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LANL exec leaves without explanation

SANTA FE – John Tapia, Los Alamos National Laboratory’s Acquisition Service Management deputy division leader, no longer works for the lab, a LANL spokesman confirmed. Tapia, also president of the board of the trustees of the Jemez Mountains Electric Cooperative, left the lab job last week.

The lab won’t release any other comment because Tapia’s departure is a personnel matter, the spokesman said. Tapia couldn’t be reached for comment Monday at a phone number and an email address listed on the Jemez Mountains co-op website. Tapia’s LinkedIn page says he has worked for the lab since 1988, including as logistics manager.

In February, the Rio Grande Sun newspaper reported a Jemez Mountains co-op member alleged that Tapia was reimbursed more than $13,000 for telephone calls, letter-writing and meetings not authorized under co-op policy. Tapia, elected to the board by co-op members in 2013, said the expenses were needed to help with operations and were in support of a new general manager, and that the co-op board approved the spending.

A higher-ranking lab executive, former LANL executive director Richard Marquez, left the lab for unexplained reasons in February. Tapia and Marquez were linked by an investigator of a LANL procurement scandal that broke in 2002 and led to guilty pleas by two lab workers. Steve Doran told a Congressional subcommittee in 2003 that Marquez and Tapia were among members of the lab’s upper management who “thwarted” investigative efforts. Marquez noted then that a special inquiry found no evidence of a cover-up and said Tapia supported investigators.

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