Fired New Mexico Archaeological Official Sues Governor, Others

May 23, 2023

The former director of the New Mexico Office of Archaeological Studies is suing state officials, saying his race and gender played a role in his firing.

Eric Blinman filed a lawsuit in federal court late last week against Gov. Michelle Lujan Grisham, state Cultural Affairs Secretary Debra Garcia y Griego, and several others, the Santa Fe New Mexican reported.

In the suit, Blinman alleges Garcia y Griego wrongfully terminated him because he was an older white man who complained about a lack of resources to do his job.

He also claims his firing was retaliation because he told a human resources director, who is a defendant, in confidence about his suspicions of improper conduct by Garcia y Griego.

He is asking for an unspecified sum for wrongful termination and intentional infliction of emotional distress, as well as punitive damages.

Daniel Zillmann, a Department of Cultural Affairs spokesperson, called the allegations “untrue and unfounded.” There was “sound and carefully considered reasoning behind the termination of Dr. Blinman.”

A representative for the office of Lujan Grisham, a Democrat, did not respond to a message seeking comment night.