County Supervisors award liberal activist Randy Parraz unasked for money over “stress”

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 21, 2012

Fired Deputy County Attorney spills beans in lawsuit against Supervisors on how they rewarded their friends and  Arpaio/Thomas enemies with $100,000.00’s 

Randy Parraz wasn’t even a protester, nor had he filed a lawsuit against the County, yet County Supervisors added him in to receive an inflated award of taxpayers’ money

The payoff for taking out Russell Pearce is now obvious. Here are some excerpts from fired Deputy County Maria Brandon’s federal lawsuit against Maricopa County:

In 2010, as the high-profile feud escalated, some in county management began to use the county’s self-insured trust to reward political friends such as anti-Arpaio and anti-Thomas protestors. They also sought to punish Arpaio and Thomas politically by paying more than necessary to settle his claims and lawsuits and then publicly blaming the costs on Arpaio and on Thomas and their mismanagement.

Attorneys in Special Litigation who were under the chain of command of county management but providing representation to Arpaio and Thomas as their attorneys, refused on ethical grounds to go along with this behavior.

An attempt was made to keep these attorneys from returning to the County Attorney’s office. When this was opposed by newly-elected County Attorney Bill Montgomery, a scheme was devised to circumvent the merit system so the salaries of these employees could be slashed and/or they could be fired without the right to appeal.

In February 2010, Risk Management adjuster Jacquie Garrett, who was assigned to adjust three lawsuits filed by a group of seven (7) anti-Arpaio protestors arising from incidents on December 15th and 17th, and Brandon decided requested settlement authority of $7500 foreach protestor, a total of $52,500.32. At the end of April 2010, Risk Manager Rocky Armfield sent Brandon an email explaining that he had obtained additional authority of up to $100,000 per protestor, and that he was adding the claim of Randy Parraz, a political activist who was not arrested or a participant on December 15th and December 17th and had not yet filed a lawsuit.

Rocky Armfield was told repeatedly by Brandon and by his adjuster, Jacquie Garrett,that there were defenses and motions that could be applied to these cases to reduce or eliminate the liability for the defendants and the self-insured trust. For example, Mr. Parraz’s notice of claim had been untimely filed, but Armfield was intent on pushing these political cases to a nearly mediation and an early monetary settlement.

The lawsuits were settled at the mediation over MCSO’s objections, as follows: Theilen received $99,999; Monica Sandschafer received $99,999; Odhner received $75,000; Nelson $75,000; Bethancourt $50,000; Millan $50,000 and Teran $24,700. Randy Parraz did not settle his claim at that time.

The Republic published a front page article regarding the settlement amount of $424,700 for seven protestors who were booked and released, and where there were no claims of excessive force or physical injuries. One protestor, who had not been booked or taken to jailbut had only received a citation in the mail, received $24,700 in settlement funds at the mediation.

During these five months, John Does I-V, unknown policymakers for Maricopa County, set up a salary structure that protected the salaries of attorneys at General Litigation who had represented county management, but slashed the salaries of attorneys from Special Litigation who had represented Arpaio/MCSO and Thomas/MCAO.

The new salary structure had the effect of punishing attorneys perceived by some as political enemies in the county feud because they represented Sheriff Arpaio, even though that was what they were hired to do.

All three line-attorneys in Special Litigation had their salaries significantly reduced under the new salary structure. As of April 18, 2011, the Special Litigation attorneys received the following reductions in salary: Attorney S. Lee White’s salary was reduced by $29,640(about a 30% reduction); K. Peter Muthig’s salary was reduced by $17,971 and Plaintiff Brandon’s salary was reduced by $7737.

Under the plan developed during the five months of negotiation between Bill Montgomery and county management, all attorneys brought back from General Litigation and Special Litigation were to be placed on probation despite the fact that many had worked for the county for 20 or even 30 years. Plaintiff Brandon was placed on probation despite the fact that she had worked for Maricopa County continually for 33 years.

Tom Liddy said he attended one meeting alone with Assistant County Manager/BudgetDirector/Interim HR Director Sandi Wilson with no written agenda, and she began the meeting by asking, “What are you going to do about Maria Brandon?” Liddy likened the atmosphere to the post-Civil War, Reconstruction period when there were lynchings.

Despite her many years of public service, Plaintiff Brandon lost her work, her annual salary of about $134,000 and later of about $126,000, her family’s medical insurance, and her reputation. Prior to June 10th , Plaintiff had never been dismissed or asked to leave a job in her life.

The full complaint is posted here.

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  1. TruConserv says

    Wow. This is even worse than the Wilcox payoff. At least Wilcox filed a lawsuit against the county. To hand over our money to haters like Parraz is majorly illegal. Heads are gonna roll on this one.

    • TruConserv says

      Whoops – I now see that Parraz had filed a claim against the city, and by law, a person can’t file a lawsuit until the claim is denied or sufficiently ignored. Settling claims before a lawsuit is perfectly legal and is not unusual at all.

      Sorry for the confusion.

      Nonetheless, this story proves the point I’ve been making all along, just because Arpaio and Thomas acted illegally, unethically and in violation of their professional canons doesn’t mean that the BoS aren’t crooks.

      It also doesn’t mean that Thomas is forgiven for filing false charges. Indeed, it just reminds us how woefully incompetent Thomas was a prosecutor. With all the real crimes being committed, he had to go and make stuff up. A real prosecutor would have had wrapped up the BoS a long time ago, not gotten disbarred.

