Classic Old West Tale: Land Commissioner Powell and the Dixon Apple Orchard

Yesterday the Aubrey Dunn campaign released a hard-hitting video calling attention to the Dixon Apple Orchard incident and Land Commissioner Ray Powell’s part in the shut down of the Dixon family apple orchard run by Jim and Becky Mullane which was in the family for 70 years!

I watched the Dunn commercial, investigated the Orchard and Powell’s involvement and it is clear that Powell failed to do his job and manage the land entrusted to his care.  Because the land was neglected by the Land Commissioner’s office an entire family business that has meant something to thousands of New Mexicans was ruined.  And while Powell claims the Mullane family left and moved to Wisconsin to the truth is, they’re working on a dairy farm in Wisconsin and still dream of having an apple farm again.

Watch Aubrey Dunn’s new video here:

Due to careless management of land in the first place, brush grew up, which led to woodland fire, then rains washed away the burned trees, eventually leading to complete devastation of a family farm and source of livelihood!

In June 2011, the Los Conchas fire swept down the mountain, through the orchard and the surrounding area of the land the Mullane family leased.  The family was eventually forced to evacuate. When the fire ended, they began planning for floods from summer monsoons. Later in the summer devastatingly severe floods swept through the canyon.  And the orchard was destroyed.

When Powell finally responded and visited the property, after he was prompted by Mullane’s messages, he brought TV cameras with him. After the flood destroyed the irrigation system, he came again with the media, and didn’t seem to be there to help the Mullane’s at all.  In a meeting with the Mullanes he wasn’t interested in helping them and deal with the land issues, he told them to get an attorney!

Facing a need to completely rebuild, the orchard owners searched for someone to take over the lease of the large piece of land where the orchard was (on a small parcel), but found opposition from the state.


“Former state District Court Judge James A. Hall,” The Albuquerque Journal reported, “Found in his written decision that the reason Powell gave for rejecting the lease transfer – that San Felipe Pueblo didn’t meet the lease’s requirement for an operator with 20 years of experience operating an apple orchard – was just a rationalization for turning down the lease assignment.”

This is really the classic “old west” story of a government leader who cares more about furthering his own special interests and looking good in public opinion than caring for his constituents and responsibly handling the land entrusted to his care!  New Mexicans don’t need this kind of person handling our lands!

Responsible leader who will properly manage our public lands?!  That would NOT be Ray Powell!

We need a real leader as land commissioner who will work in the best interests of the people, preserving New Mexico lands and working with those closest to the land!

Our public lands also produce revenue through business leases and grazing rights that benefit our public schools. When those leases are doubled or tripled, by one man’s arbitrary decision, the cost can outweigh the business’ revenue potential. When those public land resources are destroyed by fire or flood– such as the devastation of the Las Conchas fire near Cochiti Lake or the Little Bear fire that clogged Bonita Lake with sediment and ruined Alamogordo’s supply of drinking water, or given over to the federal government, like the 500,000 acres of the Organ Mountains– all New Mexicans lose… especially our children.

– Aubrey Dunn

Interested in learning more about Aubrey Dunn?  Check out his website here and “Like” his Facebook page!

With Aubrey Dunn, we’ll see Land Management Dunn RIGHT!

2 thoughts on “Classic Old West Tale: Land Commissioner Powell and the Dixon Apple Orchard

  1. Mr. Dunn fails to mention that the Mullanes could not simply start over after the fire for a simple reason: They had purchased no business insurance!!!!!!!!! This was a colossal mistake.


  2. The Mullane family dropped their business insurance when Pat Lyons traded great land at Mesa del Sol to UNM for this land (sweetheart deal)….
    The Mullane family did not pay for water for their orchard, and did not pay property tax to the county for their trees (yet they wanted to be compensated for the loss of the trees as if they were a business item, which they never paid for)…
    The Mullane family did not pay for property taxes on their house, as it was on state land…
    Becky Mullane had a “job” at the University of New Mexico, which she never went to yet got a salary and health insurance…

    #TCOT? Ha! Dunn and your site support the Mullane family, who do NOT believe in personal responsibility.
    Why did they think they were special enough to NOT pay for business insurance, taxes, or water when REAL business owners have to? Because they inherited an orchard that her grandfather never owned in the first place?

    How is Becky Mullane different than the welfare queens that conservatives rail against? She never paid what she was supposed to pay for, got everything for free, and when the s**t hit the fan, she cried until they paid her $2 million to go away? How much money did her baseless lawsuit cost taxpayers? If she was on private land (and not taking advantage of state land) and she did not have insurance, would anyone have come to her rescue? Nope. Especially a BANKER like Aubrey Dunn. How many people did he foreclose on during the recession his industry caused? Ask him about the employee he fired because she missed time at work due to surgery…


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