State auditor calls for Patrick Lyons resignation at PRC

State Auditor Hector Balderas today called for the resignation of Public Regulations Commission chairman and former Clovis resident Patrick Lyons, accusing the chairman of using equipment for unauthorized purposes.

The audit is part of continuing probe of alleged corruption within the PRC.

Calls to Lyons were not immediately returned.

Specifically, Balderas said auditors found that Lyons drove a truck used by the PRC to and from his private ranch for 65 days.

Other findings of the audit:

• Two PRC commissioners took state vehicles out of state without proper authorization.

• Dozens of PRC employees have made more than $28,000 total purchases of premium gas since 2009 in violation of state regulations.

Balderas said Lyons’ abuse of taxpayer resources and failure to show leadership is an obstacle to broad reforms proposed for the PRC, including those being proposed at the Legislature.

Balderas said even after Lyons was informed of a former commissioner’s abuse of the PRC email system for possible drug trafficking, “Chairman Lyons continued to abuse taxpayer resources by driving a truck for a federal pipeline safety program back and forth to his private ranch.”

Balderas said auditors received tips that indicate “Commission employees are scared to come forward with information they may have. The tone of intimidation trickles down from the top.

“Meaningful reform can occur when the Commission’s leadership is not complicit in the misuse of taxpayers dollars,” said Balderas. “Chairman Lyons is part of the problem, and he should reimburse the taxpayers and resign his position.”

Balderas said the audit would be turned over to the proper federal and agencies for possible further action.