Land Office Probe

New Mexico – Democratic State Auditor Hector Balderas says he's concerned the State Land Office's lack of internal controls for land sales, exchanges and other transactions has cost New Mexico millions of dollars worth of state trust land.

Balderas released the results of a two-year review of the State Land Office on Monday.

The agency immediately fired back, dismissing Balderas' claims and defending Republican Land Commissioner Patrick Lyon's record of earning more money for public schools and other beneficiaries in the last eight years than any previous commissioner.

The audit looked at a sample of more than 100 trust land transactions between January 2002 and March 2010.

Balderas says numerous troubling financial, operational and contractual practices were uncovered and that reform is needed.

Copyright 2010 The Associated Press.