Money for boxing event still at issue

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By David Giuliani

The city is seeking an opinion from its attorney on the legality of giving $15,000 to help a private boxing promoter advertise an event on Aug. 28.

City Manager Timothy Dodge requested the opinion from City Attorney Carlos Quiñones. This was done at the prompting of City Councilwoman Diane Moore, the only council member who opposed giving the money.

The council voted to give the money to Albuquerque-based Fresquez Productions, which is planning a fight for Duke City pro boxer Holly Holm in the Meadow City. The funds come from lodger’s tax revenue, which are assessed to motel customers.

During a recent council meeting, Moore questioned whether giving the money to a private business was a violation of the state constitution’s anti-donation clause, which bars public money from going toward private purposes.

However, the agreement with Fresquez calls for use of the city logo on all of the boxing event’s promotions. Because the city is getting something in return, it is not violating the anti-donation clause, city officials maintain.

Moore said she attended a recent meeting of the lodger’s tax board, where members were offended that the city gave lodger’s tax revenue without seeking the panel’s input.

“They had major concerns with the city’s action. They were slightly insulted,” she said. “They had concerns that the money was given in violation of the state constitution’s anti-donation clause. They felt the council opened up a can of worms for them as a board.”

She reported that a representative of another for-profit group came forward to the board to request lodger’s tax money to promote local events, but she said the board rejected that proposal because of the anti-donation clause.

City Manager Timothy Dodge said Moore was referring to Kenny Zamora, owner of the Santa Fe Trail Events Center. He said that if Zamora had something to offer the city in the form of advertising, the city could entertain his request for money.

Moore also questioned how the city would allocate the eight ringside and 30 general admission seats that Fresquez gave to the city as part of its agreement.

City officials had been considering raffling off the seats to help some local cause such as a homeless shelter or the senior center. But Dodge said at the recent council meeting that the city wouldn’t accept the tickets.

“We looked at ways we could use them. Every time we looked around, we ran into something negative,” he said, without elaborating on the drawbacks.

Feldman asked what the city would get in return for giving up the tickets.

No one answered.

Holm (24-1-3, 7 KOs) will fight Terri Blair (11-13-2, 6 KOs) in the main event of the card, to be held at the Wilson Complex on the New Mexico Highlands University campus. Tickets ranging from $20 to $200 are available via Ticketmaster and several other area vendors.

Joining the WIBA welterweight champion and three-time Ring Magazine Fighter of the Year will be a virtual all-star lineup of Meadow City pugilists.

Frankie Archuleta, whose epic battles with Johnny Tapia included a standing-room-only show at Wilson Complex in 2004, is scheduled to fight Lorenzo Estrada of Las Cruces. Archuleta is a veteran boxer who is from Las Vegas and attended the Las Vegas City Schools.

Arturo Crespin and sister Amanda, both recent West Las Vegas grads, are also penciled in for bouts. Arturo will be in his fourth pro fight, while Amanda will be making her pro debut.