One of the most important skills of Santa Fe Ring members was concealing involvement in various deals through use of agents, employees and opaque subsidiaries. Alonzo B. McMillen, the lawyer responsible for legal destruction of the Alameda land grant in the first decades of the last century, took pains to hide his ownership interests through formation of the San Mateo Land Company.*
McMillen's quiet acquisitions during a twelve year period of court proceedings resulted in San Mateo Land Company owning nearly half the grant before the case was over and the court-ordered sale began. San Mateo then bought the remainder of the grant for $15,000. After deduction of McMillen's legal fees and costs, a mere $8000 was left to be divided between shareholders, including San Mateo Land Company that got $3500. The audaciously shady deal meant McMillen got the vast majority of the land and paid himself handsomely to do so. A pitiful remainder was left to be divided between actual grant residents and other shareholders.**
Today there are undoubtedly many legal, political and personal reasons to obscure asset ownership. Most are probably far less grandiose than McMillen's. Legitimate and scam "asset protection" schemes identify New Mexico as a great place to form LLCs (Limited Liability Corporations) in order to "be invisible" and "keep people from finding out where you live." This site notes you don't even have to come to New Mexico to file.
This likely explains the great number of incorporation filings listed in the Albuquerque Journal business section that might lead one to think small businesses are booming. Obscured land deal ownership might also explain New Mexico's continued land use, water and environmental policy void where responsible governing should be.
*This juicy history is set forth by Kristopher N. Houghton in, "The Blighted History of the Alameda Land Grant" Fall 2008 Volume 48 Number 4 - Natural Resources Journal. UNM School of Law.
**McMillen filed the partition case in 1906 and formed the San Mateo Land Company in 1907. Bernalillo County filed against the Alameda grant for non-payment of 1908 property taxes. Author Houghton wonders if payment was made especially difficult in those years by the internal disputes the partition case caused between community members. One can also wonder about McMillen's choice of saints. San Mateo, AKA Saint Matthew, is the patron saint of tax collectors and accountants.