SANTA FE – Bloody fisticuffs between two of the Kit Carson Electric Cooperative’s elected board last week were captured in a “really, really blurry” video, according to the Taos police.
Lt. David Maggio said on Monday that the town attorney will be asked to review the footage. A police report on the fight between Chris Duran, 44, and Virgil Martinez, 62, isn’t complete. “We are working on this and we are not going to rush it,” said Maggio.
The Nov. 29 fight left Martinez with a black eye, a nosebleed and a bloody lip that was repaired with stitches at the hospital. Religious scapulars allegedly ripped from Duran’s neck were found in the hallway where the imbroglio took place.
Martinez said last week that he was decked by Duran after he tried to push Duran out of the way in an argument that started during an executive session at the co-op’s Taos offices. Duran said he acted in self-defense and that Martinez had insulted and threatened to kill him. Martinez called the alleged death threat “a made-up story.”
Duran, in an email to other board members, has asked that Martinez be removed from the board. He wrote that he’s concerned for his personal safety and that Martinez’s removal “is in best interest of the Board given this erratic behavior.” Duran also asked that the co-op cover any legal expenses he may incur.
A separate e-mail, sent by board member Bob Bresnahan to co-op CEO Luis Reyes and board president Bobby Ortega, describes a chaotic scene of “board members in shock.” As the argument heated up, Martinez “was heard to say `I will kill him’ as he rose from his chair,” says Bresnahan. But he wrote that no one saw the actual fight in the hallway.
Bresnahan wrote that Duran left the board room after Martinez and that Ortega quickly went into the hall and separated the two and Bresnahan “found Virgil on his back, apparently dazed, and bleeding from his nose and lip.”
Bresnahan said he applied paper towels “to Virgil’s nose and (then) tried to get him to lay back to stem the flow of blood from his nose” and others got a first aid kit, “but Virgil resisted efforts to assist him” and “became angrier” and resisted Bresnahan’s and others efforts to help him.
“He left the building bleeding from his nose and in a flurry of words about revenge,” the e-mail says.
Two religious scapulars were found where the fight occurred “and both had been torn from Chris Duran’s neck,” says the email. The co-op board is conducting its own code-of-conduct investigation.
Bresnehan wrote in his e-mail, “Unfounded personal attacks to the general public undermine the ability of the Board to carry out its responsibilities in a business-like fashion.”
The fight occurs amid ongoing controversy over a rate increase proposed by the co-op which Martinez opposed.
The 11-member board held a special meeting Tuesday to discuss the fight, behind closed doors. Seven people supporting Martinez showed up to protest. Reyes said after the meeting that the board took no action.