Kokesh accuses Speaker Lujan of corruption, while father faces SEC charges
Just days before New Mexico House Speaker Ben Lujan launched the 2010 legislative session, Adam Kokesh, a Republican primary candidate in the 3rd Congressional District, accused the powerful speaker of helping put his son Ben Ray Lujan in Congress through his “ability to make bribes and promises from the statehouse.” But the SEC has charged Kokesh’s own father for allegedly misappropriating $45 million from investors in four businesses.
“Most people here believe that he only got elected because of his father,” Kokesh said, referring to Congressman Lujan, after an Albuquerque Tea Party event held Saturday in Rio Rancho.
“Lujan Sr., who has been responsible for a lot of the corruption at the state level … is responsible for his son currently holding that seat and the money that he was able to raise,” Kokesh told The Independent.
Kokesh did not offer any specific details or proof of wrongdoing by Speaker Lujan. On Wednesday he explained, “I hear stories repeatedly of the effects of this corruption on the state, and on politics here, from people who will tell me in confidence, but are afraid to say anything on the record because of the fear of retaliation.”
At the Tea Party event he called the electoral success of the Democrat family the “Lujan machine,” adding: “this machine…it’s out of gas.”
Lujan spokesman Mark Nicastre called Kokesh’s statements a “malicious, unprovoked attack” on Lujan’s father, saying the comments were “inappropriate and disappointing.”
“Largely the power base is not from the power of their [Lujans’] ideas or their conviction or their honesty. It’s from the ability to make bribes and promises from the statehouse,” Kokesh said, claiming that it will be difficult for the elder Lujan to help his son further–because of the state’s budget shortfall.
“The state is all out of money and the Lujans are all out of promises to offer,” Kokesh said. “They can’t keep this thing going,” Kokesh said.
Kokesh, who has been defending criticism of his war protests, mostly by his Republican primary opponent Tom Mullins, predicts the legislative session is “going to be ugly, and finally the bill is coming due for all of the largesse at the state level and all of the corruption.”
“You can’t just buy off the voters in New Mexico,” Kokesh said.
Several calls to Speaker Lujan were not returned.
“The fact is that Rep. [Ben Ray] Lujan has a strong record of standing up for the people of New Mexico–taking on insurance companies, credit card companies and Wall Street. It’s a record he’s proud of and a record that respects and represents the values of the district,” Nicaster wrote in an e-mail to The Independent.
“It’s a shame that some are resorting to vitriol, but Rep. Lujan remains focused on fighting for the people of New Mexico’s 3rd Congressional District.”
Kokesh’s father investigated by SEC
In October 2008, Adam Kokesh’s father, Charles Kokesh, was charged by the Securities and Exchange Commission with misappropriating $45 million dollars from 21,000 investors in four business development companies (BDCs) through “a variety of schemes and contrivances.”
The SEC complaint alleged that the elder Kokesh controlled two now-defunct investment advisory firms from 1995 through July 2007, which in turn controlled and provided investment advice to his BDC’s. (BDCs are similar to venture capital funds that allow investors to invest in startups and other companies.) The complaint alleges that:
Acting by and through the Advisers, Kokesh misappropriated approximately $45 million of investor funds by causing the BDCs to pay illegal distributions, performance fees, and expense reimbursements to the Advisers. To conceal the scheme, Kokesh caused the Advisers to distribute misleading proxy statements to BDC investors and to file false Commission reports on behalf of the BDCs.
Kokesh’s father has also faced legal problems in Santa Fe. In July 2009, The Santa Fe New Mexican reported on Charles Kokesh’s legal woes, including an attempt by the City of Santa Fe to collect over $100,000 in irrigation fees. From the story:
So far this year, two foreclosure lawsuits have been filed on the senior Kokesh’s horse park and private residence, another lender has tried to repossess his motor home, and a credit card company is demanding payments from his wife.
But Kokesh maintains some of those cases are in error, that he is doing well financially after selling his South Dakota arms-manufacturing firm, and looks forward to settling all claims against him.
In a telephone interview Friday, Kokesh said he believes previous stories about his financial troubles are part of a “vendetta” against him by a New Mexican reporter.
“You like to emphasize the negative?” he asked. “You could put a much more positive spin on it: Local venture capitalist succeeds in selling one of the remaining portfolio companies, is flush with cash, does not see a problem working through any of the issues.”
Reached via phone from Gallup Wednesday afternoon, Adam Kokesh distanced himself from his father’s troubles.
“My father’s issues are his own,” he told The Independent. “My father has never taken any money from the government, and he is not an elected official who’s been on the ballot before which helps with name recognition.”
“I understand the circumstances of the case with my father,” Kokesh said. “I hope that this new prosecution is not politically motivated because of my race [for Congress]. But, what ever happens I hope that justice will be done.”
No comments yet.