Radio host accuses strategist of extortion - Albuquerque Journal

Radio host accuses strategist of extortion

Copyright © 2021 Albuquerque Journal

Albuquerque police say they are investigating a local radio host’s complaint that media strategist James Hallinan tried to recruit her as a client or he would “expose private information” about a member of her family.

Hallinan, who owns Intersection Strategies and has worked for Gov. Michelle Lujan Grisham’s campaign, Attorney General Hector Balderas and Bernalillo County Sheriff Manuel Gonzales in recent years, is named in an Aug. 13 Albuquerque Police Department report that cites “extortion,” “harassment” and “libel” as the potential offenses being reported by the radio host.

The report details exchanges Hallinan had with Alyson Lamanna, cohost of “In the Morning with Jackie, Tony and Donnie” on 100.3 The Peak. Lamanna goes by Jackie on the show.

Gilbert Gallegos, a police spokesman, said Monday the investigation is ongoing.

Hallinan declined to comment, but his attorney, Ken Stalter, issued a statement on his behalf, accusing Lamanna of filing the police report “in a desperate attempt at damage control.”

James Hallinan

According to the police report, released to the Journal in response to a request under the state Inspection of Public Records Act, on Aug. 8, Hallinan, 39, texted Lamanna at 10 p.m. and offered his services as a crisis manager. Hallinan told Lamanna that negative news about one of her relatives’ alleged involvement in online pornography was about to break “publicly at sone (sic) point and within iHeartMedia corporate.”

Lamanna responded to Hallinan’s text that she didn’t know what he was talking about and told him “do not text me again.”

Hallinan sent another text telling her he was surprised by her “aggressive” response.

“I can only imagine how you must feel … ” Hallinan wrote. “I was simply giving you a heads up and offering my services, and still am, in order to mitigate this situation as much as possible. It’s what I do for a lot of powerful and famous people around the country.”

Hallinan sent another set of texts two days later.

“Hope you guys get a few winks tonight,” he texted on Aug. 10. “I felt you were very unprofessional and rude to me today when I gave you a heads up.”

Lamanna replied: “Do not contact me again.”

The same day, Hallinan took to Twitter to say he was hearing rumors iHeartMedia, owner of the radio station, was going to suspend Jackie and her husband, Tony, over “mounting allegations” that involved the relative.

Officials from iHeartMedia in Albuquerque did not respond to a request for comment.

An Albuquerque police officer wrote in the report that he responded to the iHeartMedia building in response to Lamanna’s complaint that Hallinan was “threatening” her “by text messages to pay or they would expose private information about the caller.”

Near the end of the report, the officer wrote: “The continued texts and Twitter posts were done by Mr. Hallinan as he is knowingly pursuing a pattern of conduct that is intended to annoy, seriously alarm or terrorize another person, and that serves no lawful purpose. The conduct must be such that it would cause a reasonable person to suffer substantial emotional distress and, in speaking with Miss Lamanna, she was in substantial emotional distress.”

Stalter said in a statement to the Journal that Hallinan was genuinely concerned.

“Jackie, Tony and iHeart Media filed this report in a desperate attempt at damage control after Mr. Hallinan expressed genuine concern for the health and welfare of individuals depicted in violent pornography being sold online,” Stalter said.

Lamanna declined to comment for the story.

In her Instagram post from August, she spoke about the toll the ordeal has had on her family, and said, “I won’t give it any more attention or speak about something that is … personal business and should remain that way.”

The police report said the case was being forwarded to APD’s Central Impact team, which investigates crimes not covered by other specialty units.

Hallinan, who has several high-profile New Mexico clients, recently reached a $150,000 settlement with Gov. Lujan Grisham’s campaign to settle claims the governor poured water on his crotch and grabbed at him during a staff meeting.

The governor has denied the allegations and said she settled the lawsuit to avoid it being a distraction, particularly during the pandemic.

Hallinan’s LinkedIn account also lists his prior experience as a consultant for State Auditor Brian Colón’s campaign in 2018. He also has worked for the BCSO, and Hallinan’s company website said he has worked for New Mexico Speaker of the House Brian Egolf.

Hallinan was active in the 2021 Albuquerque mayoral race, specifically with the pro-Manuel Gonzales political action committee called Save Our City. The committee has paid Hallinan’s firm $60,680 in consulting and campaign service fees, according to the city’s online campaign finance records.

Journal staff writer Jessica Dyer contributed to this report.

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