This is a breaking news article and will be updated.
Demesia Padilla, who has been the state’s Taxation and Revenue Department secretary since 2010, resigned on Thursday, with Gov. Susana Martinez referring to an ongoing investigation to explain her departure.
“As a former prosecutor, I take any allegations of misconduct seriously and don’t believe anyone is above the law,” Martinez said in a statement released by her office. “That is why I ordered the tax department to fully cooperate with the Attorney General’s Office during the course of their investigation.”
Martinez said Padilla’s resignation is effective immediately and she will “quickly appoint a new secretary.”
“New Mexico faces pressing issues — particularly with our budget — and that must continue to be our focus as we move forward,” the governor said.
Asked about the situation, James Hallinan, spokesman for the Attorney General’s Office, called it “an ongoing investigation based on a public referral.”
It’s not immediately clear is Hallinan is referring to allegations State Auditor Tim Keller asked the AG to investigate in 2015. Keller’s office found that Padilla pressured employees who worked for her in the Taxation and Revenue Department to give special treatment to a taxpayer she worked for before becoming the department’s secretary.
Padilla has denied those allegations. A spokesman said in July 2015 that Padilla “did nothing wrong and flatly denies the allegations that she acted improperly.”