City mayor in New Mexico resigns amid criminal charges

January 9, 2020 GMT

SANTA FE, N.M. (AP) — The mayor of the northern New Mexico city of Las Vegas has resigned two weeks after she was indicted on charges of bribery and accepting kickbacks.

Mayor Tonita Gurule-Giron announced the decision in a letter read Wednesday at a City Council work session.

Gurulé-Girón had previously said she would not run for reelection, city officials said.

Gurule-Giron was charged in December with six felonies related to abuse of power, bid rigging and offering and receiving bribes, prosecutors said. She pleaded not guilty Monday to all the criminal charges against her, officials said.

The criminal case against Gurulé-Girón alleges she pressured city employees to give contracts to her boyfriend’s construction company, officials said.

Prior to her resignation, city council members scheduled a special meeting Friday to discuss removing the mayor from her position, officials said. That meeting will now likely not be held, councilman David Romero said.

“I think she made the right decision, ultimately,” Romero said. “We are elected to do what is in the best interest of the community, and with these (charges) hanging over her, it has been a distraction, so I think she made the right decision tonight.”