On Wednesday, it was reported that Michelle Lujan Grisham’s senior policy advisor Dominic Gabello had resigned from the administration, making him the latest top-level official to leave her office amid her sexual assault scandal where she paid off a former staffer $62,500 with campaign funds who alleged she groped his crotch.
Gabello will not abandon the Governor entirely but will cash in on his work for Lujan Grisham by “starting his own business and continuing to serve as a political consultant to the governor on the campaign side,” according to Nora Sackett, the Governor’s press secretary.
Sackett says Gabello’s last official day will be April 30, telling the New Mexican that Gabello “was out of the office and unavailable for comment Wednesday.”
“Dominic Gabello is a veteran political adviser, who has been a major part of Gov. Lujan Grisham’s team for near a decade and managed her congressional and gubernatorial campaigns,” campaign spokesman Jared Leopold said in a statement. “We are thrilled to have his help on Gov. Lujan Grisham’s campaign.”
While working in the administration, Gabello was getting $143,769 per year as senior policy adviser, which is comparable to other staffers’ salaries in the well-paid Lujan Grisham office.
The resignation comes after Department of Workforce Solutions cabinet secretary Bill McCamley quit unexpectedly, John Bingaman, the Governor’s former chief of staff, left the administration to manage a private investment firm, and in January, Victor Reyes, the governor’s legislative director, stepped down.
Last year, Department of Finance and Administration secretary Olivia Padilla-Jackson, Department of Health secretary Kathy Kunkel, and state epidemiologist Dr. Michael Landen all resigned, among others.
Gabello was front and center in the Governor’s groping controversy, where James Hallinan, the victim, claimed Gabello tried to talk him out of reporting the incident.
Gabello was also central in organizing a meeting with communist Chinese officials in New Mexico, where Lujan Grisham and Chinese Consul General Zhang Ping discussed possibly making New Mexico a sister-state with the hostile nation.