Front page AZ Republic: AZ Bar disciplinary judge mired in corruption

A m e r i c a n  P o s t – G a z e t t e
Distributed by C O M M O N S E N S E , in Arizona
Wednesday, April 16th,  2014

 

Liberal Arizona Republic finally exposes corruption of AZ Bar disciplinary judge who disbarred Andrew Thomas  
Reporter uncovers cronyism and coverup goes all the way to the top – the AZ Supreme Court! 

Divorce case stirs ethics allegations about judge

Dennis Wagner, The Republic | azcentral.com
http://www.azcentral.com/story/news/politics/2014/04/16/divorce-case-stirs-ethics-allegations-judge/7765749/

This is not a story about a dog or a divorce, but that’s where it begins.
After Mark Dixon and his ex-wife, Carol Johnson, terminated their marriage in late 2009, they got into a custody dispute over Shiloh, an Australian shepherd.
On Dec. 2 of that year, Dixon was pulled over by three plainclothes Pinal County sheriff’s deputies with semiautomatic weapons, according to the incident report and court records.
Dixon alleges he was ordered to surrender the dog or face immediate arrest, so he acquiesced. A civil complaint he filed in federal court against a group of Pinal County deputies and Dixon’s ex-wife says he argued that the disagreement with his wife was a civil matter and that deputies “did knowingly and willingly criminally extort property” by threatening arrest if he did not give up the dog. His lawsuit accused Pinal County officials of conspiracy.
In a court motion, Dixon asserted that his ex-wife, who then worked for a credit union, had assisted Pinal County Superior Court Judge William J. “Bill” O’Neil in obtaining a $300,000 loan prior to the canine-custody dispute.
Dixon, who represented himself during most of the case, speculated that O’Neil, who was not named as a defendant, returned the favor by influencing deputies to seize the dog.
Deputies denied any conspiracy, court records show, and O’Neil also denied any impropriety in an interview with The Arizona Republic. Defense attorneys successfully argued that the lawsuit, which sought $5 million in damages, was legally flawed and failed to show proof.
Thus began a four-year saga of intrigue involving O’Neil, who presides over discipline in the Arizona court system, and Dixon, a 49-year-old construction contractor who acknowledges a 1997 federal fraud conviction.
Dixon and at least two lawyers subjected to discipline by the State Bar of Arizona question the integrity of O’Neil, a key figure responsible for maintaining ethical standards within Arizona’s justice system.
In a court motion filed last month, suspended Phoenix attorney Jane O. Ross asked that O’Neil be removed from Bar disciplinary proceedings against her because of “a pattern of corruption, failure to uphold the due-process rights of disciplinary respondents, failure to acknowledge conflicts of interest, abuses of discretion and power, dereliction of judicial duties and knowingly making false statements.”
The motion to remove O’Neil contains allegations of criminal and unethical behavior. It relies heavily on information gathered by Dixon and includes an affidavit from him sworn under penalty of perjury.
A motion is made
“O’Neil is accused of illegal conduct in his personal affairs and ethical misconduct from the bench,” Ross wrote. “It is patently unfair for a judge, so accused, to continue to sit in judgment of others similarly accused until such accusations are either confirmed or dispelled.”
O’Neil did not respond to a Republic request for comment on Ross’ motion, though he previously spoke to the newspaper and rejected challenges to his integrity. He has not withdrawn from the case, but he did assign another judge to conduct an April 17 hearing on Ross’ motion.
Heather Murphy, director of communications for the Arizona Supreme Court, said she does not know what actions or investigations into the allegations the Supreme Court might launch, if any.
Dixon and O’Neil, both Casa Grande residents, have known one another since Dixon’s daughter began boarding and riding her horse at O’Neil’s stables years ago. In a sworn affidavit and formal complaints, Dixon said a friendship evolved. O’Neil characterizes Dixon as an acquaintance.
Either way, the two men agree that Dixon worked on O’Neil’s property occasionally and that they talked often. The judge presided over Dixon’s wedding. Dixon says they often discussed legal matters; O’Neil says that Dixon sometimes asked for legal advice but that he tried to brush off the queries.
After the dog incident, however, Dixon filed complaints or claims against O’Neil with the Arizona Supreme Court, the Commission on Judicial Conduct, the Attorney General’s Office and the State Bar of Arizona.
Dixon shared copies with The Arizona Republic. The Commission on Judicial Conduct usually posts complaints online after its investigation, but it opted not to publish the complaint against O’Neil, a spokesman said.
Investigations and litigation proceeded at the same time the Supreme Court was setting up a new ethics system to deal with attorney misconduct – and appointing O’Neil as the state’s first and only “presiding disciplinary judge.”
For the past three years, O’Neil has overseen proceedings against scores of lawyers, including the disbarment of former Maricopa County Attorney Andrew Thomas, while fending off Dixon’s accusations of unethical conduct. He is now considering approval of a proposed Bar reprimand against former U.S. Attorney Dennis Burke for ethics violations during a national political scandal involving the Operation Fast and Furious firearms investigation.
In an August 2012 complaint to the Commission on Judicial Conduct, Dixon told the story of Shiloh.
According to a copy of the complaint provided to The Republic, Dixon also asserted that O’Neil was his “ghost writer” in a Pinal County Superior Court motion and secretly authored an ethics complaint Dixon lodged against another judge.
Finally, he wrote that O’Neil acted improperly – or created an appearance of conflict – in transactions involving a residence owned by the judge’s mother-in-law.
According to public records, Sarah Holmes, O’Neil’s mother-in-law, executed a short sale of her Casa Grande house to a family friend. The friend subsequently sold a half-interest in the dwelling to O’Neil. Holmes continued to reside at the house – as a renter, according to O’Neil.
In an interviewlate last year, O’Neil told The Republic that he did not author legal papers for Dixon, did not enlist deputies in a scheme against him and did not engage in a fraudulent real-estate scheme. “I categorically deny the allegations,” he said.
Former Arizona Supreme Court Chief Justice Stanley Feldman, who represents O’Neil, said the judge has been smeared by a felon who bears a grudge. “There’s really nothing to it. … This is just a plain vendetta,” Feldman said.
The Commission on Judicial Conduct dismissed Dixon’s complaints after an initial review. A federal judge threw out the conspiracy lawsuit. No other government entity has sustained allegations by Dixon, who says each setback reaffirms his belief that Arizona’s justice system is corrupt.
The chain of events
Documents in the Pinal County Recorder’s Office show the chain of events: In August 2006, Sarah Holmes, O’Neil’s mother-in-law, secured a $204,000 loan on her house. Within months, Holmes borrowed an additional $203,950 using her home as collateral.
Three years elapsed. In January 2010, records show, Holmes executed a short sale of her property for $72,000 cash to a man named BrienBrenfleck. O’Neil confirmed that Brenfleck is a longtime family friend who once lived at O’Neil’s residence.
Short sales usually occur when a property’s mortgage debt exceeds its market value. In order to avoid foreclosure, lenders in some cases allow a homeowner to sell the residence and eliminate debt in excess of the proceeds.
Such transactions typically must be approved by mortgage holders, and the indebted seller generally cannot have close ties with the buyer.
Within days of the short sale, according to records on file with the Arizona Secretary of State’s Office, Brenfleck and “Bill O’Neal” (sic) were registered as owners of a new Arizona trade name, BOBB Investments, initials from the principles’ names.
Ten months later, Brenfleck transferred half-ownership of the Holmes property to Judge O’Neil and his wife, Tammy. O’Neil signed an affidavit listing his purchase price at $25,000.
O’Neil told The Republic he had “nothing to do with the refinancing” of his mother-in-law’s home or her decision to do a short sale. O’Neil said it was sheer coincidence that Brenfleck was looking to invest in a house and happened to see a real-estate ad about the short sale.
