On the online news agency “New Mexico Sun” published the following article written by one of its staff reporters:
It was recently revealed that Nichole Rogers, Albuquerque City Council candidate for District 6, failed to file required documents for her nonprofit to the IRS and certain New Mexico state agencies. As a result of these findings, her campaign has drawn criticism from various parties, including Albuquerque attorney Pete Dinelli.
“District 6 is entitled to a City Councilor who is ethical, who is above reproach, who knows how to manage finances both privately and in their private business dealings, who actually knows the problems of the District by actually living in the District for more than a few years, something that cannot be said of Nichole Rogers.”, said Pete Dinelli.
To better understand this controversy it’s crucial we first look at Rogers’ political scenario.
Rogers is running for election as a Democrat in Albuquerque’s 6th District, which covers the International District. None of the four candidates received over 50% of the votes, so it is heading to a runoff election between Rogers and the other top vote-getter, Democrat Jeff Hoehn. According to KRQE, the 6th District was previously represented by Pat Davis, who served two terms and therefore cannot run again. [DINELLI NEW MEXICO SUN ARTICLE CORRECTION: THERE ARE NO TERM LIMITS FOR CITY COUNCILOR NOR MAYOR AND DAVIS ELECTED NOT TO RUN FOR A THIRD TERM.]
Notably significant questions are being raised concerning Rogers’ handling of her non-profit organization called Welstand Foundation.
A lot of this scrutiny is aimed towards Rogers’ nonprofit organization the Welstand Foundation, a one-person organization that was started by Rogers in 2019 and whose federal tax exempt status was revoked in 2022. Rogers had never filed federal forms on income and expenses during the Welstand Foundation’s existence. In a blog post, Dinelli questions how much money the nonprofit received and where it went since it is impossible to know based on the non-existent tax filings.
Adding to the complexity of the situation, there are discrepancies regarding when Rogers claimed she closed her foundation.
Rogers has stated that she closed the Welstand Foundation, but hasn’t been consistent with when she did. Dinelli, in his blog, points out that on different occasions on the internet, she has said she closed it in 2020, as well as 2021.
Past records have shown that Rogers’ foundation received substantial funding from city resources.
As stated in a previous story in the New Mexico Sun, the Welstand Foundation received $15,000 from the city of Albuquerque through the city’s Coronavirus Community Support and Recovery Funds in 2020. This was ostensibly to help fund Welstand Village, a group home for children of color that was supposed to open in the summer of 2021, and never did.
The legitimacy of Rogers’ non-profit organization further came into question due to its inconsistent standing status.
It also appears that the foundation was still accepting donations in 2022 after they were supposedly shut down. On Oct. 20, 2023, the Welstand Foundation was listed by the New Mexico Secretary of State as “active” but “not in good standing.” However, as of Nov. 1, it’s now in good standing.
Dinelli goes further to assert connections between Rogers and current Mayor Tim Keller which could potentially influence District 6 policy decisions.
Dinelli also claims that Rogers is particularly close to Albuquerque Mayor Tim Keller who appointed Rogers as the City of Albuquerque African American Community and Business Liaison with the Office of Equity and Inclusion in 2021.
This is in contrast with the other District 6 candidate, Jeff Hoehn, who differs from Keller on certain issues, including approaches to fighting the homeless issue in Albuquerque. Keller seems keen on having a few, large shelters for the homeless population, while Hoehn said he would want to fund smaller, population-specific shelters. Hoehn is the executive director of Cuidando Los Niños, a shelter and school for homeless children. It is also noted that Hoehn has lived in the district for 21 years, while Rogers has lived there for six.
Meanwhile, as these controversies unfold, the upcoming District 6 run-off election remains scheduled as planned.
Early voting for the District 6 run-off election goes through Dec. 9. Election day is Dec. 12.
The link to the New Mexico Sun article is here:
OTHER QUESTIONS RAISED OVER ROGERS CANDIDACY
Aside from the Welstand Foundation, there are 3 other areas that call into question the candidacy of Nichole Rogers.
- HISTORY OF CIVIL LITIGATION AND MISDEAMEANOR CHARGES
An extensive review of public records and court dockets revealed a disturbing history of civil litigation over debts and money due, failure to pay rent, evictions and property liens. The total amount of judgments for debts and property liens filed were at least $25,726.47. It was also revealed misdemeanor traffic offense convictions by Nicole L. Rogers with times when bench warrants were issued for her arrest for failures to appear. She did not disclose to the Albuquerque Journal her misdemeanor convictions in its candidate questionnaire.
A review of court dockets was conducted to determine the extent of litigation Nichole Rogers has been involved with over the years. A listing of 7 specific civil court and 4 metro court misdemeanor cases was compiled which are believed to be cases Rogers has been named the defendant. When confronted with the cases, Rogers declined to admit or deny if the cases were in fact her as a named defendant. She said NO in her Albuquerque Journal candidate questionnaire if she had ever been convicted of a misdemeanor which is false.
2. RESIDENCY CHALLENGED
Confidential sources are alleging that Nichole Rogers has not lived in District 6 for the 6 years she has claimed and as she told the Albuquerque Journal in its candidate questionnaire. She has said at forums she has lived in the district for 6 years which is false and has raised her two children at the address she claims to be her home. The home in District 6 is a rental she owns and has rented to others as she lived with her children. It has been determined she has lived on the Westside in an apartment with others and is now using a District 6 residence that she owns but has rented to others in order to run for city council.
3. ROGERS IS MAYOR TIM KELLER’S DESIGNATED CANDIDATE
Confidential sources have confirmed that Mayor Tim Keller was involved with Nichole Rogers candidacy from the get go and that Jeff Hoehn was discouraged from running and he was told he could not win. Members of Keller administration took and active roll in helping Nichole Rogers to secure nominating signatures to get her on the ballot and collecting $5.00 qualifying donations to secure $40,000 in public financing. Rogers herself has told progressive democrats that she is the Mayor’s candidate to replace City Councilor Pat Davis.
COMMENTARY AND ANALYSIS
The city is facing any number of problems that are bringing it to its knees. Those problems include exceptionally high violent crime and murder rates, the city’s increasing homeless numbers, lack of mental health care programs and little economic development.
It is District 6 that has suffered the brunt of what plagues the city the most with the highest crime rates in the city, including property crime, violent crime and drug trafficking, distressed minority communities, the proliferation of the homeless and service providers and little or no economic development.
District 6 can no longer afford a city councilor who makes promises and offers only eternal hope for better times, better results and who is indebted to Mayor Tim Keller and who wants to make a living off of the taxpayer for herself and her nonprofit. Eight years of poor representation by the current city councilor has been more than enough.
What is needed is a City Councilor who is independent, actually knows what they are doing, who will make the hard decisions without an eye on their next election, not make decisions only to placate their base and please only those who voted for them and who will not just do what Mayor Tim Keller wants them to do and who will just rubber stamp what Mayor Tim Keller wants. Hoehn represents now the type of leadership needed by District 6.
District 6 is entitled to a City Councilor who is ethical, who is above reproach, who knows how to manage finances both privately and in their private business dealings, who actually knows the problems of the District by actually living in the District for more than a few years, something that cannot be said of Nichole Rogers.
Given what has been reveal about Nichole Rogers and what is at stake, voters of District 6 should have no reservations voting for Jeff Hoehn for City Council.
The link to a related blog article is here:
ABQ City Council District 6 Runoff Scheduled December 12; Early Voting starts November 21; Nichole Rogers “Failing Forward” Candidacy; Endorsements By Other Candidates Announced; Voter Turn Out Will Be Biggest Challenge For Two Candidates