Block’s dad a target in state inquiry

-A A +A
By The Staff

When it comes to the state’s grand jury investigation into his campaign finances, Public Regulation Commissioner Jerome Block Jr. now has some company.

Je-rome Block Sr., the official’s father and a former member of the PRC himself, has been named as a target of the same grand jury that is investigating his son.

On Monday, the Optic’s managing editor, David Giuliani, received his second subpoena to testify before the grand jury, which is set to reconvene today. Both of the Blocks’ names were listed as targets of the investigation.

The state attorney general’s office wouldn’t comment on why the older Block’s name is listed.

Giuliani and others testified before the grand jury late last month.

In September, Block admitted to the Optic that he had lied about information on his campaign finance report. Because PRC campaigns are publicly funded, Block’s admission drew the interest of the attorney general’s office. He also had to pay the secretary of state’s office $21,000 in fines as a result of his admission as well as other problems on his finance reports.

For several weeks in the fall, Block insisted that he held a rally in early May near Las Vegas and that Wyld Country, a local band that included San Miguel County Clerk Paul Maez, played at the event. Maez also got $200 for campaign coordination for Block.

Some questioned whether Maez, who is now the supervisor of the county clerk’s office’s elections bureau, should have been working for a candidate. After weeks of messages left with Maez last fall, he finally told the Optic that the rally never happened and that his band didn’t play.

Less than an hour later, Block admitted his lie, saying he wasn’t “forthcoming” with the public.

“I had every intention for Paul’s band to play for me. When time snuck up on us, it was too late for him to perform. I hoped that he would make up the gig at a later date,” Block wrote in an e-mail to the Optic.

“With all the pressure from the local media, I continued with the story that the band did perform. I was unsure how to reflect a refund and quite frankly didn’t want another story. But I feel I need to be forthcoming now,” he wrote.

In November, Block easily defeated his Green Party opponent.

On March 25, a grand jury in state District Court in Santa Fe convened and heard testimony from a number of witnesses, including Giuliani and Maez, who came to the court with his attorney, Gerald Baca.

Other witnesses included officials from the secretary of state’s office as well as Block’s campaign treasurer.

The grand jury is expected to hear from a few new witnesses today and then begin deliberations.