“We did not give him a check (to purchase the residence as a straw buyer),” O’Neil said. “We did not set a bag of money on the doorstep. We were not involved.”
About the same time as the home was advertised, O’Neil said, he and Brenfleck contemplated a business buying depressed real estate and reselling it. He said that BOBB Investments was created for that purpose but that they were unable to borrow funds to get the enterprise started.
O’Neil said Brenfleck called him months later saying that he had lost his job and that the house he had purchased from Holmes needed major repairs. Brenfleck asked if the judge would acquire a half-interest in the residence, then share refurbishment costs. O’Neil said he agreed to do so.
Brenfleck could not be reached for comment.
Short sale detailed
Ross’ recent motion to remove O’Neil describes the short sale and alleges that evidence implicates Arizona’s presiding disciplinary judge in “illegal conduct.”
The motion says an attorney who played a key role as trustee in the transactions, Christopher Perry, later was convicted of negligent homicide and fleeing the scene of a 2011 drunken-driving accident.
Records show that Perry was sentenced to 18 months of incarceration but that he did not get disbarred until March 2013, a month before his release, although the disbarment was retroactive. Ross’ motion alleges Perry received favorable treatment from O’Neil in disciplinary proceedings because the suspension of his license was stayed. She alleges that the entire matter creates a “shocking appearance of impropriety.”
Records show that Perry litigated a number of cases before O’Neil when the judge worked in Pinal County Superior Court. Most were perfunctory evictions where the Phoenix attorney appeared by telephone.
O’Neil told The Republic he has no acquaintanceship with Perry: “Never talked to him. Maybe he was in my court at some time. … But I don’t know Christopher Perry.”
Perry could not be reached to discuss the matter.
Ross is a prominent attorney in Arizona’s gay and lesbian community. Her law license was suspended in March 2013 for four years after a hearing before O’Neil. In that case, she was accused of pressuring a client to pay an additional $10,500 shortly before trial, then withdrawing as counsel when the client refused. She also was charged with signing a false document, making misleading statements and publicly accusing a judge of prejudice because he “just doesn’t like lesbians.”
The current case against Ross is based on Bar allegations that, while her license was inactive, she continued to practice law and failed to notify a client of her suspension.
In a court filing, Ross answered that she had not acted as a lawyer, but utilized a power of attorney available to anyone. She asserted she was unable to locate her client to advise him that she’d been suspended.
In seeking O’Neil’s removal, Ross also alleges that the late Robert Gallo of Casa Grande repeatedly served as an independent “public” member on attorney-discipline panels with O’Neil. Ross contends the judge unethically failed to notify defendants that Gallo was his close friend, neighbor and business associate.
O’Neil previously confirmed to The Republic that he and Gallo were friends. He said that he does not believe the friendship constituted a conflict, but understands that others might disagree.
Ross’ motion also says O’Neil repeatedly violated her legal rights in disciplinary proceedings and discriminated against her based on his religious beliefs regarding homosexuality.
Ross concluded that O’Neil should not merely be disqualified from her case, but should no longer serve as Arizona’s presiding disciplinary judge.
Code requirements
The Arizona Code of Judicial Conduct requires jurists to “avoid both impropriety and the appearance of impropriety” that occurs when a reasonable person believes a judge’s conduct is unethical.
O’Neil obtained half-ownership of a house for $25,000. The judge conceded that the residence was purchased from his mother-in-law by a family friend. The mother-in-law remained in the home. The friend and the judge contemplated becoming partners in real-estate ventures.
Asked if that scenario was inappropriate, O’Neil responded, “I don’t believe so, no. I ran it by an attorney during the commission (inquiry) … and he said there was no fraud.”
What about the appearance of impropriety? “In hindsight, would I have done this?” O’Neil said. “The answer is ‘No.’ “
Upon learning of O’Neil’s remark, former Justice Feldman said, “I hate to contradict the good judge, but … there isn’t any appearance of impropriety.”
Brenfleck and Holmes, who declined to be interviewed, wrote letters to Feldman declaringthat the transactions were proper. An affidavit of “arm’s length transaction,” signed by Brenfleck, says that no family member or business associate participated in the short sale and that there were “no hidden terms or special understandings.”
Arizona judicial canons say a jurist must conduct private affairs “so as to minimize the risk of conflict. … A judge shall not abuse the prestige of judicial office to advance the personal or economic interests of the judge or others. … Public confidence in the judiciary is eroded by improper conduct and conduct that creates the appearance of impropriety.”
Dixon provided The Republic a copy of his judicial-conduct complaint against O’Neil. It alleged that the judge “did in fact commit mortgage fraud in using Brien Brenfleck as a straw buyer.”
George Riemer, executive director of the Commission on Judicial Conduct, recused himself from the case because he serves on lawyer-discipline panels with O’Neil.
The Dixon complaint was referred for screening to Michael O. Miller, a commission member and then-Pima County Superior Court judge.
Miller recommended dismissal of the complaint. On Nov. 12, 2012, the full commission ruled there was “no evidence of ethical misconduct.”
Complaints surface
Dixon’s complaints against O’Neil surfaced in the disbarment proceedings against County Attorney Andrew Thomas and his deputy, Lisa Aubuchon, accused of unethically filing criminal charges against political foes.
Before he became presiding disciplinary judge, O’Neil had been assigned briefly to a key case in the scandal, in which he ruled against the prosecutors. When Bar complaints were lodged against Thomas and Aubuchon, O’Neil was placed in charge of the disciplinary hearings. Aubuchon asked that he withdraw due to a conflict of interest. O’Neil declined.
Thomas and Aubuchon were stripped of their law licenses in April 2012, and O’Neil authored the 232-page decision.
Two weeks later, Mark Dixon signed an affidavit alleging that O’Neil had privately discussed the Maricopa County attorney controversy with him in spring 2009 and had expressed bias against Thomas and Aubuchon. Aubuchon included his statement in an appeal of her disbarment to the Arizona Supreme Court.
O’Neil denied such a conversation occurred and said he had no conflict in overseeing the disbarment case.
The Supreme Court rejected all of Aubuchon’s appellate arguments, including claims of bias by O’Neil, which the court said “lacked merit.” In its September decision, justices saidshe failed to “prove bias or prejudice by a preponderance of the evidence” and “did not demonstrate that Judge O’Neil’s impartiality might reasonably be questioned or that he was biased or prejudiced as a result of his limited roles in the related criminal matters.”
Even if Dixon’s allegations were true, the court said, his affidavit “does not overcome the presumption that Judge O’Neil acted without bias or prejudice.”
O’Neil said Dixon’s unceasing accusations had created safety concerns. He noted that Dixon’s judicial complaint described an incident in which a horse at the judge’s stable was euthanized with a gun while the O’Neils were at church. O’Neil said he had not even been aware that a horse was shot on his property until he read Dixon’s account.
“It terrified us, absolutely terrified us,” he said. “I’m horribly concerned. I lock my doors at night. … We keep our dogs in the house.”
Dixon said the suffering animal was put down by an off-duty police officer, who corroborated that account to The Republic. Dixon said he mentioned the incident in his complaint because he was told of an alleged plan to discredit him by charging him with a weapons violation as a result of the mercy killing.
Dixon, meanwhile, says he is in hiding outside Arizona, fearful of being framed by officials in the justice system as he continues to investigate.
“I just want this (expletive) straightened out,” he said. “I mean, this is so far beyond a man and his dog that it’s not even funny.”
Reach the reporter at dennis.wagner@arizonarepublic.com.

