New Mexico News
Walmart Market purchases Palm Side's liquor license
ALAMOGORDO– City Commission held a public hearing during their bi-monthly meeting to discuss approving the sale of Palm Side's liquor license to the Walmart Neighborhood Market. City Clerk Nancy Jacobs started the discussion with her report that all the paperwork was in and Walmart had been given the preliminary approval from the Alcohol and Gaming Division of the State of New Mexico. "I'm just a little concerned that we're transferring a local liquor license to a big company and for some reason that company decides not to stay here, we could possibly lose that liquor license and there's only so many available locally in the state," said Mayor Pro-TemAl Hernandez. "We still have quite a few liquor licenses here... and I've seen a lot of liquor licenses head up north. Just a small concern and I wanted to voice that.“ Representing Walmart attorney Mark Rhodes took to the podium to address Hernandez's concerns. "I've been doing liquor licensing work in New Mexico for about 30 years," Rhodes said. "I actually litigated tons of cases early on to clarify the law and your concern is a normal concern but I'll tell you why it's not necessarily something you have to worry about.“ Rhodes explained that originally licenses were population based and there was only two types of licenses – dispenser license and retailers. "If you were a bar, you would get a dispenser and if you were a grocery story, you'd get a retailer," he said. "There's only 78 retailers in the state, they're so far priced out of the market that they don't really affect Alamogordo at all. They're barely capable of being afforded in Santa Fe.“ Rhodes said when the original dispenser licenses moved north, they lost package sale privileges. "That doesn't sound that alarming but what happened was you had a complete change in the buyers," he said. "You went from mom and pop kind of stores that had a package to go with their bar to the box stores – CVS, Walgreens, Walmart, PicQuik – the only license they can buy have to have a package component. Essentially, they have to be part of the original licenses issued at one per 2,000 in 1982.“ Rhodes said in the 1990’s there was a period of time where all the corporate restaurants moving into the state needed those licenses and were buying them out of small towns for $800,000. Rhodes said a dispenser license with package privileges in Alamogordo is worth $600,000 and the chances that it will stay in Alamogordo are overwhelming. "The short answer's highly unlikely Walmart will close" Rhodes said. "Second if they were to close, the chances are overwhelming that you would have one of the other buyer class here in southern New Mexico – CVS, Walmart, PicQuik — would want that package license. They don't move anymore.“ Hernandez moved the approval of transferring the liquor license, it was seconded by Commissioner Erica Martin and passed 7-0. The Daily News attempted to contact the owner of Palm Side seeking comment for this story but telephone calls were never returned.
Chairman of Downtown Action Team says BID is no longer viable
ALBUQUERQUE- The BID structure and its management have come under fire in recent years. Lawsuits brought by hotelier and Downtown property owner Jim Long have been pending for years. Long’s contention has been that the BID is not fair and equitable, and he has said DAT’s contract should be terminated with new management to oversee it. “Recently a judge gave a ruling on a particular issue in one of the three legal cases brought by the property owner and decided that the standards established by the city for the process of renewing the BID back in 2010 were invalid,” Farr said. “Although the city has asked the judge to reconsider this decision, as a result ... the city legal department has indicated that the city will not be sending out BID assessment invoices for 2015.” The city essentially acts as the collection agency for BID assessment fees, which help to fund DAT.
Mr. Rhodes led the challenge to set aside an invalid Business Improvement District (“BID”)
"We used Mark to help us unravel what we considered to be an inequitable assessment to support a Business Improvement District ("BID").  Mark did a superb job of handling a highly complex legal case and ultimately  prevailed in the litigation.   I greatly appreciate the aggressive but professional manner that Mark and his team employed throughout the case.   I highly recommend Mark and his team. "
Heritage Hotels & Resorts, Inc.
Gallery Demands Statue Be Returned to Mexican Church
April 26, 2017.  The attorney for a Santa Fe, NM gallery that handed over a statue said to have been stolen in 2007 from the Santa Monica Church in the state of Hidalgo in Mexico has demanded that US authorities guarantee that it be returned to the church. The Peyton Wright Gallery handed the statue of Santa Rosa de Lima over to Homeland Security before receiving a search warrant and is not accused of any wrongdoing. The statue had been consigned to it by the former owner of an art storage business, where it had been abandoned years previously. Mark Rhodes, the gallery’s attorney, said that in his history of representing galleries, he has never been able to get any assurance from federal authorities that stolen items would actually be returned to their original owners. He felt that US citizens would be more willing to return items deemed stolen if there was an agreement guaranteeing to “return the art to where it came from.” When contacted by the New Mexican newspaper, Homeland Security representative Leticia Zamarripa said only that the Government of Mexico should be contacted about its processes for returns.

In the past, others have also objected to a process that burdens US citizens, including those who give up items acquired in good faith, without recompense of any kind, without providing any assurance that the returned items actually go back to the institutions and communities that lost them. On the other side of the world from Santa Fe, New Mexico, major concerns were raised regarding the return of sacred items stolen from temples in Tamil Nadu Province, India. Although the US and Australian governments have returned items to government officials in New Delhi, not a single stolen sculpture has been returned to the rural communities that lost them, and only rarely are items even placed on exhibition in Indian museums. Most remain hidden, even in their home country.
Image: Santa Rosa de Lima sculpture.
“I have been working with Mark Rhodes on a difficult case for quite awhile. Mark has done a great job of defending us and creatively looking for alternate solutions. The fact that Mark knows construction personally has been very helpful as well. I would recommend Mark and his firm to anyone with a construction-based issue that needs to be resolved.”
-Cheddar's Casual Cafe, LLC