Yet another lawsuit was filed against the town of Edgewood this week, this time by a former member of the town’s planning and zoning commission, alleging violation of the Inspection of Public Records Act.
Cheryl Huppertz filed a lawsuit in district court Sept. 28, seeking a writ of mandamus to compel Edgewood to produce public records she has requested, according to court documents.
In her lawsuit, filed by Albuquerque attorney Thomas R. Grover, Huppertz says she submitted two written IPRA requests to the town of Edgewood, seeking copies of communications between town councilors Audrey Jaramillo and Sherry Abraham using personal email accounts to Adrian Terry, Jerry Powers and Tom McGill.
According to the lawsuit, Edgewood’s town clerk at the time, Juan Torres, responded to Huppertz that “he asked Councilor Audrey Jaramillo for responsive documents and her response to him was that she ‘uses her Town of Edgewood e-mail to conduct business’ and therefore had no records responsive to the IPRA request.”
The lawsuit says Torres sent Huppertz a similar response from Abraham, saying she had “no responsive documents that are relevant to [the] request.”
The lawsuit goes on to say that Abraham and Jaramillo “regularly use the above identified emails to conduct Town of Edgewood business,” then providing examples attached as exhibits to the petition.
Those exhibits show a Nov. 23, 2020 email from Abraham’s personal account to Juan Torres; that email was copied to Jaramillo’s town and personal emails—forwarding an email from Terry that was sent to the town and personal emails of both her and Abraham.
Another exhibit is an email from Jaramillo’s personal email on Nov. 21, 2019, to then-mayor John Bassett and two town employees about property taxes in Edgewood.
Another exhibit shows an email from Abraham’s personal account Aug. 9, 2018 to the deputy town clerk about the town sewer.
The lawsuit seeks to compel the town to produce the documents in Huppertz’ IPRA request or to direct Abraham and Jaramillo to provide login information to a Special Master “so that responsive records may be obtained,” further petitioning the court to compel action by Edgewood within 15 days.
Huppertz was a member of Edgewood’s planning and zoning commission. Her reappointment by Bassett was found to be in violation of the town’s nepotism ordinance, after which she resigned.
Huppertz and Bassett are cousins.