Say No to Joe

Voters have the best chance ever of kicking Outlaw Joe to the curb on September 7.

When I started investigating his real estate ventures, I was surprised to see that nearly all of his property records were sealed at the Maricopa County Recorder's Office. There is no way to determine who he bought his holdings from, how much cash he put down, if there are any liens on the property, and whether he paid fair market value.

The limited records I did find reveal that Outlaw Joe has sunk more than $800,000 in cash into three real estate investments in the last few years. Not bad for a guy making $72,000 a year plus a federal pension.

What happened was, Outlaw Joe got his commercial real estate records sealed through a provision in the law that allows peace officers to keep their personal address and telephone number secret. The law is intended to protect cops from stalkers.

But Arpaio has gone far beyond sealing the address of his private residence from public scrutiny. He has extended this exemption to all his commercial real estate holdings. I've asked Arpaio to provide me copies of all his property records, but he has refused.

In July, New Times asked Maricopa County Superior Court presiding Judge Colin Campbell to unseal the records, while keeping secret personal information. (The address of his personal residence is on public documents all over the place, by the way, so why is he hiding the locations of commercial property he owns?)

Campbell rejected our motion on August 17, clearing the way for Arpaio to continue to expand his commercial real estate without public scrutiny.

This is clearly a dangerous precedent and opens the door for corruption. Who is going to know whether Outlaw Joe is receiving property in exchange for favors?

We already know that Arpaio proffers upscale jail space for those who can provide financial benefits to his political campaign.

And we know that his campaign routinely accepts illegal contributions.

I only have space enough here to skim the surface of the skulduggery that Arpaio has spawned over his 12 years in office. Over time, something that prosecutors can't ignore is bound to ooze up.

But rather than wait for a drawn-out legal battle to dislodge Outlaw Joe from office, the surest way to end his reign of terror as Maricopa County Sheriff is to kick him to the curb on September 7.

It's up to you.


This just in: Outlaw Joe's so obsessed with keeping his jails jammed that he'll dispatch deputies to nearby prisons to arrest already-incarcerated inmates and toss them in Maricopa County's overcrowded lockups.

That's what happened last weekend to former Meat Puppets bassist Cris Kirkwood.

Kirkwood, 43, was sentenced August 2 to 21 months in federal prison after pleading guilty to assault with a deadly weapon. The charge stemmed from a bizarre incident last December 26 when Kirkwood got into an altercation with a security guard at the downtown Phoenix post office.

At one point, Kirkwood struck the security officer in the head. Moments later, the guard shot Kirkwood in the back, seriously wounding the local rock star.

His girlfriend, musician Ruth Wilson, says Kirkwood is partially paralyzed, can barely stand up and needs a wheelchair.

But Kirkwood's disability didn't matter to Outlaw Joe's deputies, who appeared at the federal detention facility in Florence about 2 a.m. Friday, August 27, and arrested Kirkwood for violating the probation he had received after an earlier drug conviction.

Rather than simply transporting Kirkwood to a court appearance to deal with the probation issue, Arpaio's goobers tossed the handicapped musician into the notorious "horseshoe" inside Madison Street Jail -- where he was forced to stand with scores of other detainees jammed into the holding cell over the weekend.

Wilson says she repeatedly called the jail and begged them to give Kirkwood a wheelchair. They hung up on her.

Kirkwood remains in Arpaio's pen pending his September 3 probation-revocation hearing.

Wilson says she's planning a free all-ages concert over Labor Day weekend to encourage voters to back Dan Saban in the September 7 primary. For the time and location, contact blueruinruth@yahoo.com.

E-mail john.dougherty@newtimes.com, or call 602-229-8445.

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