Lisa Aubuchon speaks out – the other side the Bar and media don’t want you to know

A m e r i c a n  P o s t – G a z e t t e

Distributed by C O M M O N S E N S E , in Arizona

Sunday, March 30th,  2014

 

Disbarred Deputy Attorney under Andrew Thomas exposes corruption of AZ State Bar

Names names, reveals former Bar president Ed Novak’s unethical role in targeting political enemies

We’ve been following this scandal closely here at American Post-Gazette, since some of us are married to or related to attorneys or judges, and are concerned that this could happen to any of them. Activist Laine Lawless, who has a long history of speaking up for and defending those who are wrongly attacked, interviews politically targeted attorney Lisa Aubuchon in a 7-part series (45 minutes long). Lawless is not a conservative, but she was so disgusted by how the State Bar targeted Aubuchon that she had to speak up. The interview is excellent and we recommend you try to watch the whole thing, Aubuchon gets to the bottom of why the State Bar targeted her, Andrew Thomas and Rachel Alexander. We’ve summarized some of the worst aspects of her testimony below. It will shock you. As we’ve said before, Cook County is no longer the most corrupt county in the nation, Maricopa County is. At least in Cook County, Jesse Jackson, Jr., received 2.5 years in federal prison for doing the exact same thing that Maricopa County Supervisor Don Stapley did. What happened to Stapley? He awarded himself $3.5 million from us taxpayers for “stress” over being prosecuted, and got the prosecutors disbarred.
AZ Bar Association v. Lisa Aubuchon Part 1
AZ Bar Association v. Lisa Aubuchon Part 1
This is the first video; the next 6 can be found on Lawless’s YouTube channel here.
Aubuchon begins explaining how this all started; county judges were letting illegal immigrants accused of felonies out on bail, where they were at risk of committing more crimes. That set off the judiciary against Andrew Thomas, whose prosecutors did not want them released. The judges were also upset with Thomas because they could no longer pick up the phone and call him to arrange for lighter sentences for cronies, like they had done with liberal Republican Rick Romley in the past. Thomas insisted that everyone be treated equally under the law, no special treatment for judges or politicians.
Lisa then explains how she was told that Maricopa County Supervisor Don Stapley might be involved in some shady land swaps, and she started investigating and determined that it sure looked like it.
The presiding judge of the Maricopa County Superior Court at the time, Barbara Mundell, told Sheriff Arpaio’s Chief Deputy Dave Hendershott that Don Stapley had told her if the judges want the $340 million dollar Taj Mahal court tower built in the midst of the recession, they must hire his lawyer buddy and yes-man Tom Irvine, as a “space planner” (yeah that’s right, what is a space planner?). His firm was given over $1 million for their role as a space planner, and all he appeared to do was show up at some meetings and take notes.
Ed Novak, the guy behind all the corruption
Smelling corruption, Thomas decided to investigate Irvine’s role. There was a grand jury investigation to determine if there was probable cause to prosecute Irvine. It was handled by the criminal presiding judge Gary Donahoe. Insanely, the supervisors turned around and hired Irvine and his law partner Ed Novak, a former president of the State Bar who is still on the Bar’s board of governors, to be the attorneys objecting to their own investigation! Talk about a conflict of interest. They asked for a stay on the grand jury’s investigation from the AZ Supreme Court, which was denied. So instead, they went to the AZ Bar disciplinary judge, William O’Neil, who granted the stay. Talk about unethical abuse of the legal system! Us ordinary people wouldn’t get that kind of treatment going around the rules. It was later discovered that Novak was behind many of the frivolous bar complaints against Thomas that were all dismissed in the mid-to-late 2000s.
Novak got O’Neil to halt the grand jury just in time, because the grand jury was about to ask for draft indictment papers on him. At that time, liberal Republican Rick Romley had been appointed interim county attorney by the supervisors (who he rewarded by being their yes-man) and had a press conference announcing that the grand jury did not indict Novak. This was dishonest, because the grand jury was going to indict them if it hadn’t been stopped by O’Neil.
As a result of this, the Bar brought charges against Aubuchon, Thomas and Alexander. The county attorney has never not paid for the costs of prosecuting deputy county attorneys, but in the case of Aubuchon, they refused to provide her an attorney for the trial. A Montana attorney was so outraged by the corruption, that he represented her throughout the entire trial pro bono.
During the show trial that went on against Thomas, Aubuchon and Alexander, Judge O’Neil never pronounced her name correctly – right up until three months later when the trial ended and he pronounced her disbarred. One way he frequently mispronounced her name was to refer to her as ”Ambush-on,” clearly implying she was corrupt – an obvious ethical violation by a judge.
When Aubuchon discovered that O’Neil had been involved quashing the Judge Donahoe grand jury investigation, she brought it to the attention of the court. O’Neil lied and said he had never been involved in it!  But Aubuchon found the pleadings later with his name on it. A former close friend and neighbor of O’Neil, Mark Dixon, has bravely come forward with affidavits, speaking up about how O’Neil told him when Thomas and Aubuchon were attempting to indict Donahoe, that it was terrible what they were trying to do to Donahoe, a personal friend of his. Consequently, it was a MAJOR ethical conflict for O’Neil to ever be the disciplinary judge of Aubuchon and Thomas, when not only was Donahoe a personal friend of his, but he’d signed the paperwork stopping the grand jury indictment of him, and previously stated that he thought the indictment was terrible.
Several witnesses perjured themselves on the stand during the trial of Aubuchon, Thomas and Alexander, and when caught later in civil trials, recanted their statements! Judge Mundell testified that one of the jail overflow facilities had been condemned, as supposed justification to build the $340 million Taj Majal court tower. The sheriff’s office contradicted her testimony on the stand, testifying that it hadn’t been condemned, in fact they had continued to use it all along.
Aubuchon was told by a a senior attorney from a top, well-connected law firm during a settlement conference that she better take the settlement of a few years suspension and run, because a decision had already been made by O’Neil in collusion withe Bar to disbar her – before the trial had even started! Anyone who watched the trial could tell it was a kangaroo court the entire way, O’Neil frequently laughed and joked with the counsel representing the trio, as he was about to destroy their careers, completely inappropriate and something most judges would find themselves reprimanded for.
After O’Neil disbarred her, Aubuchon appealed to the Arizona Supreme Court. They took 14-15 months to decide her appeal, and she was not allowed to practice law most of that time, which is unprecedented. Arizona Bar rules state that disbarment actions take precedent over ALL other civil cases. Yet the Supreme Court didn’t bother to follow their own rules – something that ironically, Aubuchon would have been disciplined for had she done the same thing – and sat on her case for over a year. Even REGULAR civil cases are usually decided three months after the final briefs are in!!!!
The Arizona Bar’s own rules state that while on appeal, attorneys still get to practice law. Their reason for not allowing Aubuchon to continue practicing while on appeal? She’s a ”danger to the community.” This is astonishing when you consider an Arizona attorney who was drinking and driving and killed someone, but was still allowed to practice law.
Scott Rhodes, who the Bar wanted to represent Aubuchon, since he would do their bidding, admitted to Aubuchon it was rare for
her have only to had one bar complaint against her in her 20+ years of practicing law as a senior prosecutor. She has received multiple awards from law enforcement agencies and victims services. Her division awarded her trial attorney of the year.
Aubuchon’s life has been turned upside down as a result of the political targeting. She was 7 years away from retirement, with 2 daughters in college. She was forced to cash out her retirement, which was taxed at 50%. To this day, she is still behind on her home payments and has an IRS lien on her home. She has credit card debt and judgments hanging over her head from people she prosecuted. She and her attorneys were sanctioned $200,000 by Ed Novak. The judge awarded it to Novak simply for filing a motion to dismiss. Even though there’s a legal rule that says you can’t get attorneys fees for yourself!
Aubuchon recommends the mandatory bar association be disbanded to stop these abuses. Half the states do not have a mandatory bar association. The Arizona bar association is run by an incestuous group of people that protects bad attorneys and harasses good attorneys. Please contact your state legislators and urge them to pass legislation disbanding this corrupt cabal. Any attorney in Arizona is in danger until this happens.

Hear 5-Minute Stump Speeches from 29 Arizona GOP Candidates!

uvs140316-001Here’s a chance to see and hear from no less than 29 Arizona elected-office candidates, all in one place. It’s like speed-dating for politicians(!).

On March 15, 2014, the Sun City West Republican club sponsored a well-run Candidates Forum in which each candidate packed all he/she could in a 5-minute appeal to Arizona voters.

The full article and videos are at this link.  You can hear them all or use time sliders to pick the candidates of your choice. Included, in order of appearance, are:

Michael Jeanes, candidate, Arizona Clerk of Courts
Sandra Dowling, candidate, Maricopa County Board of Supervisors
Clint Hickman, candidate, Maricopa County Board of Supervisors
Elbert Bicknell, candidate, Maricopy Country Health Care District #4
Jean McGrath, candidate, Marcopa County Community College District #4
John Heep, candidate, Marcopa County Community College District #4
Bonnie Katz, candidate, Arizona Corporation Commission
Lucy Mason, candidate, Arizona Corporation Commission
Diane Douglas, candidate, AZ Superintendent of Public Instruction
Jeff Dewit, candidate, Arizona State Treasurer
Randy Pullen, candidate, Arizona State Treasurer
David Livingston, candidate, AZ Representative LD22
Phil Lovas, candidate, AZ Representative LD22

Judy Burges, candidate, AZ Senate LD22
Clair Van Steenwyk,
candidate, US House of Representatives
Trent Franks,
candidate, US House of Representatives
Tom Forese,
candidate, Arizona Corporation Commission
Mark Brnovich,
candidate, AZ Attorney General
Tom Horne,
candidate, AZ Attorney General
Michele Reagan,
candidate, AZ Secretary of State
Justin Pierce,
candidate, AZ Secretary of State
Christine Jones,
candidate, AZ Governor
Al Melivn,
candidate, AZ Governor
Alice Lukasik,
candidate, AZ Governor
John Molina,
candiate, AZ Governor
Frank Riggs,
candidate, AZ Governor
Scott Smith,
candidate, AZ Governor

For the full article, click here.

Sheriff Joe Arpaio Raises $3.5 Million

Sheriff Joe Arpaio

Breaks Yet another Fundraising Record

PHOENIX, AZ – Maricopa County Sheriff Joe Arpaio’s re-election campaign today announced their fundraising haul for 2013. The Elect Sheriff Joe Arpaio committee raised more than $3.5 million in the last twelve months, setting another record for a county race.

The committee collected over 78,000 contributions, totaling $3,550,100.87. Based on these figures, the average contribution was approximately $45.00.

The overwhelming majority (99.5%) of the contributions received were under the old limits of $450 per person before the Arizona Supreme Court upheld the new limits of $5,000 per person.

Chad Willems, Arpaio’s campaign manager, stated, “We continue to be blown away by the depth and breadth of support for Sheriff Joe. These numbers tell the story that the Sheriff and his policies are more popular than ever.”

Arpaio said, “I am so grateful for the outpouring of support from so many generous people. It emboldens me to know that my supporters are there for me especially when faced with a recall election and being maliciously targeted by the federal government just for doing my job.”

He continued, “Every four years, my supporters encourage me to run for Governor. Based on these fundraising numbers and knowing I could be competitive, I will have to give it serious consideration.”

Sheriff Joe Arpaio was re-elected to a sixth term in November 2012.

