Public Administration Minister Irma Sandoval, a former academic, and her husband own properties worth as much as 60 million pesos (US $2.65 million), claims a well-known Mexican journalist.
But Sandoval has denied that her properties are worth as much as claimed and asserted that all of her wealth is the result of hard work and assistance from family members.
In his YouTube program Loret, journalist Carlos Loret de Mola said the federal cabinet minister and her husband John Ackerman, a professor and researcher at the National Autonomous University (UNAM), own five properties in Mexico City and a house worth 22 million pesos in the tourist town of Tepoztlán, Morelos.
He said that Sandoval and Ackerman purchased five homes in a period of just nine years while they were both working as academics at UNAM. Loret said that the couple bought the properties outright without taking out any mortgages, and suggested that it was unusual that they were able to afford them on their academics’ salaries.
The sixth home is located in the Mexico City neighborhood of Pedregal de Santo Domingo, Loret said, claiming that the land it sits on was gifted to Sandoval by the Mexico City government in 2007. That property is now worth 6 million pesos, he said.
Foreign Minister Marcelo Ebrard was Mexico City mayor when Sandoval was allegedly gifted the land.
The estimated total value of Sandoval’s six properties, some 60 million pesos, is about six times higher than the value she disclosed on her public declaration of assets. However, the value of the property in Pedregal de Santo Domingo is not included in the declaration.
In a Twitter post on Friday, Sandoval said she wouldn’t allow “the media hitmen” to stain her name nor that of her family.
“This fight is serious and until the end,” she wrote above a link to a statement issued by the Public Administration Ministry (SFP).
“The minister Irma Eréndira Sandoval Ballesteros has never received any real estate as a gift or donation from a public official or politician, neither during nor before taking up her current responsibility,” the statement said.
“Her wealth is the result of both her professional work and that of her husband as well as assets and resources they have received in inheritance and donations from relatives,” the SFP said.
The statement said that “the supposed current values” of Sandoval’s properties that have been reported by the press are “false and the product of mere speculation.”
“Public servants are obliged to report the purchase value of their properties, … without the need to declare a speculative commercial value.”
The ministry said that Sandoval’s childhood home in Santo Domingo was registered in her name in 2007 after the death of her father because she is the eldest of three children.
Considering that Sandoval is a member of the federal government’s security cabinet, publishing her address and personal details of both the minister and her husband is a “serious violation of privacy” that places their safety at risk, the SFP said.
“The Ministry of Public Administration condemns the use … of public information with the aim of trying to harm the reputation of someone like Dr. Sandoval Ballesteros, who has always been shown to be completely upright and honest in her public and private conduct.”