PAC knew in advance of
charge against Bency
By ERIC MADDY
The political action committee that used a web site and road signs to attack then-city councilor candidate Dave Bency during the April runoff election apparently had advance notification that Rio Rancho police were going to file a misdemeanor charge against him.
In fact, according to documents provided to The-SCORE.info following a request to inspect public records, Larry Ross, treasurer for the Candidate Honesty Committee, was aware of the charge three days before police contacted Bency about the allegation and a full week before the case was actually filed in Sandoval County Magistrate Court.
According to the documents, Ross submitted an application to the city’s development department to obtain sign stickers required of all candidates and political action committees that want to post signs in the public right of way. One requirement on the application is a drawing identifying the size and content of the sign.
According to the city records, Ross submitted an application on Friday, April 1, including a sketch showing a 24 x 18 inch sign with the words “Bency’s False Police Report” and the web address “Bad4NM.com.”
The police report on the incident states that Rio Rancho police officer Gregory Herrera first contacted Bency the following Monday, April 4. After Bency engaged legal counsel and attempted to set up a meeting for the following week, Herrera filed a criminal complaint with Magistrate Court on Thursday, April 7 at 3:44 p.m.
Signs replicating the sketch Ross made on his application appeared within District 6, including the entrance to Rivers Edge II where Bency lives, early that morning before the criminal complaint was filed in Magistrate Court.
The-SCORE.info captured a screen shot of the Bad4NM.com web site allegation on April 5, two days before the criminal complaint was filed.
Reports that the complaint had been filed surfaced the next day, April 8, just in time for print media to make an initial report in advance of the runoff election on April 12.
Attempts to discredit Bency with the last-minute attack failed; he defeated incumbent Lonnie Clayton with 71.3 percent of the vote in the runoff.
Contacted by The-SCORE.info, Ross declined to comment.
Only five people have been associated with the Candidate Honesty Committee to date. Ross is listed as treasurer on campaign finance reports filed with the city. Dave Heil, a candidate for the Sandoval County Commission seat in District 4, is the registered owner of the Bad4NM web site. And campaign finance reports listed three donors -- city councilor Cheryl Everett; her husbandy, Harry Gordon; and a "Reform Sandoval County PAC" that has the same address as Sandoval County Commissioner Don Chapman.
Among the expenses include a the committee lists is a $150 donation for campaign flier listed to the home address of Clayton. In total the CHS raised and spent $1,047.62
The city has continued to prosecute its case against Bency, employing retired Bernalillo County prosecutor Mark Drebing as its legal representative. A special prosecutor was needed after 13th Judicial District Attorney Lemuel Martinez declined to prosecute the case, citing a lack of evidence, and former city attorney Jennifer Vega-Brown recused herself because of a conflict of interest, having already provided Bency with legal advice on city council matters.
According to an employment agreement provided by the city as part of a separate request under the Inspection of Public Records Act, Drebing is being paid $120 an hour to prosecute the case on behalf of Rio Rancho. So far he has submitted invoices for $2,350 for work provided in May, June and July.
Bency is facing a misdemeanor charge of filing a false police report. The maximum penalty for a misdemeanor, as set by state law, is $1,000 and/or a year in jail, plus court costs.
The law leaves sentencing to the discretion of the judge, in this case Delilah Montano-Baca.
The trial begins Thursday at 10 a.m.
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