On Wednesday, it was reported by Albuquerque Journal and confirmed by KOB 4 that law enforcement was executing search warrants at the home of Democrat House majority leader Rep. Sheryl Williams Stapleton (D-Bernalillo).
“Investigators have been investigating Williams Stapleton’s links to a Washington D.C. based company, Robotics Management Learning Systems LLC, that has done more than $5 million in business with APS over the last 13 years,” reported the Journal.
“The investigation began at the request of APS Superintendent Scott Elder after the district’s procurement department began asking questions about the company and its relationship with Williams Stapleton in 2018.”
The letter, signed April 19, 2021, reads as follows:
Ms. Williams Stapleton has for a period of years made requests for procurement from a software known as “Cyber Quest” which is purportedly developed by a Washington D.C. company called Robotics Management Learning System, LLC (“Robotics”). To the best of the APS Finance Department’s knowledge, these procurements occurred for several years without a proper request for proposal (“RFP”) and response. When the Procurement Officer caught this irregularity and issued an RFP, Robotics indicated in its response that no conflict of interest existed. However, the Finance Department noticed that despite being D.C.-based, Robotics requested checks be remitted to an Albuquerque, New Mexico P.O. Box. This P.O. Box had at one time belonged to a person named David Hendrickson, which is the same name as one of Ms. Williams Stapleton’s children. On his Facebook page, David Hendrickson lists his job is listed as a “coordinator” for Robotics. Also, the owner of Robotics, Joseph Jackson, appears to be both a personal friend and the president of the same non-profit Ms. Williams Stapleton works for as a director.
Additionally, Ms. Williams Stapleton has also requested the procurement of the services from a company known as TriTech Enterprises, LLC (“TriTech”), which is owned by a man named Randolph Williams. TriTech purports to conduct teacher trainings on use of the software known as “Cyber Quest” and appears to have close ties to Robotics. Both Robotics and TriTech charge the exact same amount for the exact same trainings, but it is unclear why both organizations are paid for the same trainings. The frequency of the trainings is questionable and the quality of the software is suspect.
By separate letter, APS will present to you additional information about Ms. Williams Stapleton and Robotics. Instead of waiting to provide you all the available information, I thought it best to notify you just as soon as I became aware of this situation. As we become aware of additional information, we will provide it to you by separate letter.
According to the report, “Search warrants were also served on businesses and charities connected to Wiliams Stapleton and her family.”
KOB reports that Stapleton is under investigation for racketeering, money laundering, and receiving illegal kickbacks, according to the warrant.
The report continues:
According to the warrant, every invoice issued by Robotics to APS was for an even dollar amount, no cents, and in unchanging amounts over the years. Most were reportedly for $40,000. In all, APS paid Robotics more than $5.3 million.
Rep. Williams Stapleton is also directly involved with four companies that received payments from Robotics: The Charlie Morrisey Center for Creative Assitance Inc., the Ujima Foundation, S. Williams and Associates, and local restaurant A Taste of The Caribbean.
Evidence suggests that she was eventual recipient of 60% of the APS money — $954,386. Investigators are looking into additional payments that were redirected into her personal bank accounts.
Stapleton has served in the House since 1995 and has been known as a loud partisan voice pushing for the wills of teacher’s unions. She is the longest-serving Democratic member in the New Mexico House of Representatives. As majority leader, Stapleton is the second-highest-ranking Democrat in the House after Speaker Brian Egolf (D-Santa Fe).
On her campaign website, Stapleton writes, “Some people are concerned about being important, we can all be important, but we cannot all serve the public. I have chosen to be a public servant rather than be important.” New Mexicans will soon see if her words ring true or are just hollow rhetoric.
This is a developing story.