New Mexico Gov. Susana Martinez (R) was forced to apologize on Friday after audio surfaced of her admonishing police officers who tried to disband a hotel party she was attending.
Three audio recordings obtained by several local media outlets feature staff at the El Dorado Hotel in Santa Fe, New Mexico, calling police in the early hours of Dec. 13 to ask them to kick noisy people off the hotel premises after complaints from other hotel guests.
“We have guests that have been partying in their room,” Shelly Garcia at the El Dorado front desk told the Santa Fe police dispatcher. “They’ve been warned already and they are still not quieting down.”
Garcia told police that the rowdy guests had been throwing bottles off their hotel room balcony.
The hotel staff didn't know at the time that they were calling the cops on the governor, but they would soon find out.
Martinez came to the front desk after three police officers showed up at the hotel.
A slurry-sounding Martinez can be heard on the second recording repeatedly pestering Garcia to tell her who had complained -- or at least say what room they were in.
“Oh you can tell the police, but they won’t tell you -- you won’t tell me?” Martinez said. “I’ll get it from the cops.”
Martinez then gets on the phone with the police dispatcher, who also refuses to identify the people who complained.
Listen to all three audio clips in order below, courtesy of the New Mexico Political Report.
The third, and funniest recording, has Martinez speaking to an officer on the phone, incredulous that cops had been sent to the hotel. It's unclear at that point whether she is back in her room.
“So we’re sitting in there, I’m the governor of the state of New Mexico, and we’re in there with my sister, who’s disabled, along with about six other people who are having pizza,” Martinez said.
Told by the cop that there were reports of partying guests throwing bottles off the balcony, Martinez gave this creative denial:
“I’m sorry. There’s no one on the balcony and there’s no one throwing bottles off the balcony,” she said. “And if there were, it was about six hours ago.”
Then, still seemingly on the phone, Martinez turns to Sgt. Anthony Tapia, one of the officers at the hotel.
“We are eating pizza, and drinking Cokes, and whoever was throwing bottles is not there, hasn’t been there for like six hours,” she tells the sergeant.
It sounds as if Tapia then agrees to leave the hotel.
Santa Fe police confirmed to the New Mexico Political Report that police spoke to Martinez, but did not enter the room. Nor did officers file a report on the incident, because no arrests were made.
Martinez spokesman Chris Sanchez provided a statement to KRQE News 13, a CBS TV affiliate in Albuquerque, saying that Martinez “regrets the way this situation was handled by her and her staff and will further address that later today.”
Sanchez said in the statement that Martinez had been attending her annual staff party in the El Dorado’s ballroom. She then went up to a staff member’s hotel room.
“Unbeknownst to the Governor, there had been complaints about noise and someone throwing what turned out to be snowballs from the balcony of that room earlier in the night while the governor was in the ballroom,” Sanchez said. “While the Governor was in the hotel room, she was informed a complaint had been recently made, and was also made aware of the earlier complaints. At that time, the other guests left and the Governor went downstairs to the front desk to find out more information about the complaints and assure the hotel staff that those who had caused those issues had long ago left, and there was no longer a problem.”
Sanchez also said Martinez “took a call from the Santa Fe police” while at the front desk, even though it's clear from the audio recordings that she insisted on speaking to the police -- not the other way around.
Sanchez did not immediately respond to a request to clarify the discrepancy.
The incident could prove to be a political liability for Martinez, a rising star in the Republican Party who was elected head of the Republican Governors Association in November. She has been talked about as a possible Republican vice presidential candidate.
ProgressNow New Mexico sent out a press release advertising the incident to reporters on Friday afternoon.
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