she said. "We need to make sure that records are moved all the time and are safe."
           On Wednesday, Wilson said she had ordered the records moved because she feared they might be stolen or made accessible to people who did not have to the right to inspect them.
           "I have had suspicious for some time, based on rumors, that someone had attempted to steal information from the department regarding my family," she said Wednesday in a prepared statement.
           On Thursday, Wilson said her fears were that "some unscrupulous individual would troll for trash, excerpt (the records), or take then out of context to discredit our family," she said.
           Wilson said that on June 19 she requested a criminal investigation by the state attorney general "into the release of confidential information about my family."
           Wilson did not disclose the nature of the information, but said it involved information about her family situation.
           Wilson said she never asked to see the records, had never been given access to them, had never had them removed from the department nor had she asked that the records "be altered, destroyed or tampered with in any way."
           Kay Roybal, spokeswoman for Attorney General Tom Udall, confirmed that the department is looking into the issue at Wilson's request.
           Schwartz said he was concerned about the way that Wilson had handled the records.
           "The problem is when a public employee uses their official capacity to go ahead and take care of a personal problem," Schwartz said.
           "I think the best way would have been for her to make an application under seal to a court authorizing her to remove a file," he said.
           "You have this legal problem," Schwartz said. "There is a specific statutory frame on how these things are to be handled. There is a very exclusive group of people who are allowed access to these files. I think she could have gone to another agency or she could have gone here."
           Wilson said that making a sealed request for a records transfer would be too time-consuming and "totally impractical."
           Schwartz and Wilson locked horns recently when Schwartz filed charges against two social workers, alleging criminal negligence in a child abuse investigation.