County Supervisors: Some of us “victims” get settlements, others don’t!

A m e r i c a n  P o s t – G a z e t t e

Distributed by C O M M O N S E N S E , in Arizona

Wednesday, January 9, 2014

Why do County Supervisors award $3.5 million to Don Stapley for “stress” but 0 to Mary Rose Wilcox for “stress?” 
Evidence mounting that million dollar payoffs county supervisors gave themselves and their cronies were NOT because they were actually victimized by Arpaio/Thomas 

On of Don Stapley’s two arrest photos.
The Maricopa County Supervisors continue to hand out settlements to themselves and their cronies over “stress” from being prosecuted by Sheriff Arpaio and former Maricopa County Attorney Andrew Thomas. But something funny is occurring. Mary Rose Wilcox, who was prosecuted more than anyone except Stapley on the list of “victims” who received generous million dollar settlements from the taxpayers, is being prohibited from receiving a settlement by the other supervisors. The Phoenix New Times reports that the supervisors have spent $375,442 of our tax dollars in legal proceedings to prohibit her from getting the $975,000 she is asking for.
We ask, if Arpaio and Thomas wrongfully prosecuted Stapley and Wilcox, doesn’t that mean both supervisors are entitled to cash payouts, not just one of them? SOMETHING REEKS TO HIGH HEAVEN. We’ve said it here all along, both supervisors are corrupt and were able to dodge prosecution because they control the judges’ purse strings. Even the Phoenix New Times admits that Stapley is corrupt. Read here to refresh your memory why. 
Arpaio and Thomas were cleared of all wrongdoing by Obama’s Justice Department, despite the crooked Arizona Bar disbarring Thomas. WHEN ARE THE ADULTS GOING TO STEP IN AND STOP THE PAYOLA? The county’s insurance isn’t paying for the crony settlements; there is a $5 million deductible per case. How many more million dollar payouts do the crooked supervisors get to pick and choose to award to their cronies? The one that really rankles us is $500,000 to Don Stapley’s secretary for “stress.” Are you kidding?

Crooked county supervisors award Don “the Don” Stapley whopping $3.5 million in taxpayer dollars!

A m e r i c a n  P o s t – G a z e t t e

Distributed by C O M M O N S E N S E , in Arizona

Saturday, December 21st, 2013

Supervisors refuse to go to trial over Stapley’s lawsuit since they know a jury wouldn’t give him a dime  
New county supervisor Steve Chucri, who replaced Stapley, is only supervisor who objected to crony payoff 

On of Don Stapley’s two arrest photos.

Boy it must be nice to be rich, powerful and connected. Don Stapley was just AWARDED $3.5 million for doing the exact same crime that Jesse Jackson, Jr., was sentenced to 2.5 years in PRISON for! We covered the disparate treatment here.Both men were prosecuted for spending thousands of dollars in campaign contributions on personal luxury items.  The Arizona Republic lists what Stapley bought

here. Expensive stereo equipment, massages, three family vacations to Utah, Florida and Hawaii, fine women’s clothing from the nicest stores in NYC to name a few.
Stapley was indicted not just once, but twice, by grand juries on multiple felony and misdemeanor counts. Using taxpayers’ money, he hired the best, most connected attorneys to the judiciary and State Bar, who claimed that Sheriff Arpaio and his attorney Andrew Thomas were on a political vendetta. We’ve still never been able to wrap our heads around the “political vendetta,” since all three are Republicans.Some believe Stapley has a vendetta against Arpaio for busting his brother in a prostitution sting in the midst of this.  

Stapley won, and bilked the taxpayers out of millions, getting him off the hook and then getting Thomas disbarred. Meanwhile, he and his cronies have been handing out “settlements” for “stress” over being prosecuted. Stapley’s former business partner Wolfswinkel, a convicted felon, got $1.4 million awarded from the supervisors. The supervisors awarded Stapley’s secretary $500,000. Wonder what kind of stress she went through?

There may be a light at the end of the tunnel. Steve Chucri bravely announced he would run for Stapley’s seat a couple of years ago – even though Stapley was still in office. Shortly thereafter, Stapley revealed he would not be running for reelection. Chucri was the lone voice on the board who spoke up against the $3.5 million award to Stapley last week, saying it should be decided by a jury.

We need to keep cleaning up the supervisors’ office. Until the rest of them are removed and replaced with honest people like Chucri, the payola and political attacks will continue – on your dollar.

Read what four others are saying on Facebook about the award:

JUST WENT THROUGH THE ROOF ! ! ! ! Just saw an infuriating story on CBS 5 Local newscast. The obviously corrupt Maricopa County Board of Supervisors is once again nailing the taxpayers to tune of millions (7 MILLION) in rewards to themselves and friends in another attempt to smear Sheriff Joe Arpaio and Andrew Thomas. I was LIVID when I saw Supervisor Kunasek say taking the case to court was not worth the risk when HE KNOWS DARN WELL that a Federal GRAND JURY looked at ALL the evidence these losers presented against Sheriff Joe and Andrew Thomas and they declared there was NO REASON TO INDICT. It is the Board’s Duty to defend the taxpayers, not crooks within their walls. I think the MCBS KNOW what would happen if the truth gets out. I am sick to my stomach that we can’t get any news source in the valley to REPORT the facts on these ridiculous awards of OUR money to shady operators. I believe every citizen of Maricopa County should DEMAND that AG Horne investigate the behavior of ALL parties in this case. I cannot sit still for this outrage and no one else should either. We also need to find some qualified candidates to run for the Board so we can get some accountability asap. Corruption is KILLING our Republic, don’t sit still for it. Let’s get the Courts and more importantly a JURY involved with this matter. I am tired of the One-Sided assault on our sensibilities.

This is terrible. I thought once that goofy Stapley was out of their things would be different. So many forces to fight.

We need to do something about this.

They always pay off – that’s why they get sued so often…..after all, it’s not THEIR money — it’s ours!!!

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Rep Michelle Ugenti Proposes County Regulatory Reform

Scottsdale, AZ (Dec 16th, 2013) – In an effort to reduce the regulatory burden and reduce costs on Arizona businesses, Rep. Michelle Ugenti, R-Scottsdale, has introduced legislation that will create greater accountability of county government.

House Bill 2013 is loosely modeled after the Arizona Administrative Procedures Act which governs the process state agencies must follow when creating rules and regulations they impose on Arizona businesses.

Ugenti first introduced this legislation in 2012, at the request of many members of Arizona’s business community, to provide them with more certainty and greater input in the development of county regulatory policies.  As a result of that effort, in 2013 Maricopa County in conjunction with various stakeholders made several modifications to its regulatory process resulting in greater transparency, additional stakeholder input and expedited processes.

Last session Ugenti sponsored legislation to apply the model created by Maricopa County to the other 14 counties in Arizona.  Businesses all across the state should benefit from a process that is less complicated, less costly and more predictable.

“I am appreciative that the Maricopa County Board of Supervisors recognized the merits of what was being proposed and acted to improve their regulatory process for Arizona’s business.  They recognized the value in working with the regulated community to improve transparency, reduce costs and increase accountability.  This legislation is worth fighting for so that businesses all across the state receive those same benefits,” Ugenti said.

Many in the business community agree with her. The National Federation of Independent Business, a voice for small business, gave Ugenti’s voting record on business issues the highest score possible in 2011 and 2012, the most recent years available.  Others who have supported this legislation include the Arizona Chamber of Commerce and Industry, Greater Phoenix Chamber of Commerce, and the Arizona Chapter of Associated General Contractors.

Ally Miller: Pima County Board of Supervisors Vote to Issue MORE DEBT

I have continued my pledge to eliminate nonessential spending and the resulting burden on the taxpayers with my most recent suggestion at the December 3, 2013, Board of Supervisors meeting.

Agenda Item 15, Resolution 2013-109 authorized the issuance of $58 million in Certificates of Participation debt (COPs) to fund additional construction on the Public Service Center (previously known as the Pima County Justice Court/City of Tucson Municipal Court Complex).  Certificates of Participation debt may be issued with only a Board of Supervisors majority vote - voter approval is not required.

In the 2004 bond election, voters approved $76 million for the “so called” Pima County Justice Court/City of Tucson Municipal Court Complex.  Since this election, County Administrator Chuck Huckelberry has stated the $76 million would only cover the shell construction of this courthouse.  Voters weren’t aware they would eventually have to pony up more cash to pay for interior finishes.

The City of Tucson had agreed to contribute $18 million to the construction; however, without a signed Intergovernmental Agreement, the Tucson City Council chose to withdraw from the project in November 2012 – eight years after the bond election.  This left Pima County to make a choice:Cancel the project or go it alone.  The Board chose to move forward with the project despite the added burden of bearing all construction costs.  I presented my argument to my fellow board members suggesting the County should lease the additional space to an outside party versus investing more taxpayer dollars in the courthouse.

