AG Balderas Announces Felony Conviction of Former Rio Arriba County Commissioner

For Immediate Release:
August 3rd, 2021
Contact: Matt Baca — (505) 270-7148

ALBUQUERQUE, NM—Today, Attorney General Hector Balderas announced that former
Rio Arriba County Commissioner Barney Trujillo was found guilty after trial for violating
New Mexico’s procurement code. A Santa Fe District Court Judge found that Trujillo failed
to disclose in-kind campaign contributions he made to an Española Public School Board
member’s campaign as required by a professional services agreement he subsequently
entered into with that same board.
“Political corruption cases are among the most difficult to prosecute in New Mexico, and
we will continue to partner with members of the public and others to protect our schools
and taxpayer resources,” said Attorney General Balderas. “I am grateful to the Court for
its careful consideration of this case.”
On July 7th, 2016, Trujillo and Española Public Schools entered into a professional
services agreement worth over $50,000 annually for marketing services Trujillo was to
provide for the school district. That contract required him to disclose any political
contributions to school board members, which he knowingly failed to do. Trujillo thus
failed to properly report those contributions to the board member’s election campaign
before the board member authorized his contract.
According to testimony, Barney Trujillo donated numerous campaign signs for the
Española Public School Board member’s campaign, and the board member had the
ability to vote to authorize Trujillo’s personal services agreement. At trial, that board
member denied ever reimbursing Trujillo for those materials.
Sentencing will be set at a later date. Trujillo faces up to eighteen months of incarceration
in the Department of Corrections, as well as potential restitution to the State of New
Mexico. This case was prosecuted by Assistant Attorneys General Peter Valencia and
Jonathan Gardner.