Former NM lawmaker named in corruption charges from performing arts center

ALBUQUERQUE, N.M. (KRQE) – A former Albuquerque Public Schools administrator and state lawmaker facing federal and local charges for stealing taxpayer money will have his name removed from a building at Expo New Mexico. Next Friday, Cheryl Williams Stapleton’s name will be removed from the African American Performing Arts Center.

He was federally indicted earlier this week on charges of bribery, money laundering and fraud against the US government. Prosecutors said he, along with Joseph Johnson, stole millions in federal funds for personal use. Two years ago he was indicted by a grand jury on racketeering, laundering and numerous other charges for doing the same with state funds.

Governor Michelle Lujan Grisham released this statement:

After careful consideration, I have decided that the serious allegations leveled this week in a 35-count federal indictment against former Representative Cheryl Williams Stapleton warrant the removal of her name from the African American Performing Arts Center at Expo New Mexico. If he is acquitted in a court of law of these alleged financial crimes, the New Mexico Legislature may consider returning his name to the facility.

When News 13 asked the governor about clearing his name after the state filed charges in 2021, the governor said his office would not take any premature action, adding “Stapleton is innocent until proven guilty.”

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