My argument to the Board was it would be wiser to lease the remaining area to an outside entity to provide their own improvements which could be a winning scenario for the taxpayers.  This option would have allowed for the interior improvements to be completed at the cost of the tenant and at the same time Pima County would have increased revenue by leasing the excess space at the current market rate.

Despite my argument, the Board majority voted to use the building as collateral for an anticipated amount of $58 million in COPs.  In effect, the Board authorized borrowing an additional $58 million on top of the $22 million previously invested from the General Fund in 2011 thereby overrunning the original bond amount presented to voters by $80 million.

This is more than a 100% overrun of the original bonded amount voters approved for this court complex.

Pima County will now repurpose the space to house the Pima County Assessor, Treasurer, Recorder, and Constables. The issuance of these additional COPs will fund all interior tenant improvements for the remainder of the courthouse along with parking facilities.

I voted against this Resolution to issue more debt.  My argument is the movement of County offices to this facility is not necessary or prudent at this time and any additional space improved should be leased at market rate.

Pima County currently has more than 3.5 times the debt of all other counties in the State of Arizona combined as of November 21, 2013.

Source: Huckelberry, C.H. Memo to the Pima County Board of Supervisors, Resolutions Relating to Debt Issues, 3 December 2013.

Supervisor Ally Miller represents District 1 on the Pima County Board of Supervisors.  Supervisor Miller began her term on January 1, 2013.

Graham County Supervisors Endorse Andy Tobin for Congress

Andy Tobin

Leaders cite his proven record of experience and leadership

Citing his record of fighting for their communities and constituents, three Graham County Supervisors announced their endorsements today of Arizona Speaker of the House Andy Tobin, the latest show of support for his campaign in Arizona’s First Congressional District.

“Andy Tobin is the clear choice for U.S. Congress,” said Graham County Supervisor Drew John. “I represent a diverse district, covering both the urban area of Safford as well as the San Carlos Apache Nation. Andy has been there to help both of these constituencies time and again. This is why I’m endorsing Andy Tobin for Congress. He is the only candidate in this race with the proven experience and leadership to win in 2014.”

“Andy Tobin has always been a friend to rural Arizona,” said Graham County Supervisor Danny Smith. “He is the only candidate in this race who understands that we need farms and ranches to produce food. He understands that to have electricity, we need power plants. He understands that we need healthy forests to produce water. These are a few of the reasons why I’m endorsing Andy Tobin for U.S. Congress.”

“I’ve known Andy Tobin for a long time,” said Graham County Supervisor Jim Palmer. “It is clear to us here in rural Arizona that Andy has been fighting for us in the Arizona Legislature. I have every confidence that he will continue the rural Arizona fight in Washington. That’s why I’m endorsing Andy Tobin for U.S. Congress.”

“I’m humbled by the support of these great community leaders,” said Tobin. “All three are committed to fighting for their constituents, and I plan to take that fight to Congress. For too long, the federal government has been attacking Arizona. I’m ready to fight back.”

ABOUT ANDY TOBIN:

Andy Tobin is a dad, husband and small business owner who has devoted his life to job creation, public service, and advocating for conservative principles. Tobin has built successful careers in the real estate, banking and insurance industries, creating jobs and helping small businesses grow and expand.

Tobin has been elected four times to represent rural Arizona in the Legislature since 2007. As Speaker of the House, he has overseen the largest budget reductions in the history of Arizona and led the fight against ObamaCare in Arizona.

Tobin and his wife Jennifer have five children.

Same crime: Jesse Jackson, Jr. gets prison, Don Stapley getting a generous settlement, disbars prosecutor

A m e r i c a n  P o s t – G a z e t t e

Distributed by C O M M O N  S E N S E , in Arizona
Thursday, August 20, 2013

Both men grossly misspent campaign funds

Jesse Jackson, Jr. should have gone after the prosecutor and he would have skated too

Jesse Jackson, Jr., being sentenced to 2.5 years in prison We almost felt bad for Jesse Jackson, Jr., hearing that he will be going to prison for 2.5 years for misspending campaign funds. His wife will spend a year in prison. He should have never resigned from Congress. If he’d stayed in Congress, he would have had the best lawyers in the state, like Don Stapley did. Of course, Stapley also had that little advantage of controlling the purse strings of the judges (shhhh!), what judge is going to rule against him? Now Stapley is in negotiations with the county to receive a humongous settlement over the “stress” of being prosecuted. His convicted ex-felon business partner, Conley Wolfswinkel, got a $1 million settlement from the county over “stress” from being prosecuted, his secretary got $500,000, and there have been several more along the way. We predict Stapley will get an even more generous settlement. After all, the judges wouldn’t want to tick off his former cronies on the board of supervisors by showing they aren’t going to pony it up for a former supervisor, would they? They voted to give crooked supervisor Mary Rose Wilcox $900,000.

Let’s compare campaign misspending by the two. According to the Wall Street Journal,

Jesse Jackson, Jr., was sentenced to prison for “treating his campaign fund like a ‘personal piggy bank,’ siphoning $750,000 over the years to pay for personal items such as spa treatments and televisions.”

 

This sounds exactly like what Don Stapley did. Stapley used $4,000 of his campaign funds to buy expensive electronics from Bang & Olafson. He also purchased numerous spa treatments. He spent at least $86,000 of campaign funds on personal luxury items, including lavish vacations for his family in Hawaii, Florida and Utah. Read more about it here.

 

Don Stapley with his powerful, well-connected attorney who helped him beat the charges, former U.S. Attorney Paul Charlton
Don Stapley with his powerful, well-connected attorney who helped him beat the charges, former U.S. Attorney Paul Charlton

Stapley went out and found the biggest, most connected law firms in the state to represent him – including powerful former U.S. Attorney Paul Charlton – (guess how many of Stapley’s attorneys are friends with judges?), who spent hundreds of hours researching obscure case law and the facts to come up with an uber-technical argument that would not fly with any fair judge, but that some sleazy judge could use to get Stapley off the hook. The Arizona legislature had instructed the county supervisors to implement rules stating that county officials who misuse campaign funds commit a crime. The supervisors never bothered to do so. Therefore, sleazy judge John Leonardo found that Stapley is not guilty of anything. Seriously. It should be pointed out that Stapley could have easily been found guilty of a general crime of misuse of funds, fraud, or similar – but Leonardo knows where his bread is buttered, he had a clever way out most of the general public would buy. In return, Leonardo received a plum appointment to – you guessed it – the next U.S. Attorney from Arizona!  Remember, help out those who are in power, and you will be greatly rewarded. I pat your back, you pat my back, and never mind the little guy who gets run over along the way, that little prosecutor Andrew Thomas, who should have been patting backs too.

 

We’re reeling over here, seeing that the corruption in Arizona is even WORSE than in Chicago,. If you can beat the Jesse Jackson family at corruption, there is something seriously wrong with you.

 

When are the grown-ups in Arizona going to stop this? Who’s next in the lineup for another taxpayer handout for stress over being prosecuted the way Jesse Jackson, Jr, was?

 

We have a tip for Jackson. File a bar complaint against the prosecutor and allege prosecutorial misconduct, then sue the government for a really, really large cash settlement! Two juries found probable cause against Don Stapley – that didn’t matter, he still skated. You can still beat it, we’re rooting for you! Can’t let Maricopa County get the reputation of replacing Cook County as the most corrupt county in America.

 

And frankly, where is Jesse Jackson, Sr.? Why is a white man allowed to skate for the exact same crime a black man is sent to prison for?

 

Here is a partial list of what Stapley spent his campaign funds on:

 

Luxury vacations for himself and his family to Florida, Hawaii and Utah. $12,042 for the condo in Hawaii alone.
$1300 for hair implants
$5036 in expensive stereo equipment from Bang & Olufsen
psychological counseling
animal groomingeyewear
massages
spas
$99 at Bath & Body Works
home furnishings
lots of groceries
movies
dermatology
ASU event tickets
Bloomingdale’s
Florists
medical bills
vitamins, minerals, herbs
$1480 on Mesa water/trash/sewer
$471 at Donna Karan for women’s clothing
fitness center
Nordstroms
$350 for an art show in Pasadena
Phoenix Zoo
$104 for women’s clothing from Rampage
$630 for Broadway tickets
$420 for concerts at America West Arena
$100 at Ulta for beauty
$428 for the Utah Shakespeare Festival
$775 for women’s clothing at Zara in New York City

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AZPIA Files Lawsuit To Halt Betsey Bayless’ Misuse of Maricopa County Taxpayer Funds

Moves Violate Constitution, Benefit Another County,  and Jeopardize Support for Healthcare District

(MESA, Ariz.)  An increasingly influential public interest group, Arizona Public Integrity Alliance (AZPIA), has filed suit in Maricopa County Superior Court alleging that Betsey Bayless has or is about to illegally give away $10 million of Maricopa County taxpayer funds to a private entity.

