Despite a massive corruption trial looming over Democrats’ ex-New Mexico House Majority Floor Leader Sheryl Williams Stapleton (D-Bernalillo), she is “not in custody,” according to the Albuquerque Journal.
The Journal noted that Second Judicial District Judge Lucy Soliman “estimated that a trial will be scheduled some 400 days out. Stapleton, who is not in custody, did not appear at the Zoom hearing Thursday.”
Stapleton’s house was raided last July after it was revealed she had been allegedly embezzling around $1 million from New Mexico’s taxpayers — specifically New Mexico’s Children through the Albuquerque Public Schools, where she used to work. She was fired from the cushy $ 79,000-per-year gig.
The Piñon Post’s exclusive report uncovering her ties to other high-profile New Mexico Democrats has revealed Stapleton’s alleged graft has been going on for around 30 years, in tandem with Joseph Johnson, a shady former New Mexico secretary of health who also has previously been hit with bribery and fraud charges.
Stapleton was indicted on 26 counts, including ten counts of improper statutory citations ranging from second to fourth-degree felonies, two counts of violating the ethical principles of public service, both misdemeanors, nine counts of engaging in official acts for personal gain, all of them being fourth-degree felonies, at least one count of tax evasion (a fourth-degree felony), among others.
In 2011, Larry Barker of KRQE 13 News found that Stapleton “pocketed more than $100,000 — money she didn’t earn — from APS over the years while serving in the legislature. But instead of being punished or forced to pay it back, Superintendent Winston Brooks changed the rules for Stapleton.” Brooks dismissed Stapleton’s $167,000 worth of unauthorized leave from APS, saying, “What I did was I changed the employee handbook so that anyone can be a legislator in Santa Fe and be paid for it.”
In 2018, former Martin Luther King, Jr. Commission executive director Kimberly Greene and former employees Cheryl Yazzie and Charles Countee pleaded guilty to fraud and embezzlement charges by creating phony state vouchers to heist over $67,700 from the Commission. According to Greene, she claims she “was coerced by [then]-House Minority Whip Sheryl Williams Stapleton, D-Albuquerque, to enter into a no-bid contract with eRead, an outside contractor for ACT/SAT program,” according to the New Mexico Political Report. However, Stapleton claimed, “I was never involved, never spoke to anybody about a no-bid contract.”