New Mexico Governor Michelle Lujan Grisham’s campaign paid tens of thousands of dollars more than was previously known to an ex-staffer who accused the governor of groping him.
Lujan Grisham’s campaign paid former staffer James Hallinan $150,000 as part of a settlement agreement after Hallinan accused Lujan Grisham of grabbing his crotch in front of several other staffers. Lujan Grisham has denied the accusation.
The settlement was first revealed in April after Lujan Grisham’s campaign revealed it had paid Hallinan $62,500, consisting of five monthly payments of $12,500, over his accusation. On Sunday, the campaign revealed that it had paid Hallinan an additional $87,500 as part of the settlement, according to the Albuquerque Journal.
Campaign spokeswoman Kendall Witmer again denied Hallinan’s allegations in a statement, saying that the governor’s campaign settled the case to cut the expenses of a drawn-out legal battle and “prevent any distraction” from the governor’s work on COVID-19. The spokeswoman said, according to KOB4:
The Governor, Dominic Gabello, and New Mexicans for Michelle unequivocally deny the false, dubious, and meritless claims made by Mr. Hallinan and feel certain the claims would have been disproved in court. The settlement resolved suspect and varied claims made by Mr. Hallinan, including his search for employment and clients following his tumultuous tenure on the 2018 campaign. The campaign reached this settlement in 2020 due to the expense of litigating business disputes and to prevent any distraction during the height of the COVID-19 pandemic. Governor Lujan Grisham will continue to work tirelessly for the people of New Mexico, delivering on record economic growth, educational investment, and tax cuts for New Mexico’s families — all while leading the state through the COVID-19 pandemic.
Hallinan served as Lujan Grisham’s spokesman on her 2018 campaign. He brought his allegations against the governor public in 2019, claiming that Lujan Grisham poured a bottle of water down his pants before grabbing his crotch while laughing. Hallinan said the incident took place in front of a number of other campaign staffers. Lujan Grisham and her campaign have denied Hallinan’s claims.
Earlier this year, Lujan Grisham was involved in another scandal over after she was revealed to have spent thousands of taxpayer dollars on groceries, liquor, and dry cleaning for her personal use. As The Daily Wire reported at the time:
Grisham racked up a $13,500 tab during the last six months of 2020, according to financial disclosures reported on by the Sante Fe New Mexican. Her bill allegedly included $6,500 in luxurious groceries such as Wagyu beef and tuna steaks, as well as bottles of tequila, vodka, gin, wine, and beer.
Grisham or one of her surrogates allegedly spent $200 on alcohol during one visit to Sam’s Club and also used tax dollars to pay for her dry cleaning. People close to her were also reportedly receiving raises between $7,500 and $12,000 at the time.
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