The recent resignation of state Taxation and Revenue Department Secretary Demesia Padilla, which came a day after investigators with Attorney General Hector Balderas’ office armed with a search warrant raided the agency in search of tax documents connected with Padilla and her husband, Jessie Medina Jr., was long overdue.
Padilla had served as secretary since her appointment by Gov. Susana Martinez in December 2010.
In July 2015, state Auditor Tim Keller raised serious conflict of interest concerns when he released a letter that appeared to show Padilla asking her own agency to reduce a tax penalty for a company later identified as Harold’s Grading & Trucking. Padilla’s private accounting firm in Albuquerque handled the company’s financial affairs from December 2011 until February 2013 – when the trucking company discovered some unauthorized transactions, according to court documents.
In July, Keller’s office released results of a preliminary investigation that focused on whether Padilla pressured tax department employees to give preferential treatment to the trucking company. Keller’s findings were subsequently turned over to Balderas’ office for investigation.