Bayless is the CEO of the Maricopa County Special Health Care District (District), which does business under the name Maricopa Integrated Health Systems (MIHS).  AZPIA has had success impacting local politics and public policy and is now challenging Bayless’ misconduct.

The District infamously spiked Bayless’ salary last New Year’s Eve, from $375,000 to half a million dollars.  The spike occurred despite her pending retirement, drawing the ire of media and taxpayers alike.

“The New Year’s Eve salary spike was outrageous, but not illegal.  However, the subsequent activities by MIHS to flagrantly disregard its voter-approved mission and invest $10 million to displace an award-winning private sector provider of behavioral health services was the last straw,” said Pace Ellsworth with AZPIA.

In its bid proposal for the three-year contract to serve as the Regional Behavioral Health Authority (RBHA) for Geographic Service Area 6 which includes Maricopa and parts of Pinal County, MIHS promised $10 million for its joint venture with Southwest Catholic Healthcare Network (d/b/a Mercy Care), to form and fund the entity called Mercy Maricopa Integrated Care (MMIC).

“Taxpayers authorized the District to provide certain services within Maricopa County.  This isn’t one of them,” Ellsworth said. Furthermore, the District is actually proposing to use Maricopa County Taxpayer funds to serve parts of Pinal County.

“Obamacare is so distasteful because it crowds out the effectiveness and efficiency of the private sector for a government takeover.  And that’s what is starting to happen now with MIHS.  They must not be allowed to stray from their core mission and the trust taxpayers have placed in them,” Ellsworth said.  He also called the use of Maricopa County taxpayer dollars to benefit Pinal County healthcare “outrageous.”

“Maricopa County voters would never have taxed themselves knowing of these plans and abuses. And they won’t pass further support for the District if they insist on proceeding,” Ellsworth said.

AZPIA attorney, Chris LaVoy, said this is a  plain violation of Arizona law and a serious misuse of taxpayer funds.

“We are not only going to pursue this legal action, but we are considering recall actions against each of the voter-installed members of the District board who never told voters about this money grab.  Between the ridiculous raise provided the CEO and now this, we think voters will revolt against the very people who empowered these abuses,” Ellsworth said.

For a copy of the lawsuit filed by Chris LaVoy of Tiffany & Bosco, please contact Michael Scerbo.

For more information or to make a contribution please go to www.azpia.org or visit them on Facebook.

Maricopa GOP Chair Rallies LD Censures

To all Arizona County and LD Republican Committee Chairmen -
Below is the front page article of the July 15 Arizona Capitol Times. I want to express my appreciation to those courageous and principled County and LD Republican Committees who have already conducted votes of “censure” and/or “no confidence.”
Jan Brewer, the legislators and their crony capitalist friends that support ObamaCare and Medicaid expansion have betrayed Americans, Arizona Republicans and the Republican Party Platform.  Their lack of ethics, integrity and egregious acts are motivated by only two things – greed and the lust for power – at the expense of hard working tax paying Americans.
The law was expected to cost $898 billion over the first decade when the bill was first passed, but this year the Congressional Budget Office revised that estimate to $1.85 trillion.  Money that will have to be borrowed from the Chinese or printed in the backroom of the Federal Reserve.  Latest polls indicate a majority of Americans are opposed to ObamaCare and Medicaid expansion with an overwhelming majority of Republicans in opposition.
During the past six months, we did everything we could to make a solid argument against ObamaCare and Medicaid expansion, we tried to reason with these people and even tried to make them see the light.  Unfortunately, our lobbying efforts fell on deaf ears and without success.
During one of Ronald Reagan’s difficult political battles he said,
               ”When you can’t make them see the light, make them feel the heat.”
I’m asking all the County and LD Republican Committees to make these people feel the heat by passing public censures for their actions.  They are elitists who think what they have done should be forgiven. They are mistaken.  We are not going to be able to defeat all of them, but we can defeat a majority of them in the 2014 Primary Election.
You can go to “MCRC Briefs” and get examples of public censures that have already been passed.  http://briefs.maricopagop.org/  Just type “censure” in the search field on the left.
Warmest regards,
 A. J. LaFaro
Chairman, Maricopa County Republican Committee
P.S.  Please encourage all of your PCs to keep up their daily efforts in getting petition signatures for www.urapc.org  Getting ObamaCare and Medicaid expansion on the November 2014 ballot will be historic for Arizona’s grassroots conservatives.

Liberal State Bar Spends Three Years Going After Lawyer For Being Conservative Blogger

by John Hawkins
Reposted from Right Wing News

Everyone has now heard stories about conservatives who’ve been punished by “non-political” agencies like the IRS for their beliefs, but it happens at the state level, too. Back in 2011, I wrote about Rachel Alexander, who was targeted by the liberal State Bar of Arizona for having the audacity to work with other conservative lawyers to fight corruption in the state.

Rachel Alexander was collateral damage in a liberal fight to ruin her former boss, then-Maricopa County Attorney Andrew Thomas. Thomas attempted in 2009 and 2010, with the help of Sheriff Joe Arpaio, to stop corruption by some judges and county supervisors in Arizona by filing criminal charges and a racketeering lawsuit against them. Alexander, a Deputy County Attorney, performed some research and writing on the racketeering lawsuit after it had been filed. However, since she was one of the best known conservative bloggers in Arizona, running Intellectual Conservative and IC Arizona, she was dragged into the court even though she was a minor player in the case.

The supervisors filed bar complaints against Thomas, Alexander, and another prosecutor. The left-wing Bar ran with the charges, demanding to know everything Alexander had ever blogged, anonymously or not, within the past five years and the corrupt liberal judiciary rubber-stamped the charges. That’s not surprising considering the judiciary is under the Bar and can be disciplined by the Bar; so there is no way the judiciary would not do the Bar’s bidding.

Thomas and his other deputy prosecutor were disbarred and Alexander was suspended for six months plus one day, requiring her to retake the Bar exam again and reapply to the Bar. Meanwhile, the Department of Justice, which the Left had asked to investigate Thomas and Arpaio over abuse of power for going after the judges and supervisors, dropped the case, stating it had found no evidence. This completely refuted the Bar’s case against the three, exonerating them, but the Bar would not budge. Thomas remains disbarred and his other deputy is appealing.

The supervisors refused to pay for Alexander’s appeal, which was unprecedented for a merit-protected Maricopa County employee. Alexander wrote up her appeal herself (A lawyer would have charged $60,000, to give you an idea of how much work this was). The Arizona State Supreme Court sat on her appeal for eight months; then just one week after Thomas announced he was running for governor, it issued the opinion which essentially upheld most of the suspension.

The Arizona Supreme Court based most of its ruling upon statements of a former supervisor of Alexander’s who was her supervisor in name only. He said he’d heard complaints about Alexander’s performance in the office, but provided no evidence of these supposed complaints. The Supreme Court said this was evidence she wasn’t competent enough to work on the racketeering complaint. The court ignored the fact that Alexander had never received a poor review in her entire five years at the County Attorney’s Office and Thomas testified during the trial that he’d never received a complaint about her. At the same time, the Court stated several times in its opinion that it found no evidence of political bias by Alexander against the judges or supervisors. So essentially, Alexander is being suspended because liberals want to stick it to a conservative blogger.

At this point, Rachel Alexander is being left with little recourse other than to appeal to the U.S. Supreme Court. The problem is the Supreme Court only accepts about 80 of the 10,000 petitions it receives every year. Alexander has no attorney and cannot afford one, having been forced out of the legal profession into journalism, where she doesn’t even make enough money to make payments on her law school loans. Alexander also has a federal claim against the Bar for selective prosecution. Several attorneys familiar with her case have told her she has a slam-dunk case, considering the Bar reached down through several layers of supervisors to single her out for discipline without even targeting her immediate supervisor, who was in charge of the racketeering case and who performed the bulk of the work on it. Worse yet, the Bar is trying to force her to pay $128,203 for the cost of its prosecuting just her.

The Left targeted her because she may have been well known on the Arizona political scene, but she didn’t have the connections or money to fight back. She is a weekly columnist for TownhallThe Christian Post, and Right Wing News, but not someone with enough star power to make this a huge story. This story of corruption at the state government level is no different than the corruption that is now coming out about the Obama Administration, but because it is on a smaller scale, it is more difficult to get people interested in it.

Meanwhile, Alexander’s reputation has been dragged through the mud and the abuse that she has had to endure is appalling. She has been smeared non-stop by liberal websites in Arizona. Her main website was hacked by an IP address associated with the county supervisors, but no law enforcement agency would investigate it even though it destroyed her traffic, got her website banned from Google –and she finally had to rebuild her website from scratch using a different platform in order to get back into Google. Her traffic has never recovered because she lost thousands of articles; she went from 5,000 unique visitors per day down to less than 1,000. Her bankruptcy business fell apart because potential clients would not hire her once they’d googled her. She lost her home to foreclosure last summer and moved in with her parents.

