By Robin Fornoff
CMI PROJECTS EDITOR
Retired Clovis Police Chief Raymond Mondragon says he can be a good municipal judge because of his experience as a law enforcer and as a victim.
Mondragon, running against incumbent Jan Garrett in Tuesday’s municipal election, was beaten and robbed while on a business trip for Plateau almost four years ago at the MCM Elegante Hotel in Albuquerque. He spoke publicly about it for the first time Wednesday at the request of the Clovis News Journal.
According to an arrest affidavit filed by police in Albuquerque Metro Court, three men admitted hatching a plan to blackmail Mondragon, threatening to ruin his career by coming forward with sexually suggestive text messages they said Mondragon sent one of them.
Mondragon insisted there was never any sexting or inappropriate behavior on his part.
Mon-dragon told an Albuquer-que detective he met the three men in the lounge of his hotel. He told police he opened a tab at the bar on his company credit card, buying them several rounds of drinks.
Mondragon’s account is that he met two of the three men at a seminar he was attending. He stopped in at the bar of his hotel. He saw them at the bar and he joined them for some friendly rounds of drinks, he said, paid for with his Plateau credit card. Mondragon said it was a legitimate business expense since they were talking shop and he had them write their names down on a receipt, a copy of which he produced — $130.21 including drinks and a turkey sandwich.
Mondragon said he had two, maybe three drinks and left for his room.
Soon after, one of the men from the bar knocked on his door and asked to use the bathroom.
“I let him in,” Mondragon said. “He went in, used the bathroom … I hear a second knock. I looked, saw that it was his friend. I opened the door and as I opened the door, I was hit.”
Mondragon said the men repeatedly kicked him.
“There was a cord, an electrical cord tied around my neck,” Mondragon said.
Mondragon said the two men went through his wallet, discovering his retired police chief card. They fled at that point, Mondragon said.
Mondragon said although he legitimately used his company credit card, he offered to reimburse Plateau and to resign. Plateau accepted both offers, he said.
“I was a victim of a violent crime,” Mondragon said. “Some people want to find, people out there want to find, oh my gosh, there’s more to this than meets the eye. There’s not.
“I know I could be a good judge. Because … I’ve been a police officer who’s prosecuted defendants but through my eyes, I know I could be a good judge because I’ve been a victim as well and I will understand what they would go through.”
All three men were convicted and served prison time for their actions, records show.