Special Treatment

Is justice for sale? Ask privileged characters like Jerry Colangelo

We all know how Joe Arpaio serves up justice to average schmucks. He proudly shows no mercy. He subjects them to the vilest of conditions. Death and injuries often result.

But it's a different story for the rich and powerful.

If you or yours are in a position to help Outlaw Joe in the future, then you probably don't have to worry about going to Tent City, which Amnesty International lists as one of the worst gulags in the world.

Consider the tale of how defrocked Phoenix sports mogul Jerry Colangelo's drunken daughter was cut a huge break by the evil, old sheriff of Maricopa County.

And about how Colangelo then helped raise $50,000 in one day for Arpaio's reelection campaign.

But before I get into the details of all this, let me put something in perspective.

The nature of Colangelo and Arpaio's relationship got me to thinking. So I acquired hundreds of pages of Arpaio's campaign finance reports and spent a couple of hours plowing through them. Wonder of wonders, I discovered a pattern of numerous campaign contribution violations that appear to have been purposely concealed.

According to the reports, two of Arpaio's top civilian aides, Loretta Barkell and Mary Ellen Sheppard, along with several sheriff's deputies, have contributed more than the maximum $350 allowed during this campaign cycle. They are not alone.

A number of prominent and wealthy individuals, including Geordie Hormel of the meat-packing empire, publisher Hamid Nadjafi, real estate developers Brian Lesk and Joe Martori, venture capitalist Robert Lavinia, title company executive Roy Schneider, Tempe businessman Arthur Kruglick, Phoenix criminal defense attorney Darrow Soll and onetime Republican candidate for attorney general John Kaites, have all contributed more than the maximum $350 allowed under state campaign laws.

The Arpaio campaign irregularities, together with Colangelo's using his power and influence to help Joe after the sheriff went easy on his daughter, should be setting off major public-corruption alarms in the office of Maricopa County Attorney Rick Romley.

So far, there is no indication that Romley is willing to take on Outlaw Joe. Perhaps he's hoping voters will eliminate the problem by following U.S. Senator John McCain's advice and electing retired Mesa police commander Dan Saban in the September 7 Republican primary.

But if Saban falls short, prosecutors should closely examine the events that began shortly after midnight on March 3, 2003, when Jerry Colangelo's then-24-year-old daughter, Mandie Brooke Colangelo, was falling down drunk outside the Z'Tejas restaurant in Scottsdale.

Mandie wasn't just buzzed.

She was trashed.

The recently divorced mother of two was partying the night away with a boyfriend, when things got a little out of hand.

The couple's 10-minute make-out session while leaning against Mandie's black BMW convertible climaxed when they lost their balance and fell to the ground -- where they lay prone another two minutes, says a report by an off-duty Scottsdale police officer who witnessed the incident.

Mall security officers approached the horizontal duo, and they staggered to their feet. Mandie then spent a good 45 seconds trying to unlock the driver's-side door of the Beamer. Finally, she opened the door and sat down behind the wheel.

Two Z'Tejas managers approached the car and asked Mandie not to drive, offering to pay for a cab. Rather than taking them up on the offer, Mandie moved over to the passenger seat and her boyfriend drove the car a short distance and parked.

Mandie then got out of the passenger seat and walked toward the driver's door, when she fell down again. Her boyfriend helped her up, and she got behind the wheel.

At this point, a Scottsdale police cruiser pulled into the parking lot, but not before Mandie decided to drive away. The Z'Tejas managers and the off-duty cop frantically waved at Mandie, trying to get her to stop driving.

But she kept on going. Mandie made a dangerous turn onto Camelback Road, crossing three lanes in the process. She was pulled over moments later by Scottsdale police. An officer asked for her driver's license, which she couldn't find.

Mandie agreed to take a field sobriety test. She failed miserably. A preliminary breath test revealed she was well above the .08 blood alcohol limit. Mandie was arrested, handcuffed and taken to a hospital for a blood test.

The results showed Mandie Brooke Colangelo was nearly three times the legal limit with a blood alcohol content of .238 percent.

She was charged with extreme DUI and four other counts. She was looking at at least 10 days in Outlaw Joe's nasty jail.

Mandie pleaded guilty to extreme DUI on May 23, 2003. The other four counts were dropped. She was sentenced to 11 days in jail and $1,287 in fines, jail costs and assessments.

She reported to be incarcerated at 9 a.m. May 27, 2003.

But the daughter of the man who brought us Charles Barkley, Randy Johnson and a World Series championship didn't go to Arpaio's hellhole Estrella jail -- where the court ordered her to report.

Several law enforcement sources tell me that Mandie reported to Joe's secret jail. Maricopa County detention officers call it the "Mesa Hilton." I call it the Glen Campbell Unit -- in honor of the country singer who spent 10 cushy days there in July before throwing his Tent City concert that garnered Outlaw Joe worldwide publicity.

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