Using the same language and legal argument as that advanced by members of a group who sued Edgewood’s governing body, a new lawsuit seeks to remove Councilor Sherry Abraham from office, alleging fraud and conspiracy.
It’s the latest in a heap of lawsuits involving the embattled town’s governing body.
Edgewood attorney Joseph CampBell is the plaintiff in the suit, which was filed Sept. 17 in district court. Defendants in the case are Sherry Abraham, in her individual and representative capacity, her husband Louis H. Abraham, Thomas McGill, and the town of Edgewood.
CampBell filed a Complaint for quo warranto, injunctive relief, writ of mandamus, fraud and conspiracy—using the same language and legal framework as a lawsuit brought by McGill, Jerry Powers (currently running for a position on the Edgewood commission), and the late Howard Calkins, formerly Edgewood’s mayor.
That lawsuit resulted in the removal of Mayor John Bassett in a tangled legal snarl that included another lawsuit in which Sherry Abraham and Councilor Audrey Jaramillo, who is also running for a position on the commission, as is Bassett.
Those suits have been combined into a single case that is currently pending before the state Supreme Court.
CampBell’s lawsuit alleges that Sherry and Louis Abraham have been residents of Albuquerque since 2019. The Complaint says that the Abrahams sold their Edgewood home in 2019, after which “Sherry Abraham lived in her RV at various locations in Edgewood, New Mexico.”
CampBell’s Complaint goes on to say that when it “became public” that the Abrahams lived in Albuquerque, that they entered into a real estate contract with Thomas McGill for purchase of a vacant lot in Santa Fe County “to allow Sherry Abraham to attempt to claim an Edgewood residence.”
The Complaint says that “the terms of the real estate contract between Thomas McGill and the Abrahams is for payment of $100.00 per month with zero (0%) interest,” adding, “This contract is well below the normal real estate contracts for property in Edgewood and Santa Fe County.”
The Independent obtained a copy of that real estate agreement, signed Aug. 7, 2020 by Sherry and Louis Abraham, and Thomas McGill. The property is one acre, off Edgewood 7 south of Route 66.
That real estate contract specifies a selling price of $18,175, with a $1,000 down payment and monthly payments of $100, without interest. It also specifies that the buyer pay $1 to cover costs, expenses and fees associated with the purchase, and $1 to guarantee the seller’s interest until such time as insurance is purchased for the property.
CampBell’s Complaint says that after execution of the real estate contract between McGill and the Abrahams, “on October 27, 2020, Sherry Abraham, acting as an Edgewood Town Councilor, filed an Emergency Motion to Intervene in the McGill lawsuit (D-101-CV-2020-00328).”
CampBell’s lawsuit seeks to remove Sherry Abraham from office: “Since Sherry Abraham no longer physically resides in the Town of Edgewood, and has not since at least December of 2019, she should no longer be allowed to be on the Edgewood Town Council.” It continues, “Additionally, a pro forma appearance exists that Sherry Abraham has used her position on the Edgewood Town Council to obtain a more favorable real estate contract for the purchase of property from Thomas McGill apparently in exchange for intervention in the Thomas McGill lawsuit against Mayor Bassett and the Town of Edgewood.”
CampBell asked the court to “determine as a matter of law that Defendant Sherry Abraham has forfeited her office as Edgewood Town Councilor, that all votes cast by Sherry Abraham since January 1, 2020 are invalid as a matter of law…”
The lawsuit says Edgewood’s town council “should have disqualified and/or removed Defendant Sherry Abraham from her position as Town Councilor when they determined that she was no longer a resident of the Town of Edgewood,” asking the Court for a writ of mandamus to compel the town council to do so, alleging fraud and conspiracy on the part of the Abrahams and McGill.
On Sept. 21, Sherry Abraham submitted an application for development review to the town, with plans for building a home on the property in question.
That property is shown on the Santa Fe County Assessor’s website as owned by McGill.
The development review application says that the Abrahams will build a small home, doing much of the work themselves, listing Sherry Abraham as “Homeowner” and Sherry and Louis Abraham as “Landowner.”
The town of Edgewood said the address they have on file for Sherry Abraham is an Edgewood post office box.
State law says that a person’s residence “is that place in which his habitation is fixed, and to which, whenever he is absent, he has the intention to return.”
It also says that “the place where a person’s family resides is presumed to be his place of residence,” and “there can only be one residence.”