Ex-Spaceport America CFO files suit, claims $200M in fraud by Gov. Lujan Grisham

On Monday, Zach DeGriego, the former Chief Financial Officer of Spaceport America from December 21, 2015, to June 21, 2020, announced he had filed a civil complaint in the First Judicial District Court against Gov. Michelle Lujan Grisham over an alleged fraud of $200 million.

“I’ve never spoken about this publicly until now, but the continued retaliation from New Mexico Gov. Michelle Lujan Grisham and her staff has forced me to make this statement to set the record straight,” DeGriego said in a video statement.

“Many of you know I was the former chief financial officer of Spaceport America in New Mexico. I left that position after making multiple whistleblower complaints. I was forced to resign when I had to choose between keeping my job and committing crimes. After the governor and her staff got rid of me they have done everything in their power to retaliate against me and destroy my life to keep me silent.”

“At the same time, they proceeded to violate multiple federal laws. Today, I have filed a lawsuit against the State of New Mexico for violations of the New Mexico whistleblower protection act and malfeasance by the state auditor. The complaint names 21 individuals who participated in a conspiracy including leaders at the highest levels of state government including Gov. Michelle Lujan Grisham, Attorney General Hector Balderas, New Mexico State Auditor Brian Colón, Economic Development Cabinet Secretary Alicia Keys, and current managers at Spaceport America.” 

“The complaint provides evidence of extortion, bribery, illegal drug use, sex discrimination, procurement fraud, securities fraud, and multiple violations of federal law. The complaint describes how after I left, the defendants proceeded to commit over $200 million in fraud when they issued bonds under false pretenses with disclosure documents containing fraudulent information.” 

“The last governor in the United States who was impeached was Gov. Blagojevich [of Illinois]. He was arrested and sentenced to 14 years in federal prison for a whole lot less than this. Now, I realize that I’m just one person going up against the most rich and powerful people in the state of New Mexico. And I realize that these people have virtually unlimited taxpayer dollars that they will continue to use to attack me. But here’s what I believe: I believe that one person can make a difference in this world and I believe it’s important to stand up for what is right.”

“I’m Zach DeGregorio, certified public accountant, and you, Gov. Michelle Lujan Grisham, you are a crook.” 

The 261-page complaint filed by DeGregorio includes 41 exhibits showing documented proof of alleged wrongdoing and carefully strings together facts and figures from his time of employment at Spaceport America.

DeGregorio, who is is referred to in the complaint as “DG” wrote in the complaint, “The employees at the NM Spaceport Authority are too scared to speak up out of fear of retaliation. If they did not comply, they would be maliciously attacked, just like the board member Rick Holdridge, who was illegally removed from the board by Governor Michelle Lujan Grisham when he objected to the investigation.”

Alicia Keys

Regarding Lujan Grisham’s appointee, Economic Development Secretary Alicia Keys,DeGregorio alleges conflicts of interest with the film industry, where Keys allegedly attempted to falsify reports to show Spaceport America in worse financial shape and sabotage the large project in order to bolster the film industry instead. 

“Alicia Keyes continued to work against the interest of the NM Spaceport Authority with regards to the Spaceport Gross Receipts Tax bonds. At the request of the NM Spaceport Authority board, ZD had been researching alternatives to refinance the bonds (last reported value of $47M in FY20). The date the Agency could exercise their option to refinance the bonds was 12/1/2020. ZD had been a vocal critic of refinancing with the current bond holders, the New Mexico Finance Authority, as there were many alternative options that would save the NM taxpayers millions of dollars,” the complaint reads.

Bribery Allegations

The complaint alleges bribes taken by Lujan Grisham, claiming she violated the Anti-Donation Clause and bribery of a public officer (NMSA 30-24-1). “By holding secret meetings, Virgin Galactic was improperly attempting to influence the use of the Spaceport’s operational budget for their own benefit in exchange for benefits to the Governor during upcoming space operations,”DeGregorio writes. 

“As further evidence of bribery and preferential treatment, it was reported in the press that Governor Michelle Lujan Grisham received exclusive access and promotion during Richard Branson’s first spaceflight with Virgin Galactic on July 11, 2021. This launch was not open to the public except for the Governor and her VIP guests including former Governor Bill Richardson. This is evidence of a quid pro quo. Governor Michelle Lujan Grisham gave Virgin Galactic the designation of ‘essential business’ and in return she got to attend a party with Richard Branson,” he added.

$200 Million in Fraud

“Additionally, the fraud also corrupts the NM Finance Authority’s PPRF loan portfolio. The NM Finance Authority released bond disclosure documents stating the PPRF bonds were backed by the revenue from The Spaceport Gross Receipts Tax bonds, without disclosing the material risks of the bonds or the fraudulent actions of the Defendants which involved the CEO of the NM Finance Authority Marquita Russel. The Spaceport Gross Receipts Tax bonds should be removed from the PPRF, and the PPRF restructured. This means that NM Finance Authority also has been issuing fraudulent statements in over $200 Million of their own PPRF bond issuances. Investors justifiably relied on the NM Finance Authority’s false statements which would have impacted the bond ratings from S&P and Moody’s,” the complaint reads.

The fraud alleged relied on board appointments only Lujan Grisham could approve, with the appointment of Alicia Keyes as Board Chair of the NM Spaceport Authority. “This action gave Alicia Keyes control over any future board votes because the three new members had only known Alicia Keyes as board chair and had no prior experience with Rick Holdridge as board chair.”

“The Defendants forced ZD to resign in a constructive discharge. The Defendants were afraid that ZD’s communications exposed over $200 million of securities fraud they were about to commit. The Defendants fraudulently procured consulting services of The McHard Firm to conduct a deeply flawed investigation,” the complaint concluded.

