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Judge Grants Judgement Against Former Rio Rancho Mayor

ALBUQUERQUE, N.M. — Former Rio Rancho Mayor Kevin Jackson won’t get his day in court.


District Court Judge George P. Eichwald on Thursday denied Jackson’s request to continue hearings in a lawsuit filed against him last year by the nonprofit Family Lifeline Inc.
“You can tell everyone it’s all over,” Paul Becht, an attorney representing Family Lifeline told members of the nonprofit who attended the hearing.

The Family Lifeline representatives declined to comment.

Family Lifeline filed the case in 13th Judicial District Court in January 2008 claiming Jackson used $25,000 federal grant funds he obtained for the nonprofit for his own purposes. Jackson responded with a counterclaim alleging, among other things, that Family Lifeline members had attempted to blacken his name in the media.

The former mayor recently sent a handwritten request to Eichwald reiterating his claims. He said he was in prison in Pennsylvania and therefore unable to appear in court. Jackson asked Eichwald to continue the case until he could get out of prison.

Eichwald denied Jackson’s request and instead granted a motion by Becht for a summary judgment against the former mayor. Eichwald will schedule a separate hearing to assess damages Jackson should pay the nonprofit.

The judge also dismissed Jackson’s counterclaim, citing his failure to substantiate his allegations. Ada Priest, the Family Lifeline attorney handling the counterclaim said she had attempted for more than a year to get Jackson to provide evidence to support the allegations.

The Family Lifeline lawsuit is just one of Jackson’s legal problems. Elected mayor of Rio Rancho in March 2006, he resigned in July 2007 amid allegations of check fraud and misuse of a city credit card. He left Rio Rancho moved to Pennsylvania.

He was jailed in Erie County Prison in mid-January under charges including violating a protection from abuse order filed by his wife Katherine Jackson, burglary, criminal trespassing and carrying a firearm without a license.