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County Supervisor Don Stapley made a killing on a shady development and sank the profits into a mansion. Then he told the tax assessor to value his estate at $863,000 -- while listing it for sale at $2.5 million.

After a while, Walker's and Stapley's tendency to blame others for Stapley's legal and ethical problems begins to sound like a broken record: The property-tax consultant filed the appeal without my knowledge; Ed Ricketts hates Mormons; Kathy Stapley ran up a big credit card debt; Edythe Jensen wants to embarrass the Mormon Church.

Such behavior has generated distaste in political circles.

"I don't like Don Stapley. . . . It's [business practices] very repulsive to me," says one prominent East Valley elected official who asked not to be identified.

Near the conclusion of the interview in his office, Stapley says he "understands" why his actions invite scrutiny.

"But trust me and believe me there was no ill-gotten gains. There was no scheme on my part, I promise you that. I've got my neck out a country mile on this [Arcadia house] investment. I put a whole lot of eggs in one basket and I'm taking a big risk because it is not a cheap house to live in. I'm not comfortable, personally," he says.

"I can afford to live there," he quickly adds.

"But it's just not my style. It's an investment."

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