When Gov. Susana Martinez took office, she fired the governor’s mansion chefs, saying they were a symbol of the excesses of her predecessor, Bill Richardson. But with the revelation that the governor spent more than $100,000 on kitchen and other mansion renovations — including a $2,700 built-in coffee maker — critics are taking her to task.
Administration officials on Tuesday cried foul, saying the renovations were in the kitchen and other areas of the public section of the mansion, not the more modest private quarters where the governor and her husband normally dine. The kitchen used for catered functions was in disrepair and potentially unsafe, officials from the General Services Department confirmed.
The upgrades to the kitchen, first reported this week by KRQE-TV, included $16,994 for new granite countertops, $10,617 for a granite slab, new flooring and glass tiles, and $9,996 to restore kitchen cabinets. Before that renovation project, which took place last summer, the state spent $9,479 for a new kitchen stove, Deputy General Services Secretary Mike Unthank said.
The state Democratic Party — which endured years of Republicans, including Martinez, lambasting Richardson for his mansion chefs, buying a state jet and other extravagances — wasted little time in attacking Martinez for the mansion renovation.
“Sadly, Susana’s stinginess apparently only applies to matters like education for our kids. When it comes to bankrolling her highfalutin’ Santa Fe lifestyle, Susana, it seems, can’t resist dropping some taxpayer coin on the finer things in life,” said a news release on Tuesday.