ALBUQUERQUE, N.M. (AP) — The former chief financial officer for the New Mexico Spaceport Authority has filed a whistleblower lawsuit, alleging that he was forced to resign after raising concerns about financial malfeasance that cost taxpayers millions of dollars.
Among the numerous allegations, Zach DeGregorio said top officials committed securities fraud by refinancing spaceport gross receipts tax bonds under false pretenses. He also said there were secret meetings held between state officials and Spaceport America’s most notable tenant — Virgin Galactic.
The civil complaint filed in state district court lists numerous officials, including Gov. Michelle Lujan Grisham, Economic Development Secretary Alicia Keyes, officials with the New Mexico Finance Authority and members of the spaceport authority board. The officials did not immediately respond Wednesday to questions about the allegations.
DeGregorio posted a video statement about his complaint on social media, saying he wanted to set the record straight.
“I believe one person can make a difference in this world and I believe it’s important to stand up for what is right,” he said.
Aside from the allegations of fraud, the lawsuit also details procurement violations and retaliation that DeGregorio faced after first reporting his concerns to officials in 2020. He is seeking a jury trial.
DeGregorio’s initial complaints triggered a 2020 investigation into allegations of financial mismanagement, ethical violations and abuse of power by former spaceport director Dan Hicks, who was fired in 2021. Hicks has never commented publicly about the claims.