  2. Jane Stemson says

    I was at one of those protests that day, and I hate Sheriff Arpaio. They need to add my name in for one of the $100,000 payoffs, ok? Jane Stemson. It stressed me out protesting and only $100,000 will make me whole again. Arpaio is so irresponsible costing us taxpayers all that money to make these settlements. ARPAIO MUST GO! (p.s. I really wasn’t at one of the protests, just like Randy Parraz, but if he gets in on the gravy train, I should be able to)

  3. Fan of American Post-Gazette says

    Thanks for getting the word out about this corruption. I haven’t heard a thing about it in the regular media. Arizona Republic reporter Yvonne Wingnut only writes favorable coverage of the County supervisors so anyone who subscribes to that rag or reads them online has no knowledge of what is really going on.

  4. The County won’t pay for the appeals of Andrew Thomas and his deputy county attorneys, who tried to clean up this corruption, but they will offer unasked for hundreds of dollars in settlements to radical left wing protesters who target Russell Pearce and Sheriff Arpaio. I get that logic completely. It’s called “Maricopa County is now more corrupt than Cook County.”

  5. We need to stop all these payoffs! The retiring county manager looks like he is building a client list for his “consulting” business. He approves these payoffs and gets their business. I’m sure he will be helping get them county contracts. Maybe Stapley’s witch of a secretary can get a job with Smith and continue to extort taxpayers.

    What happened to millions for defence, but not a penny for tribute! The lunatics are truly running the asylum. Cook county is now taking lessons from Maricopa County. The new Board has to stop this madness.

  6. I have watched the mess with the board of stupidvisors for years. I am both offended by it and stressed out that my tax dollars are going down the tubes.

    Hey Smith, pay me $100,000 for offending me and I think about $5 million should cover the stress.

    And what ever happened to his sidekick Sandy Wilson? Did someone splash water on her? I want another 50,000 just for having to think about her.

  7. alicia gegner says

    SCREEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEECH!!!!!! Stupidvisors, can you hear me yell? How come you rotten people take our money and give it to every jackass that comes down the pike? How about giving it back to us? After all, we earned it, not them.

    Everybody getting our money seems to be someone with a checkered past, and probably present and future as well. Tar and feathers would be too kind for this gang of five. Ridden out of town on a rail made of old saguaro parts might be a good start. Send these people to California where they belong.

    Citizens of Maricopa County, lend me your ears, and eyes. Pay attention. You must vote these criminals out of office, and never allow them near anything that we value ever again. They are nothing but thieves.

    • You better begin with the McRINO establishment, if not, your children will be voting for his daughter!

      • Sgt. Flapjaw says

        Oh P! Surely you jest, I wish I hadn’t read that. Do you really think that she would even get her fathers vote? He must have some standards………Doesn’t he?

  8. You get what your you pay for when you and I elect them. I made the mistake of re-electing Joe Arpaio. I will pay for that mistake.

  9. Nancy Baley says

    Sounds to me like the board of supervisors needs another Andrew Thomas style investigation. Enriching themselves with our tax money is exactly why he was after them to begin with, wasn’t it? Randy Raraz is a Democrat operative who was sadly successful in unseating Russell Pearce and replacing him with a Democrat dufuss. Sorry folks….this entire affair does NOT pass the smell test.

    • TruConserv says

      Rather than “another Andrew Thomas style investigation” I’d like a real investigation, into real crimes, that leads to indictments and arrests that stand up in court and actually lead to convictions.

      With all the corruption we see at the BoS, why did Thomas choose to file such laughable charges? Charges to indefensible they lead to his being disbarred.

      Thomas was a horrible prosecutor. His dereliction of duty has let the BoS skate free on their real bad acts. We should be happy he is gone. He stood for none of the values we conservative follow.

      Forget him, focus on getting a real investigation going by a competent prosecutor.

  10. Paula Pennypacker says

    This simply is not true. These individuals didn’t get rewarded for protesting. The County paid on their notices of claim because their rights were violated by Sheriff Deputies and they were placed in jail. Mr Parraz was arrested on September 29, 2008 and have yet to be awarded anything. The headline is very misleading as no one gets rewarded to protest.

    • TruConserv says

      Shhhh, you’re introducing facts and that’s something the supports Real RINO Arpaio can’t stand.

  11. Paraz’s reputation isn’t worth a plugged nickel. He gets nothing. Are we going to set a precedent that all you have to do is whine that Joe Arpaio is mean and taxpayers have to pay you for your “stress”? Get real. Thank goodness we have checks and balances in our governance. County Treasurer Hos Hoskins should veto these politically-motivated payoffs. He will win re-election in a landslide.

    • TruConserv says

      Two problems.

      1) The claims stem from false arrests. Do you condone that behavior? What kind of RINO are you that you look the other way when a government locks up people for no other reason than their politics? True conservatives abhor such behavior.

      2) The veto doesn’t make the claims go away, it just sends them to trial. Trials cost money, and with these facts will likely lead to considerable verdicts.

      Wilcox’s claim seems excessive, and I like that Hos is doing his job. Good on him. I won’t be surprised to learn that he rejects the claims and sends them back for reconsideration – that’s just good negotiations and even better politics.

      • Sorry, TruConserv, we all know these are just politcal paybacks to Thomas-, Arpaio- and Pearce-haters, from the original claims of “false arrests” to Pearce’s recall. The haters are using taxpayer money to payoff their political allies. It must stop.

        • TruConserv says

          Yes, of course, the BoS used magic rays broadcast from black helicopters to force Arpaio, against his will, to make illegal arrests.

          What ever happened to personal accountability?

          No false arrests, no lawsuits. Blame the person who started this all: Arpaio, the real RINO.

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