Scandal increases: Investigation discovers conflict with Supervisors’ $347 million new court tower



Taxpayers should be grateful to Channel 15 for investigating the $347 million state of the art Taj Mahal court tower boondoggle the Maricopa County Board of Supervisors insists on building during the recession, as they lay off employees and cut other agencies budgets – including law enforcement – by 15%. This blog has speculated that the contractors who won the bids to build the tower contributed to the Supervisors’ election campaigns, and so that is the reason the Supervisors are refusing to cut even one cent from the cost of the state of the art tower which will feature marble, travertine, porcelain and wood floors. Some excerpts -

It’s the largest construction project in Maricopa County history, but the new-state-of- the-art court tower is shrouded in secrecy.

The $347 million dollar taxpayer-funded project is already under criminal investigation by the Maricopa County Sheriff’s Office.

“This is a flagrant abuse of public trust,” said Clint Bolick, a former attorney with the United States Department of Justice who now works for the Goldwater Institute.

Documents obtained exclusively by the ABC15 Investigators reveal attorney Thomas K. Irvine and his firm are representing both the Maricopa County Board of Supervisors, who are funding the project, and the Maricopa County Superior Court, that will occupy the building.

“It is a blatant conflict of interest, one of the first kinds of conflicts you learn about in law school,” Bolick said.  “It’s a matter of the fox guarding the hen house.”

Over the last three years, the Maricopa County Superior Court has paid Irvine and his law firm more than $800,000.

For what? The taxpayer would have no idea, because the Superior Court is refusing to say.

Additionally, ABC15 has learned Irvine’s contract with the courts was not put out for public bid.

Meanwhile, the county is still refusing ABC15 and the taxpayers access to thousands of records regarding the court tower project that are being kept behind a locked door on the third floor of the county administration building in downtown Phoenix. ABC15 first requested access to those records five months ago.


Comments

  1. Let’s see how this puzzle goes together. The Board of Stupidvisors (BOS) has the sheriff investigate Sandra Dowling, cuts off her funds and closes the Papas School. The land is later traded to the City of Phoenix for some of the land being used for the Taj Mahal. Don Stapley and the rest of the BOS are under criminal investigation. Stapley has already been indicted. Then the BOS takes away the Treasurer’s computer system so no one can get to the payment records. The Treasurer asks the County Attorney if he is still liable if something goes wrong. The answer is yes. In addition, the action of the BOS was illegal. The Treasurer makes a big stink and sues the BOS so he can fulfill his duty to protect the communities’ assets of roughly $9 billion (yes, that’s a “b”). The BOS takes away his budget. The Sheriff and County Attorney ask for public records and the BOS responds by passing a royal decree banning them from making public records requests. The County Attorney sues them and then, the BOS takes away his civil section and passes another royal decree stating any county official must first get the Board’s permission to sue. The County Attorney is again forced to sue the BOS. The BOS takes away more budget from the Sheriff and County Attorney. The Treasurer asks the Legislature to investigate the $347 million Taj Mahal. Then the Board takes away the Treasurer’s purchasing card and won’t let them even buy basic office supplies like hand sanitizer for the front line cashiers.

    No consideration was given and promises ignored for East Valley residents. The courts will consolidate in the new Taj building leaving empty buildings and no services for us in the East Valley. The Mayor of Mesa rightfully threatens to sue the BOS.

    County employees and their families are being laid off and put out in the street while the BOS itself refuses to make any cuts and takes expensive trips to look at buildings. Millions are spent on lawyers. ABC15 isn’t allowed to see most public records and the one they can see are mostly useless. Wilcox says the building must be built with these expensive high end accoutrements because everyone knows it will fall down without them. Next we find out they paid their favorite attorney over $800,000 for who knows what. Cook County Illinois politicians are amateurs compared to this lot.

    To sum up: the BOS is preventing the Sheriff, County Attorney and Treasurer from doing their Constitutional duties so they can spend $347 million tax dollars, during one of the worst recessions this country has ever experienced,for a Taj Mahal that is not needed or wanted. Families lose their jobs while contracts are given to high priced lawyers. Why? Just so they can get their name on the building before they leave office. Conflict of interest? There is the understatement of the year.

  2. M. Y. Johnson says:

    As long as we are discussing crazy conspiracy theories, here’s one for you – The County Attorney and the Sheriff are facing a reduction in their budgets, and may have to cut back their perks, so they suggest that instead of building a Court House, the BOS use the money to fully fund County Attorney and Sheriff budgets. When the Board refuses, one of them gets arrested and charged with about a million felonies for essentially not filling out some paperwork the way others might like. The rest are warned that they might be “next.” Sounds scary right? Good thing Stapley had an alibi for the night the Lindbergh Baby was taken (he wasn’t born yet) or no-telling what else he would have been charged with.

    So now, in my crazy conspiracy theory, Hos “Big Hoss” Hoskins, who knows as much about finance as my barber knows about brain surgery, is brought in to act as a surrogate attacker of the Board. He is the most useful of idiots because he is already pissed off at the Board because they blocked his new-fangled computer system and his daughter works for MCSO. And, because he is not quite sure himself what it is that a Treasurer is supposed to do, he goes on TV to suggest that somehow the Board is supposed to get his permission before they build a building. (hahaha. the “I’ve been kept in the dark” line on Channel 15 was absolutely precious Hos.

    My conspiracy theory goes on and on, but you get the point. Whatever the true target of Arpaio and Thomas, it is not the Courthouse.

  3. H.I.S. Johnson says:

    Billbo, get over it and while you are at it, buy a copy of the Arizona Constitution. Just because you don’t agree with it doesn’t make it wrong. Also, the Sheriff, County Attorney and Treasurer don’t have a constitutional duty to approve Capital Projects. Christ, the Treasurer doesn’t have a constitutional duty to do dick except pay the bills others authorize. “Joe” “Andrew” and “Hos” can just cut their budgets like everyone else.

Trackbacks

  1. [...] Chewie Shofir over at the Sonoran Alliance blog has a great post on the new Superior Court building.  I strongly encourage you to pop over and read the post.  [...]

  2. [...] lawyer Tom Irvine, who’s made a killing off of the boondoggle Court Tower project, and $175,000 a year board attorney Wade Swanson seem to [...]

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