New audit shows New Mexico Corrections was overcharged by contractors
The New Mexico Corrections Department made $3.7 million in questionable payments to three contractors from fiscal years 2007 to 2010, according to an audit released Wednesday by State Auditor Hector Balderas. The invoices to the three contractors were not clear enough to determine what services were provided.
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The audit said one company, HEI Inc. of Albuquerque, overcharged the department $180,000 for four backup electrical generators. The audit said about $2 million in payments went to the company but invoices were “not descriptive enough to identify the good or services” provided to the department.
The audit said the department was overcharged $48,000 by Santa Fe-based Advantage Asphalt on one project and there was a “lack of support to substantiate payments” of $397,000 to the company. Auditors found nearly $1.3 million in unsupported costs billed by Omni.
The Corrections Department’s former facilities manager, Laurie Chapman, has already been indicted on 30 counts of bribery for allegedly accepting $237,000 from one of the contractors, Omni Development Corp. The overcharging came during difficult years for the state budget and the administration of Gov. Bill Richardson.
Auditor Balderas is running for U.S. Senate in 2012 as a Democrat.