Tierra Amarilla – The criminal charges against Gary Valencia of Taos may have come to an end. He was charged in Taos County with construction fraud and back taxes stemming from a vacation home built in Chama in 2013. Judge McElroy dismissed the case in July 2017 because venue should have been in Rio Arriba. Donald Gallegos, the Eighth Judicial District Attorney, appealed the dismissal but then withdrew his appeal.
Instead, Mr. Gallegos refiled the same charges in Rio Arriba County. Today Judge Lidyard in Tierra Amarilla heard a second defense motion to dismiss and, once again, dismissed the case. The judge stated that “the district attorney may have withdrawn the appeal because Judge McElroy’s decision had merit.” Previously Mr. Valencia had filed a motion to disqualify the district attorney because Mr. Gallegos’ brother in law was also a subcontractor at the Chama site.
“The charges against Mr. Valencia were unfounded,” said defense attorney Steve Aarons of Santa Fe. “Gary has worked in the construction industry for 30 years without issue. The jury would have agreed with us but the judge’s decision saved everyone a lot of time and expense. After five years of fighting this case, at great personal hardship, justice was finally served.”