This story is a staff report from The Paper.

On Thursday, Attorney General Hector Balderas filed a criminal complaint against former Española City Manager, David Valdez. Valdez served as the Española City Manager for four months in 2019, and while he was employed it is alleged that Valdez stole a bag containing checks and cash, totaling $18,244.32, from Española City Hall on or about April 12, 2019. The checks and cash were city utility payments from customers earmarked for deposit. Valdez was terminated from his position on July 9, 2019.

“Our communities deserve public servants that safeguard taxpayer resources, and we look forward to presenting our case before a jury,” said Balderas.

Statements from Valdez’s coworkers established that only a few people had access to the vault where the money was kept and Valdez had the opportunity to steal it. Video cameras in City Hall established that Valdez was seen acting suspiciously on the day the money was taken and later seen walking out with a portfolio. That same day, Valdez opened a new bank account with cash, although investigators determined that he had already spent almost his entire paycheck at local casinos. 

The case was investigated by special agents from the Office of the Attorney General and detectives with the Española Police Department.