Developer Buys Land in McKinley County, Then With Help of Legislator, Gets State to Build a $30 Million Five Mile Road Through Key Section of His Company’s 26,000 Acres

Stretch of Five Mile of $30 Million State Funded Carbon Coal Road In McKinley County, New Mexico

“If you don’t build it, they won’t come.” – Patty Lundstrom, State Representative and Economic Development Corporation Director, regarding public funded road.

However, the Developer, a major contributor to Lundstrom’s campaign committees, bought the land years before the state built Carbon Coal Road.

State Representative Patty Lundstrom of Gallup, New Mexico, has focused on economic development for the greater Gallup area for a long time.

Lundstrom has been a member of the New Mexico House of Representatives for more than two decades, and several of those years she served as the powerful Chairwoman of the House Appropriations and Finance Committee.

She has also been compensated for her work, averaging more than $100,000 a year for the past several years, most, if not all of her “day job” pay coming through government grants to the Greater Gallup Economic Development Corporation (GGEDC).

(There are no public records for salary of Lundstrom’s earlier years at the GGEDC.)

For more than ten years, the GGEDC has been mostly financed by government grants.

In an article published on April 22, 2024, entitled, “New Mexico Lawmaker Bringing Home the Bacon … But for Whom?” The Candle reported on the more than $4.5 million government grants received by the economic development corporation Lundstrom help create back in 2012-2013, and has served as its executive director since its founding.

International Developer’s Company Main Beneficiary of $30 Million State Funded Road

Last month, The Candle interviewed Lundstrom regarding economic development projects, including what is referred to at the New Mexico Department of Transportation as the construction of Carbon Coal Road.

Gallup Land Partners is a company owned by Robert Roche, a very wealthy investor in real estate and development around the world, including major project dealings in China.

Roche’s biography on the Roche Enterprises website, includes the following:

“Robert Roche is an international entrepreneur, civic leader, and philanthropist. He has launched, managed, and invested in more than 100 successful global businesses across the U.S. and Asia in a variety of sectors.”

In October 2019, Roche wrote in a company media release, “The state of New Mexico is open for business!  The country’s 47th state has always offered affordable land, a talented workforce, a competitive cost of living, reasonable tax rates, and rich renewable energy resources – that’s why I founded businesses here.”

According to Martin O’Malley, the General Manager of Gallup Land Partners, LLC,“Gallup Land Partners (GLP) purchased 26,000 acres of property in McKinley County, New Mexico, in 2013.”

The property that Carbon Coal Road sits on was owned by Gallup Land Partners.

According to Lundstrom’s GGEDC, Gallup Land Partners donated “…the 250-foot wide right of way to pave Carbon Coal Road between US Hwy 491 and Gallup Energy Logistics Park…”

Several individuals familiar with land development, and questioned by The Candle, acknowledged that most land developers would be more than pleased to deed over property for the state to build a major access road which provided frontage on both sides to the rest of their adjacent land holdings.

The state of New Mexico then spent at least $30 million on the design and building the now four-lane, five miles of Carbon Coal Road.

Almost all the land on each side of the new Carbon Coal public road is owned by Gallup Land Partners – a highly beneficial improvement for the development of the 26,000 acres owned by the company.

The Candle contacted Representative Lundstrom, who spoke on the phone in two interviews and also responded to questions emailed to her about her involvement in economic development, including the $30 million improvements made to Carbon Coal Road.

In explaining the $30 million participation to build Carbon Coal Road, Representative Lundstrom suggested it was important for the economic development that she and others have been working on for years.

“It’s not a “build it and they will come” mentality, but it’s an understanding that “if you don’t build it, they won’t come,” was part of State Representative Patty Lundstrom’s emailed answer to several questions The Candle asked her regarding the efforts she made to help get the state to spend $30 million on building out a four-lane, five mile road that benefits mostly Gallup Land Partners.

(The entire emailed response is published at the end of this article.)

The Candle will report in the next article about the considerable financial support Lundstrom’s campaign committees received from Gallup Land Partners.

Below is a copy of The Candle’s email containing questions to Representative Lundstrom and her responses.