Regional Briefs 8-21-19

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Former city manager gambled Colorado money

ESPANOLA — Former City Manager David Valdez used over $4,000 of his previous employer’s funds at casinos in 2015, according to credit card statements from the Colorado City Metropolitan District.

Former District finance director Donna Pickman said the money was eventually reimbursed. Records show that Valdez, who worked as Colorado City’s district manager for over a decade until his 2018 resignation, reimbursed the first and last of six instances of spending at casinos. The rest are not specified.

Valdez’s financial practices in the district are the subject of a Pueblo County Sheriff’s Office investigation, which was recently forwarded to the Pueblo County District Attorney’s Office.

Over $18,000 went missing from the Española Utilities Department less than two weeks after Valdez began as city manager April 1 and he was fired in July amid an investigation into the alleged theft by the New Mexico Attorney General.

Valdez said on the night of his termination that after the City Council’s hearing he would go to the Buffalo Thunder Resort Casino to play blackjack.

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