Supervisors continue to fire more lawyers from defending Andrew Thomas

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, October 29, 2011

Supervisors trying to fix outcome of Bar trial against Thomas by repeatedly firing his attorneys
State Bar has spent $426,984 on political witchhunt against Thomas that they have dragged out for over a year, yet Thomas is not allowed equivalent legal representation

From an article in the Arizona RepublicOnce again, the county is refusing to pay all of Thomas’ attorneys, effectively firing two of them midhearing.

The county is legally obligated to provide legal counsel for county officials and employees in litigation that arises from their work.

The county controls the purse strings and has repeatedly fired attorneys retained by Thomas, Aubuchon and Arpaio, citing cost or misconduct as reasons.

FIRED AND UNPAID ATTORNEYS

– Ernest Calderon, who was vocal in Thomas’ defense, was fired from Thomas’ legal team by the county sometime between March and June 2010.

– Kris Kobach, who helped write Arizona’s immigration law, Senate Bill 1070, and was consulting with the Sheriff’s Office, was fired by interim County Attorney Rick Romley in June 2010. At that time, county officials were also trying to figure out how Washington, D.C., attorney Robert Driscoll, who represented Arpaio in a racketeering suit against county officials and judges, was paid $155,000 from a fund reserved for racketeering investigations. Driscoll testified in the ethics hearing Thursday.

– The law firm of Ogletree, Deakins, Nash, Smoak & Stewart PC. which represented Thomas in his state Bar hearings and the Maricopa County Sheriff’s Office in numerous matters, was fired by the county in September 2010 after being accused of billing irregularities. The firm is still owed $1.1 million, but the county wants auditors to examine $5 million in billings first.

– Mark Goldman and the law firm of Wilenchik & Bartness PC, which represented Aubuchon, were fired in October 2010, with the accusation that their billings were exorbitant. The county paid them more than $263,000 before the state Bar complaint was filed.
In February 2010, the county agreed to pay for Aubuchon’s and Thomas’ defenses but set a low cap of $100,000 for each. Aubuchon’s attorneys announced that they would work pro bono rather than abide by the cost restriction.

Thomas’ team had neared the $100,000 limit by this June, and Wilson, the former lead attorney, threatened to withdraw when the county balked at paying more money. The county, working through County Attorney Bill Montgomery, agreed to renegotiate, and Wilson and his team stayed on.

“Bar counsel has had five lawyers working full time,” Wilson said. “And they had a year-plus head start on us.”

Those attorneys are paid by the state Bar, which is a quasi-governmental body supported by attorneys’ membership dues.

According to Bar spokesman Rick DeBruhl, the costs of the investigation, the hearing panelists and the attorneys amounted to $426,984 as of September.

Thomas has been represented by a team of four attorneys since before the hearing began.

But Don Wilson, Thomas’ lead attorney, said he was notified last week that the county would not pay for “multiple attorneys at depositions and hearings.”

Wilson declined to give details other than that. According to an Oct. 20 memo from the county’s risk-management department, Thomas was allowed only two attorneys at a time at depositions or hearings.

Maricopa County officials would not answer any questions about the decision not to pay all his attorneys.

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Comments

  1. True Conservative says

    The Stupidvisors have fired or refused to pay FOUR DIFFERENT GROUPS OF ATTORNEYS for Thomas, and are now refusing to pay a FIFTH? Outrageous. Why is Thomas the one being prosecuted, while they all skate as they continue their illegal activities? Seems like it never ends. Every week I hear of more unethical and illegal actions by the Stupidvisors. There’s a reason why he’s called Don “the Don” Stapley.

    Ernest Calderon is a DEMOCRAT and former State Bar president. To fire HIM from representing Thomas reeks to high heaven. Ogletree, Deakins, Nash, Smoak & Stewart PC. is a national law firm with no political affiliations. To accuse them of wrongful billing is really dirty tactics. But the Stupidvisors will come up with anything to terrorize Thomas.

    Warning to everyone out there: Do NOT get involved in this case in any capacity unless you’re on the side of the Stupidvisors. Otherwise they will take you down too, no matter if you are a Democrat or apolitical. We have officially become like Cook County with our own Mafia in the Stupidvisors.

    • True Conservative says

      They were not fired. They walked off the job, a job they knew was limited to $100,000.

      Politics is not at play here, as you acknowlege in pointing out that (R) and (D) have quit this case. Also, being a national law firm does not mean you can’t have irregular billing practices. I know from direct experience.

      Here’s the bottom line: these guys agreed to a price to do a job, and instead of honoring that contract they walked away. Why? Because they are getting their buts kicked and now they want to run as far and as fast as they can to get away from Thomas.