DeGregorio’s complaint goes over many other instances of alleged fraud, corruption, bribery, and retaliation. It can be accessed here. Michelle Lujan Grisham’s office was reached for comment but has not yet responded.

The video fromDeGregorio can be seen here:

30 thoughts on “Ex-Spaceport America CFO files suit, claims $200M in fraud by Gov. Lujan Grisham”

      1. MLG and her Justice, Equity, Diversity, and Inclusion coordinator (JEDI Coordinator), and EDD Cabinet Secretary Alicia J. Keyes
        were right in the mix of all of this!!

    1. Agree. This information is so shocking — how can people who are supposed to be trusted be so malevolent??? MLG and ALL of the co-conspirators need to go to jail for a very, very long time.

  1. “Let’s go Brandon.” We’ll be attempting to keep up with your noble intentions here Zach; you are a Hero Sir! I look forward to reading your complaint.

  2. Just another example of how corrupt Moochie Loserjan-Gruesome is! She learned the dirty “pay to play” from the finest– Good ole Bill Richardson — one of the Dirtiest scumbags in NM!! How many of the people she surrounds herself with are really up and up. Certainly not these 3! Attorney General Hector Balderas, New Mexico State Auditor Brian Colón, Economic Development Cabinet Secretary Alicia Keys. The bad part ,AND most obvious of her dealings.. TAXPAYERS fund it. I am praying for the day she is dragged out of the roundhouse in handcuffs–there will be dancing in the streets!

  3. Lock her sorry ass up. She is a disgrace to the state of New Mexico. Her law applies only to the people and not her.

  4. We need to bust this witch, and any loser connected to her !
    Sorry, but most of these crooks are the color blue.

    Thanks Zach , and we all support your efforts.

  5. May God bless your courage Zach! You are a true inspiration to all patriots. I am inspired to do and be more to do my part to save this state and our great country~Thank You!

  6. May God bless your courage Zach! You are a true inspiration to all patriots. I am inspired to do and be more to do my part to save this state and our great country~Thank You!

  7. Yes, get her and Richardson with involvement with Hunter and CCP. Umbrella company selling lands and recruiting Dems. I’m sure connected to Epstein also! Richardson’s connection to Clinton’s is all there. As what’s been said-“follow the money” they are compromised and I can just imagine the rest as to her hiding operation Legend…all so disgusting! Corruption in NM – greedy egocentric leaders not for NM!

  8. Next Election: The 3 Most important elected offices in this state are the AG, SOS & the Auditor. they keep the DEMOCRAT CORRUPTION rolling down the road. Sure the Governor position is important and the House & Senate seats also, but these 3 State positions run their WHOLE show. Time for people of this state to really wake up. The “New Mexico Way” and just voting for who ever has that (D) next to their name has to STOP. Also this includes ALL those Republicans who wish to work across the aisle. The RINOS only fuel the train going down the tracks.

    1. You are my new HERO, you’re exactly right. I think it’s always been this way – at least since I moved here in 1947!

  9. John, thank you so much for keeping New Mexicans informed about the dirty deals going on behind the scenes. Little Ms. Grossham has ruined NM and turned it into a mafia state. This used to be the Land of Enchantment this is now the LAND of Endless Tramps, Liars and Thieves. The Old timer’s have been overtaken by Dirty, Mafioso Minded, Money Hungry PIGS! Arrest them all and send them to the big house in Hell!

  10. So much corruption in NM. Between Bill Richardson (alleged pedo rapist) handing Branson the Spaceport by hurdening the taxpayers, then years of failure to make anything of it while taxpayers shouldered the maintenance fees, now a Governor who gets bribed by a foreign oil company SOCAR in Azerbaijan, yet destroys our domestic energy future while cashing in on all the tax revenuefor her handlers. We have a terrorist compound that killed children and got bulldozed to cover up the evidence, showing our corrupt courts. A corrupt Soros-funded DA, Epstein’s Zoro Ranch property deal for that land.. every last politician in New Mexico is a CROOK!!! Of course we have Dominion Voting machines to keep the criminal mafia in Santa Fe in power.

    1. Margaret Douglass

      And when they get removed from NM politics, they get elected to represent NM. In DC. BY then they have experience to work in the DC machine.

  11. Thank you Zac. Can the citizens take this filthy grifter masquerading as a Governor and her criminal co-conspirators to court and claw back any of the money that’s been stolen? Hire Thomas Renz and hit that filthy pig where it hurts her the most… in her bank accounts…

    1. Yes, when public officials perjure their oath to office and overstep their limited official duties, they do so in their personal capacity; therefore they must be sued in their personal capacity for Due Process violations, which become Criminal when they are perpetrated by a public official. This is the People’s remedy.

  12. Zach, we wish the very best for you! I will spread the word for prayer for you. You don’t deserve any of the garbage the Empress, et al, dumped on you. If you ever decide to work in this state again, you will be welcomed with open arms and open hearts. Needless to say, don’t deal with anyone in the demoncRat party!!
    God bless and Vaya con Dios!!

  13. Zach, thank you for standing up for what is right and for justice!! I wish the very best outcome for you in this case!! People who commit crimes belong in jail!!!

  14. After paying over 100k in hush money for sexual harassment and keeping it mum, “that it did not happen why was it paid then?” I hope she get nailed and all her crooked cronies!! Speak up NM!!!

  15. Has anyone noticed what press the Albuquerque Journal gave this matter? It was a “back” page article that only said that members of MLG’s administration had been sued, not MLG herself. As usual, terrific reporting by the Journal, in all of the best interests on New Mexicans.

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