Former New Mexico governor’s bodyguard files suit
A bodyguard for former Gov. Susana Martinez says in a new lawsuit that state police officials retaliated against him for raising concerns about misconduct by another member of her security detail, including concerns about the misspending of campaign funds.
New Mexico State Police Officer Tony Fetty claims officials around the governor instead sought to protect her ex-bodyguard, Ruben Maynes, and alleges the two had a personal relationship.
The lawsuit adds to questions other state law enforcement officials have already raised in recent months about why Maynes received a $200,000 out-of-court settlement from the New Mexico government after leaving the governor’s security detail and what relationship, if any, he had with the state’s top elected official and her family.
Filed in state District Court in Santa Fe, the lawsuit ultimately stems from $16,500 Fetty says he loaned Maynes in the summer of 2012 to cover various debts.
Fetty says his then-colleague claimed to have racked up the debts from gambling, obtaining hunting permits, business ventures and various other projects he had borrowed money to either pay off or promote.
Maynes had already fallen under public scrutiny after a hunting trip the governor’s husband, Chuck Franco, took to Louisiana in 2011. Maynes had accompanied Franco, racking up overtime and other expenses.
Fetty says in the lawsuit Maynes made an initial minor payment but failed to repay him on a regular basis. He added he communicated to New Mexico State Police personnel that Maynes “had committed misconduct which while improper, may have also been unlawful insofar as it involved the governor.”
“Such improper conduct included, but was not limited to, concerns where campaign money was being improperly spent, laws concerning campaign money were not being followed and/or government resources were spent for non-government related activities,” the lawsuit says.
Fetty says in his lawsuit that colleagues told him Maynes was “protected” — that is, untouchable for political reasons.
The officer says: “Because of the overlapping of Agent Maynes’ personal life and frequency of non-professional concerns expressed by Gov. Martinez about Maynes, it became clear … that there was a personal relationship between Gov. Martinez and Agent Maynes.”
In his lawsuit, Fetty says the governor’s husband, Franco, once told state police agents that he suspected his wife was having a relationship with Maynes.
Fetty says state police removed Maynes from the governor’s security detail in 2014 when he was caught gambling on duty — an allegation raised in another lawsuit filed earlier this year.
Maynes still owed him $14,000 at that point, Fetty says.
Weighing whether to file a lawsuit to recoup the money, Fetty agreed to hold off at the governor’s request until after the 2014 re-election campaign was over, his lawsuit says.
Fetty says Martinez told him she also loaned money to Maynes, according to the lawsuit. He filed a lawsuit against Maynes to recoup his debts in January 2015.
The following month, a lawyer representing Maynes sent a letter to the governor and Pete Kassetas, then the state police chief, stating that he was “in the process of investigating claims” Maynes had against them.
Within a couple of months, the state government had settled with Maynes for $200,000.
The settlement required Maynes to repay two police officers who had loaned him money, including Fetty, according to documents The New Mexican obtained last summer through the state’s open-records law.
Fetty is not the first to raise concerns publicly about Maynes and his role on the governor’s security detail.
Alleging harassment and discrimination by Kassetas, the lawsuit filed by several serving and former state law enforcement officials in June also claimed Martinez told another bodyguard that she had loaned Maynes at least $20,000. It said the settlement was ostensibly to allow him to repay her as well as others.
A spokesman for Martinez previously denied that she ever wrote a $20,000 check for Maynes’ gambling debts and denied she had ever received any payment from him, describing the earlier lawsuit as containing “many ridiculous allegations that are completely removed from the truth.”
The New Mexican reached out to a former staffer for the former governor and left a message with a receptionist at her husband’s office in Las Cruces but was unable to reach Martinez.
A lawyer for Kassetas said he had not seen the latest lawsuit and did not immediately comment when provided a copy.
A lawyer for Maynes did not respond to an email or voicemail message seeking comment.
Fetty’s lawsuit says he was reassigned from the governor’s security detail in March 2018 and continues to serve as a state police officer.
Maynes resigned in October 2015 and later moved to Arizona, where he was the subject of a consumer complaint segment on a local television station last year that called him a “fake contractor.”