Santa Fe mayor says he was ‘misled’ on location of de Vargas statue | Local News

Santa Fe Mayor Alan Webber said Tuesday he has met with the Caballeros de Vargas organization to discuss how to address a misplaced statue of conquistador Don Diego de Vargas that the nonprofit donated to the city.

The organization recently discovered the statue has been stored for months in the courtyard of a Santa Fe home and business, rather than in a secure city facility, following its removal in June from Cathedral Park.

Webber said in a statement issued Tuesday he had been “misled” by a department head about the statue’s whereabouts.

Caballeros de Vargas President Ron Trujillo said his organization had a “productive” hourlong meeting with the mayor and City Councilor Chris Rivera on Tuesday, but there are still issues to resolve. He said he expects further discussions.

“I am doing to have that discussion with my organization on how we move forward with it,” Trujillo said. “… I am happy that this discussion is taking place. I am hoping something good will come out of this.” 

City Councilor Chris Rivera said the meeting involved a couple of different options over what to do with the statue, but no one option particularly “stood out.”

“We came up with a couple different plans, and we will kind of go through them over the next couple of weeks or so,” Rivera said. 

The de Vargas statue was removed from its 13-year home in Cathedral Park in June at Webber’s behest ahead of a rally that came amid a nationwide movement against potentially racist or culturally insensitive monuments and statues. 

At the time, Webber ensured the public the statue would be placed in “safekeeping,” but that was discovered not to be the case Thursday. 

Trujillo confirmed its location and sent an image of the statue, with the straps used to pull it from its base still wrapped around its pedestal.  

Neither the city nor Trujillo would release the address of the statue’s location for fear of vandalism and unwanted attention on the home and business. 

Webber said in the statement issued Tuesday a city department head had told him the piece was being stored in a city facility. 

“I learned yesterday I was misled,” the statement read. “The statue has been safe; however it wasn’t in the City’s hands. This should not have happened. I’m upset at this development.”

Trujillo said he is just happy that he now knows where the statue is stored.

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