      Thomas played the fool on the stand, as every honest lawyer will tell you, and I can only imagine the anger his lawyers must feel as a consequence.

  2. “The county controls the purse strings and has repeatedly fired attorneys retained by Thomas, Aubuchon and Arpaio, citing cost or misconduct as reasons.”

    Does anyone else find it coincidental that the County Supervisors keep coming up with reasons to fire Thomas’s and Arpaio’s attorneys? Doesn’t pass the smell test.

  3. Court Observer says

    I find it telling that Aubuchon’s attorney, Ed Moriarty, former law partner to Gerry Spence out of Montana, feels so strongly about this case that he has flown to Arizona to represent Aubuchon PRO BONO. Doubt the folks on the other side have any attorney who feels so strongly about their side they are representing them for free.

    • True Conservative says

      I agree. I think the case against Aubuchon is weak. The evidence reveals she was a bit too eager to act in ways that a more seasoned, mature prosecutor would have, but I doubt she will get anything more than a reprimand.

      She should have refused to do the work, as a matter of professional ethics, but I appreciate that we call can’t tell our bosses to go to heck and we call can’t tell the AG that he’s wrong on the law and the facts.

      In retrospect, it is clear the investigation and charges where unethical. In the heat of the moment, so to speak, perhaps less so. I find her somewhat sympathetic.

  4. As an attorney, I find it disgusting that the State Bar has spent $426,984 on what looks to be a political witchhunt against prosecutors simply trying to do their job. I don’t want my Bar dues going for this nonsense. This will have a chilling effect on conservative lawyers considering becoming prosecutors. I will NEVER consider becoming a prosecutor after observing this. I feel bad for Bill Montgomery. He will probably be their next target.

    • True Conservative says

      As a lawyer, I feel the exact opposite.

      As you must certainly agree, the fact that Thomas could not even cite the elements of a bribery case, much less how the facts alligned to those elements, reveals that this was all motivated out his personal animus. If a 1L can do an IRAC narrative, so too should a qualified member of the bar.

      My anger is reserved for Thomas who should have done the honorable thing and negotiated a period of suspension for his obviously bad acts.

  5. True Conservative says

    The FBI showed up during the stupidvisors testimony and their hatchetman David Smith’s testimony. Didn’t show up for anyone else who testified, including Hendershott. ‘Nuff said. Can you say “going away for a very long time….”

  6. Perry Vincent says

    I love the Supervisors’ troll who lurks here in the comments and attacks Thomas and talks self-righteously as if he knows everything about this trial. Thomas couldn’t remember every little nitpicky detail because all these events took place a year and a half ago or more. Could YOU remember every single element of every single crime a couple of years later, and every single little piece of evidence from each crime that was compiled by others? Of course not. Unless you have a photographic memory. Whoever you are, I hope your boss Don Stapley or whoever it is you work for goes down and you do too.

    • True Conservative says

      Not sure who you are talking about, but I know this much: you’re wrong on the facts.

      Thomas was asked a series of simple questions: what are the elements of the crime of bribery? what acts did your political adversaries take that met those elements?

      It wasn’t that he couldn’t give some details – he couldn’t give any details.

      And it wasn’t just recently that he lost his ability to think like a lawyer, on the same day of the charging he was asked why HE filed the charges. He couldn’t give a good answer then, and he didn’t give a good answer now.

      That is because no good reason exists. The question now is just how bad a reason was in play. Was it simply that he was blinded by his hate, or because of his hate he elected to be blind to his duties as an officer of the court?

  7. True Conservative says

    If anyone wants proof the FBI only showed up during the stupidvisors and David Smiths testimony, ask Yvonne Wingett, their close buddy and Republic reporter who tweets the trial. She knows exactly when the FBI was there. @yvonnewingett is her Twitter handle.

  8. So, there are in fact TWO “True Conservatives” posting here?
    Or one with a serious case of schizophrenia.

    No wonder “Conservative TC” gets mad, he gets yelled at for the shenanigans of the false one.

  9. It’s obvious there are two people here using the “True Conservative” handle. One sounds like a conservative the other a Board of Stupidvisor troll. Don’t worry troll, the Stupidvisors will be removed from office and their rein of terror stopped.

    Anyone paying attention to the hearing can see it’s a shame. The Bar is just going through the motions to justify their predetermined outcome. They still have the shill Yvonne wingnutt Sanchez, or should we just call her “dirty Sanchez,” spinning the proceedings like some whirling dervish. Even some at the rag she writes for are starting to get it. But not her. Nothing on the Stapley corruption and the court tower. Testimony has shown Thomas was right! There is something going on. Unfortunately it looks like Stapley will get away with it. Who has the guts to go after him now? Just the voters.

