State Sen. Tony Mendoza Takes Paid Leave of Absence Amid Investigation Into Misconduct Accusations

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Faced with the threat of an embarrassing Senate vote to suspend him, state Sen. Tony Mendoza (D-Artesia) agreed Wednesday to take a one-month paid leave of absence.

Sen. Tony Mendoza (D-Artesia) is seen in a photo posted alongside his biography on his website.

Mendoza said he made the decision after a four-hour closed session with Senate Democrats who were considering a rare vote of suspension because of concern over allegations that he harassed three former aides.

“I thought that to accommodate that and to take away any appearance of impropriety or any appearance of giving any special influence, I have decided I will take a leave of absence for this month to allow the investigation to move forward,” he said, adding he will return Feb. 1 or when the investigation is completed, whichever comes first.

Mendoza said some colleagues felt a leave would allow the investigation to advance without the perception of interference.

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