Bully Pulpit

County Attorney Andy Thomas has not only steered a lot of business to his old law firm, he has hired his old boss to harass Sheriff Joe Arpaio's chief political rival

Wilenchik's letter claims there is nothing afoul about Thomas' working for the law firm in the nine months prior to the election and then, upon winning office, showering his former boss with legal work representing the county.

"There was no 'quid pro quo' related to his being elected at all," Wilenchik states.

If that's the case, then why not disclose Thomas' billable hours, his pay, and examples of pleadings or depositions he conducted while employed with the firm? What's the big deal about that, if, in fact, such tangible work product actually exists?

Wilenchik states in his letter that such information can't be released because it would violate attorney-client privilege. Only the clients, Wilenchik states, could waive that privilege.

"I can assure your readers that Mr. Thomas was indeed employed by our firm as a regular billing attorney and that he handled various large cases involving claims against homebuilders here and in Tucson while employed at my firm," Wilenchik states.

Well, then, Mr. Wilenchik, simply ask the clients to waive their privilege and disclose who Thomas worked for, how much he was paid and how many hours he worked on the cases. Or delete the names of the clients on any documents you provide me and list the billable hours and their dates.

Until Wilenchik and Thomas come clean, the unsavory appearance remains that Wilenchik provided Thomas a cushy job and a fat salary so that he could keep his wife and four kids in clover at the same time he was focused on running a complex political campaign. And that, once elected, Thomas returned the favor by steering lucrative county contracts to Wilenchik.

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