    • The Mole, you are right. The last time I observed such frantic trolling was during the 2008 election season when OFA drones were out in number.

      This witch hunt is ridiculous. Too bad there was no recall for criminal Maricopa County board members. Next election, I want them out!

      And the Arizona Bar Association needs cleaning up too. They don’t deserve this much independence if this is all we get. No wonder our courts are in such shambles.

    • True Conservative says

      No, it’s just one person.

      I’m a conservative when I agree with you, a liberal troll/plant when I don’t? That’s an odd approach.

      I support getting new supervisors. WIlcox particularly needs to go. I’d like to see all five seats have an (R) next to their name.

      What I don’t want is to see is an AG abusing his power to get rid of his political adversaries, and that is what I see here. Why do I care, if I am a conservative? Two reasons: one, if a (D) gets in, I don’t want him thinking this is how we do things in AZ; two, I’m an American and Thomas’ abuse is patently un-American.

      But, you said Thomas got it right. Please educate me: what exact acts broke what precise laws? I promise you this: if you can demonstrate that, I’ll change my position.

  10. Jack Hammer says

    A reading of these posts often pits “True Conservative” against himself!

    Hey guy, are you schizoid?

    Or hoping to be retained by either side?

    • True Conservative says

      LOL – you can’t counter-argue with facts or reason so you’re left with what – ad hominem?

      The truth is far simpler than any conspiracy theory – I’m a traditional conservative. I believe that honor, principles – a personal code, if you will – matters. Just because someone has an (R) next to their name doesn’t mean they get a free pass when they behave poorly. Not every opportunity to take a political shot at the liberals should be taken, especially if it means lying or engaing in less than honorable conduct.

      A lot of people just look to see whether a person has an (R) or a (D) next to their name. A lot of people also suffer from borderline personality disorders.

      • RINOs just look for the money, hence that is why they line up with the open border crowd and fight against those who want tort reform.

  11. A Disgruntled, Disgusted Conservative says

    The ongoing political and professional “execution” of Andrew Thomas, the attempt to remove Russell Pierce from office, and the quest for Joe Arpaio’s scalp along with that of Rob Haney illlustrates one enduring G.O.P. establishment dictum!

    God help any pol or public office holder who crosses our business elites and their “sock puppets” by
    applying the rule of law to immigration. Arizona is just a decade or so away from becoming another
    California but our Ruling Class could care less as long as they can haul in short term profits.

    But that won’t last for long. Demographics and some form of amnesty will probably result in a Democratic political takeover in the not too disant future, and with liberal hegemony, will come
    renewed workplace organization with the hotels, restaurants and fast food joints getting organized labor’s priority, especially after our Right to Work law is either repealed or watered down!

    And in a strange sense this will be poetic justice as the “stupid” party lives up to its well
    earned moniker!

    • I am not so pessimistic, and I think the challenges ahead could be some of this nation’s finest moments. Furthermore, I rather enjoyed seeing the RINOs makes asses (Democrats) of themselves, it is truly a marvelous thing to watch.

  12. True Conservative says

    The RICO complaint Thomas and Arpaio filed against the Supervisors lists their bad acts. http://www.scribd.com/doc/23513901/Maricopa-County-RICO-Complaint
    There are SEVENTY-SIX items complained about. That’s a heck of a lot. Makes my mind spin reading them. Bribery, extortion, hindering prosecution to name a few. Your eyes will glaze over by the time you finish reading the complaint. It is 19 pages long and that is only the first complaint. They amended the complaint later and added more bad acts. I for one am very glad we have law enforcement leaders like Arpaio and Thomas who have the guts to stand up to this kind of corruption, and don’t just sweep it under the rug out of fear of retaliation.

  13. Everything cited in the article stated dates in 2010.

    This is 2011, almost the end of 2011 and the Bar investigation did not begin until 2011.

    So, what’s the real story? Tell us what happened in 2011, not 2010.

    Thanks.

  14. True Conservative says

    Oberserve, you’re joking right? Are you watching the trial? The Bar investigation is looking at everything Thomas and Arpaio did from 2006 to 2010. Thomas left office in early 2010. Nice try though!

  15. GeeGollyMissMolly says

    After watching most of this trial, my opinion changed. Andy Thomas does NOT deserve to lose his bar certification, and the County Commissioners DO need a thorough house cleaning.
    AZ TEA PARTY, you have a job right here at home to address.

  16. Anyone actually taking the time to watch this trial (instead of taking the media’s word for what is going on) will see corruption is very deep in Maricopa county. I applaud Andrew Thomas for being brave enough to be willing to put his political career on the line to try and get rid of it. It should be embarrassing to Maricopa county to have Supervisors and judges like this.Shameful.

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