This is even worse than the IRS’s targeting of Tea Party groups because she’s one person, without the resources to fight, without the national attention, without lawyers coming out of the woodwork to help her out.

If anyone can help Alexander find legal counsel or provide more exposure for her plight, please contact her at rachel@intellectualconservative.com. This case needs all the sunlight it can get. The liberals have been doing this to many bloggers and if we don’t stand up to them and stop this, they’ll be coming for us next. Michelle Malkin has covered it here.

Taxpayer outrage! Supervisors award $1.4 million to convicted felon Wolfswinkel

A m e r i c a n  P o s t – G a z e t t e

Distributed by C O M M O N  S E N S E , in Arizona
Friday, April 26, 2013

The bigger the crook, the larger the settlement 
Supervisors out of control awarding millions to more gold-diggers in order to make Sheriff Arpaio look bad 

Convicted felon Conley Wolfswinkel When are the adults going to take over?  Even the judges are figuring out the Supervisors’ little scam, and are refusing to allow more million dollar settlements to Wolfswinkel and Mary Rose Wilcox. After it was clear that the judge was not going to approve convicted felon and Don Stapley business partner Conley Wolfswinkel’s lawsuit against the county over “stress” from Arpaio and Thomas prosecuting him, Wolfswinkel went to the County Supervisors and demanded a payout. They awarded him $1.4 million this morning, the largest settlement yet. Next up for a generous settlement offer of YOUR money will be disgraced former Don Stapley, who was so corrupt he didn’t dare run for reelection last year.

Here are other settlements that have already been awarded, a waste of OUR taxpayer money, courtesy of the Supervisors, who are always eager to give their pals and themselves handouts in the name of making Arpaio look bad -

* Supervisor Andrew Kunasek; $123,000.

* Retired Judge Barbara Rodriguez Mundell; $500,000

* Susan Schuerman, executive assistant for former Supervisor Don Stapley; $500,000

* Retired Judge Anna Baca; $100,000

* Retired Judge Kenneth Fields; $100,000

Steve Wetzel, Maricopa Chief Information Officer; $75,000
Contact the Supervisors NOW and tell them you do not approve of them handing out OUR money to corrupt politicians in order to shame Arpaio.

We hear that Andrew Thomas is running for governor. We bet he will finally put a stop to these abuses of tax dollars, since no one else will.

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Convicted felon Wolfswinkel about to get huge settlement from County Supervisors

A m e r i c a n  P o s t – G a z e t t e

Distributed by C O M M O N  S E N S E , in Arizona
Friday, April 26, 2013

UNBELIEVABLE. Will Supervisors award him $5 million, even more than Mary Rose Wilcox? 
Judge repeatedly ruling against Wolfswinkel’s lawsuit against Maricopa County over “stress” from being prosecuted, so he turns to County Supervisors for settlement   

Convicted felon Conley Wolfswinkel You can’t make this stuff up. Convicted felon Conley Wolfswinkel, who was disgraced former County Supervisor Don Stapley’s business partner, is demanding $5 million from county taxpayers over Sheriff Arpaio and former County Attorney Andrew Thomas attempting to prosecute him. The Phoenix New Times exposed Wolfswinkel’s dishonest land swaps with Stapley a few years ago.

We’ve been told that Wolfswinkel’s lawsuit against the county hasn’t been going so well, the judge has been ruling against him on everything. Realizing he’s going to lose and not get even one cent of our money, Wolfswinkel has turned to the County Supervisors, who have a pattern of handing out millions of taxpayers’ dollars to anyone who disagrees with Arpaio (and Thomas), in order to make them look bad. Any whistleblower who tries to put a stop to their taxpayer-funded political vendetta spending spree is fired, as happened to poor Deputy County Attorney Maria Brandon.

Will the County Supervisors repeat their generous handouts of taxpayer money and award convicted felon Wolfswinkel millions of dollars, simply to make Arpaio look bad? How many more people have to lose their jobs, reputations, and live savings simply because they tried to put a stop to this kind of corrupt activity? The Supervisors are meeting this morning at 10 a.m. to discuss his settlement.

Contact the Supervisors NOW and tell them you do not approve of them handing out OUR money to corrupt politicians in order to shame Arpaio.

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MIHS Meets in Closed Door Session to Discuss Controversial State Contract


The Maricopa County Integrated Health Systems Board of Directors
is currently meeting in closed-door Executive Session to discuss the current legal challenge and protest filed by Magellan and United RHBA against MMIC (Mercy Maricopa Integrated Care), MIHS CEO Betsey Bayless, and Maricopa County Special Health Care District.  The current agenda shows a 30-minute spot dedicated to discussion of this subject, all of which will be exempt from records requests and exempt from public inspection.

It is not surprising that the MIHS Board is keeping a low profile and is remaining tight-lipped about this controversial contract after being awarded a possibly illegal $2 billion to $3 billion dollar contract from the State of Arizona.  This came on the heels of a controversial pay raise for MIHS CEO Betsey Bayless that raised her taxpayer salary to $500,000.

Accountability and SunshineThe board will apparently receive legal advice on the protest to the bid and discuss options moving forward.  An administrative law judge is likely to uphold the Department’s awarding of the contract, leaving a lawsuit targeting the state as a possible option.  Magellan has already filed a civil suit seeking financial damages in Maricopa County Superior Court against MIHS and MIHS’ CEO Betsey Bayless.  Magellan alleges MIHS was awarded the contract improperly and used proprietary information from Magellan to win the bid.

The new contract was set to begin on October 1, 2013, but the protest and lawsuit are likely to delay implementation.  Previously MIHS responded to the formal protest with the following statement:

“We are studying those protests and will respond in the appropriate venues,” the statement said. “We are confident in the strength of our bid, and we are proud to offer a unique, collaborative approach to meet Maricopa County Medicaid recipients’ behavioral-health needs and to integrate the behavioral- health and medical services for those with serious mental illness.”

If you recall, the lawsuit also alleges “serious conflicts of interest” by MIHS because Mercy Maricopa both manages the system and provide services, which is “prohibited by the contract and by state law.” Magellan also alleges that the bidding process contained “serious irregularities,” such as the state’s bidding process being amended twice to unfairly benefit MIHS over their private competitors.  Additional claims include conflicts of interest, improper scoring, licensing problems, and disclosure of proprietary information to competitors. Magellan originally serviced the state contract since 2007.

The serious allegations require attention and deserve public scrutiny.  MIHS should be holding discussions on the contract and the protest, but they should be doing this in the face of the public.  Not behind closed doors immune from public records requests. MIHS is a government entity that collects nearly $60 million dollars in property taxes every year and is run by a publicly elected Board of Directors.  When the state awards a contract that could be worth up to $3 billion dollars, possible bias in favor of a taxpayer funded MIHS over private competitors deserves more sunshine and certainly more accountability.

If you’d like to contact the MIHS Board of Directors and demand more transparency for taxpayers, they can be reached via email as follows:

 

State Bar assigns Andrew Thomas nemesis to investigate whistleblower’s complaint against Disciplinary Judge

A m e r i c a n  P o s t – G a z e t t e

Distributed by C O M M O N  S E N S E , in Arizona
Saturday, April 20, 2013

State Bar assigns candidate who lost race to Thomas, and who was fined, to investigate legitimate complaint about Thomas disciplinary judge
Corruption within State Bar at highest levels ever

—–Original Message—– From: Mark Dixon [mailto:md20033@yahoo.com] Sent: Tuesday, April 16, 2013 6:20 PM To: ‘Amelia Cramer’ Cc: ‘levine2005@aol.com‘; ‘whitney@cunninghammott.com‘; ‘rtplattlaw@gmail.com‘; ‘bryan.chambers@azbar.org‘; ‘lisaloo@asu.edu‘; ‘jennifer.rebholz@farmersinsurance.com‘; ‘alex@vakulalaw.net‘; ‘jflagler@flaglerlaw.org‘; ‘mcrawford@mcrazlaw.com‘; ‘Dee-Dee.Samet@azbar.org‘; ‘r.coffinger@gmail.com‘; ‘tom@crowescott.com‘; ‘dderickson@rhlfirm.com‘; ‘DDrain@DianeDrain.com‘; ‘mho@polsinelli.com‘; ‘ssaks@cb-attorney.com‘; ‘gt@ltinjury.com‘; ‘JimmieDeeSmith@azbar.org‘; ‘Kanefieldj@ballardspahr.com‘; ‘smays@phoenixlaw.edu‘; ‘marc.miller@law.arizona.edu‘; ‘Douglas.Sylvester@asu.edu‘; ‘tonyfinley@hotmail.com‘; ‘ajennings@bloodsystems.org‘; ‘meredith_peabody@hotmail.com‘; ‘maritajohn@cox.net‘; ‘jennifer.burns@azbar.org‘; ‘dbyers@courts.az.gov‘; ‘virginia.gonzales@azag.gov‘; ‘John F. Phelps’

Subject: Expected contact regarding State Bar Disciplinary Council and Disciplinary Judge William J. O’Neil

Ms. Cramer,

I have been waiting patiently for the response you promised below. The only communication I have received is an email from Mr. Thomas McCauley:

“RE: 13-0689 (Kent Volkmer); 13-0691 (David Cowles)
Mr. Dixon,
“These matters have been assigned to me for investigation. I will let you know if I need any additional information and the results of my investigation.
Tom McCauley 602-340-7352″

I strongly object to the assignment of Mr. Thomas McCauley to the investigation of these issues. It is impossible for Mr. McCauley to be impartial in any investigation regarding any matter revolving around William J. O’Neil, my issues, or any issue involving Andrew Thomas, Lisa Aubuchon, Rachel Alexander etc.

