A Goodyear Family's Suit Against Jack Rose Claims He Lined His Own Pockets Instead of Developing Their Property

For a time, Jack Rose was the most notorious person in Arizona government.

I know, I know: You've never heard of him. But even if he's forgotten, the damage was clearly done. Rose's selfish actions not only left the taxpayers on the hook for an unprecedented $60 million jury verdict, but also ended the career of the politician stupid enough to hire him. Arizona Corporation Commissioner Jim Irvin had been a rising star in GOP circles, but by the time Rose was done with him, Irvin was forced to resign from office just to avoid impeachment.

The fascinating thing is that Commissioner Irvin's chief misdeed — interfering with the sale of a huge utility that he was supposedly regulating — didn't net him a penny. Irvin wasn't trying to get rich. He was just trying to help his buddy and former employee, Jack Rose, who'd set himself up to make millions if the utility was sold to an Oklahoma firm instead of one in Pennsylvania. Unlike Irvin, Rose did want to get rich . . . and he was willing to screw utility company shareholders, Arizona ratepayers, and the principles of good government to do it.

Jack Rose, back when New Times last had reason to write about him.
Jack Rose, back when New Times last had reason to write about him.

Even though Rose's scheme ended in debacle, he was never punished for it. The report recommending Irvin's impeachment, penned by a former U.S. Attorney, is devastating in its details of Rose's machinations, but he was never indicted. Nor did he ever suffer much of a financial penalty.

With a history like that, you'd think Jack Rose would never work in this town again. You'd think, among politicians, he'd be radioactive.


Today, just five years after Commissioner Irvin was forced to resign, Rose can count plenty of friends in high places. He's been a major backer of David Schweikert, the Republican candidate for the East Valley congressional seat held by Harry Mitchell. Rose, his employees, and relatives have kicked in a combined $21,200 to Schweikert's campaign, and he calls Schweikert a "friend." (Though Schweikert resists that label, his campaign says it appreciates Rose's support.)

And sources tell me that Rose has become something of a kingmaker in the West Valley. He's been a generous donor to suburban politicians of every stripe. At least twice, he flew several Goodyear city officials on a chartered private jet. Also in Goodyear, one of his businesses hired the mayor's wife; in another, he signed up a councilman as his partner.

As it turns out, in the wake of the Irvin scandal, Jack Rose set out for the fertile farmland of southwestern Maricopa County. His grandfather was a homesteader there back in the day, he explains.

There, Rose persuaded landowners to entrust him with selling and/or developing their property. He also made friends with plenty of politicians.

But while Rose lived high for a while — see: that private jet — some people in the West Valley believe that his empire may be headed for collapse.

The catalyst for much of the chatter is a lawsuit filed last month by a prominent Goodyear family, Rose's former business partners. Their suit says they trusted Rose when he promised to develop their property. Instead, they claim, he lined his own pockets, to the point that the project is now in bankruptcy.

And this isn't just any project. It's Major League Baseball — specifically, spring training stadiums for the Cleveland Indians and Cincinnati Reds.

I talked to nearly a dozen people with connections in the West Valley, and combed through a host of documents related to Rose and his business dealings. I also got a chance to talk to Rose.

What I found was a case of déjà vu, with Rose once again cleverly calling the shots.

The big difference: This time, everyone involved should have known better.

Siblings Ken, Pug, and Margaret Wood grew up in a 240-acre farm at the corner of Estrella Parkway and McDowell Road in Goodyear. Adjacent to the Phoenix-Goodyear Airport, the area became posh suburbia overnight.

In 2004, the Woods hired Rose and his company, now called Civica, to help them cash in.

And so you'd assume that when the city of Goodyear selected the Wood farm as the spot for spring training facilities for two major-league teams, the family got rich.

In fact, while stadium construction continues, the $38 million loan that Rose arranged for the development is in default. In August, the Woods' limited liability company filed for bankruptcy.

Not surprisingly, the Woods blame Rose. They're suing him as part of the bankruptcy proceedings, alleging that he fraudulently concealed the true cost of the project, breached their agreements and his fiduciary duty, and was negligent.

The language is harsh: "Jack Rose and the Civica Entities breached the trust the Wood Entities placed in them. [Rose and Civica] negotiated and agreed to terms in the City Agreements with the City of Goodyear that are detrimental to the Wood Entities, commercially unreasonable, and in breach of the Civica Entities' obligation to manage the development in good faith."

Here's the kicker.

"Jack Rose caused the Wood Entities to agree to these terms not because they were in the Wood Entities' best interests," the suit says, "but because they satisfied Jack Rose's own selfish interests."

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Civiterra was the only company lining it's pockets. Jack and John did have the right people on the job, except Civiterra, and the Wood's are blaming Jack for a bad economy. Unfortunately, Jack trusted Civiterra and got burned for it.


I find this story amazing because if you have lived on the west side as long as we have you read and hear stories about the people that are movers and shakers. There was a story every other week in our local paper about Jack Rose buying land EVERYWHERE around the west valley. The paper always quoted him and his company President John Ruggieri how they were going to do all this construction and bring jobs. I think Jack Rose and John Ruggieri had something close to 40 properties totaling millions of dollars in less than two years. Jack Rose and John Ruggieri were west valley Gods. On all those properties they owned you need to find out what happened to those properties, find out who the investors were and I'll bet you will see many local and familiar names. I remember hearing that Jack and John were taking peoples money, buying properties in their names then borrowing money on the value of the land they now owned with investors money and purchased more land before the market tanked. Find out what collateral Jack Rose and John Ruggieri were using and you might find it was the land purchased by the people in the west valley as an investment made by hard earned money which was earned throughout a lifetime of hard and honest farm work.

Better people smarter than me need to stop these people and give back to these families. Jack Rose and John Ruggieri need to be given 10 to 20 for some alone time to reflect what they have done.

Aj Rierson
Aj Rierson

I can't believe this article about Jack Rose. I met with him in Buckeye after getting a handful of calls from him. He wanted me to invest in several of his companies all the while telling me about how he represents all of the wealthy farmer/land owners of the Buckeye/Goodyear west valley. This man was so arrogant and smug that he scared the hell out of me. I feel sorry for those poor Woods and everyone else who he talked into entrusting their wealth to this man. He is bad news and he needs to be criminally liable for what he has done to people. Remember what your parents told you, if it sounds to good to be true... it is.

beverly moore
beverly moore

I think that you might find that Jack Rose has also placed the Avondale Mayor in a job with his bank that she has absolutly no qualifications to perform in, or any related financial back ground. You also might look into his relationship with the politically intrenched Miranda Brothers. I remember your paper running an article in which Rose claimed he was financially ruined.

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