Mr. McCauley ran for Maricopa County Attorney in 2004, a race he lost in the primary, and in which he was, quite frankly, not even a serious contender. Upon losing the primary race he organized Concerned Citizens Against Andrew Thomas. Mr. McCauley subsequently was fined $1,000.00 by the Maricopa County Elections Department for campaign violations under order CF04-35. McCauley supported the Democrat candidate in the General Election over Thomas — who was so out there that even Democrat Mayor Phil Gordon supported Thomas over him in the General election. The Wells Fargo bank account used was out of Portland Oregon. This appears to be an obvious attempt to secret additional finance information.

Mr. McCauley’s loyalties clearly lie against Andrew Thomas and investigating my claims against Judge O’Neil will entail reopening Thomas’s discipline investigation, along with many others that are tainted by Jg. O’Neil and his accomplices at the State Bar. As I revealed in an earlier email, Kent Volkmer warned me that O’Neil and “the establishment” would try to take me down for my attempts to expose the corruption.

My claims, which are fully supported by the evidence, clearly show a severe problem with William J. O’Neil and the attorney discipline process he controls. The true and factual affidavit that Lisa Aubuchon used in her appeal adds to the credible information supporting the fact that O’Neil did not provide Andrew Thomas and his subordinates with a fair and unbiased hearing. Mr. McCauley’s extreme bias against Andrew Thomas is cause to remove him from investigating this matter because the essence of my complaint includes abuses perpetrated against Thomas and the others by O’Neil and the disciplinary arm of the State Bar.

This speaks to the bias of the Arizona State Bar and Ms. Vessella, head of the discipline department. Ms. Vessella would have been the individual to assign these complaints to Mr. McCauley. To put it frankly, upon the inevitable investigation of my claims and exposure of William J. O’Neil, Mr. McCauley, Ms. Vessella and others in her department also will be exposed for abuses of power.

A next logical step is to re-open and question every proceeding brought by the Bar and presided over by O’Neil as the Disciplinary Judge, starting with Andrew Thomas. Mr. McCauley’s personal vendetta against Andrew Thomas compels him to find any reason not to expose the truth. Moreover, we need not look any farther than the actions taken against Mr. Ernest Calderon. Mr. Calderon served as the State Bar President from 2002 – 2003. He worked for the State Bar reviewing hundreds of investigations similar to those brought against Andrew Thomas. Even though he publicly did not agree with Thomas’s immigration policy, the Maricopa County Attorney’s Office asked Mr. Calderon to review the many bar complaints filed against Andrew Thomas and the others in his administration. Mr. Calderon determined none were legitimate.

What did Mr. Calderon receive for this? He was removed as one of the four delegates to the American Bar Association’s House of Delegates, a position he had held for four years. Emails reveal that there were no character issues raised regarding Mr. Calderon. The only issues raised were “related to the Thomas matter and concerns about loyalty to the organization.” The emails further reveal the individuals attacking Mr. Calderon: “Several, led by Ed (Novak), Drain and Ditcher wayed[sic] in. Alan defended the recommendation of the Appointments Committee to reappoint you. It seemed the general sentiment was not to reappoint you and a motion was made to appoint Jeff Willis instead.

Tabling the decisions works in your favor because it will buy you time to make your case for reappointment. ” Emotions were running too high to vote today. I’m sorry about all of this, I get the impression that many Board members are unhappy with me also because of my role in the Thomas matter.” Former Bar President Daniel J. McAuliffe stated, as you have, “the members of the State Bar of Arizona’s Board of Governors do not involve themselves in disciplinary matters.”

Yet, in the matter of Mr. Calderon, it is apparent that they do, in fact, involve themselves in disciplinary matters. Specifically Mr. Calderon was punished by being removed as a delegate strictly because he presented an unbiased opinion regarding the numerous bar complaints brought against Mr. Thomas that said complaints were unfounded. Please remember that Ed Novak has been central in all these issues at the State Bar and still is.

A more recent development, just after coming out in support of the allegations I have raised, a NPR radio reported that Mr. Jack Levine, a member of the Bar’s Board of Governors, was accused of assaulting a State Bar staffer. Such an accusation is incredible. Come on, how low will some people stoop? Let’s see that one stick in the face of a claim of retaliation for Mr. Levine trying to do the right thing in attempting to hold members of the Board of the Arizona State Bar accountable.

One of the two complaints Mr. McCauley is “investigating” revolves around Tiffany & Bosco and Mr. David Cowles. Tiffany and Bosco breached an agreement with me regarding my property and they lied to me regarding my rights and their future conduct regarding the property. Since the complaint was filed, the foreclosure sale date has been postponed twice and now is set for April 18, 2013. I contend that if there was no merit to my complaint the property would have sold on the original sale date of March 21, 2013. Tiffany & Bosco committed to a judicial foreclosure on the mortgage and not the property; they further assured me that I would have access to the escrow account on said property. I do not. If there was no merit to the complaint the property would have sold long before now.

The fact that Mr. McCauley has not contacted me needing any additional information on this matter causes additional great concern regarding the integrity of this investigation. I am afraid that in the response to the complaint Tiffany and Bosco will not disclose the volumes of emails and other correspondence validating my claims. I also am sure Tiffany and Bosco will be protected from discipline due to the many Tiffany & Bosco representatives serving at the State Bar, “the establishment” will protect itself.

Currently the most conspicuous event is the change in status of my contractor’s license. In the enclosed attachment “ROC Timeline exhibits 4-15-13.pdf” (which can be found on scribd.com if not now then in the immediate future when I upload it) you will see said license was suspended on May 13, 2010 or September 27, 2010 or February 8, 2011 depending on which document you want to believe. The suspension stems from an unsubstantiated complaint filed on November 16, 2009. The complaint originally was cleared by the ROC investigator but reopened through the persistence of Maxine M. Becker Esq. with Salmon Lewis & Weldon, P. L. C. I ask you to review the file and realize that this was all done at the request of William J. O’Neil. The enclosed documents and timeline backs up this accusation and it is further substantiated by the Arizona Registrar of Contractors, along with the Arizona Attorney General’s office, removing the complaint history etc. from the file. This pleases me of course but, does nothing to compensate me for the years I was not able to use my license (asset) to earn a living.

I was informed that the Arizona State Bar had no intention of looking into a complaint against William J. O’Neil regarding Robert M. Gallo as mentioned in the previous email. The State Bar disciplinary counsel has misinformed you that the Arizona Commission on Judicial Conduct cleared O’Neil in this matter. O’Neil was NOT cleared on these charges by the Commission on Judicial Conduct. They didn’t even consider them; the charges were just flat ignored, see the attachment “oneil complaint dismissal 12-4-12.pdf.” (check scribd.com in a few days for this file)

I want to make it clear that these charges were never addressed by the Commission and the attachment “william j oneil judicial complaint 4-16-13.pdf” (check scribd.com in a few days) is a new complaint to the Commission on Judicial Conduct addressing, in detail, those charges. I will also formally ask you to investigate those charges as it is very apparent the State Bar Disciplinary Counsel lacks the credibility to pursue this matter.

In my initial conversation with Mr. Jack Levine, we agreed that there were just a few bad apples in the system and some things needed to be straightened out. My opinion is quickly changing. A conclusion I am coming to is the Arizona Supreme Court is unable or incapable of policing its own and nothing short of a constitutional amendment abolishing the current judicial selection process and attorney discipline process will solve the problem. The Judiciary seems to thumb their nose at the legislature and governor all the while doing whatever they want, violating anyone’s rights who cross them and placing themselves above any and all A. R. S. statutes. It is time to remove this absolute power from the judiciary and put some serious oversight in the hands of the other branches of government.

I will remind you that I did not ask for this fight, it was visited upon me. What have I gotten for demanding my constitutional rights? I have had my family and business destroyed, my reputation attacked and my civil rights denied. When all this has not shut me up, then the cowards who are protected by the State Bar of Arizona attempt physical threats and intimidation. I have received death threat phone calls telling me to back off. I won’t. It is time to clean up this mess and restore the judicial process to its legitimate, respectful status. Are you part of the solution or the problem?

Sincerely, Mark Dixon

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