So let's review.

Judge Burke unceremoniously tossed out the $171 million verdict against Conley Wolfswinkel.

The losers in that decision believed that Don Stapley may have been a factor. And, they were actively raising money for Andrew Thomas — even as Thomas began to develop the case that would indict Stapley on 118 counts.

And here's the icing on the cake.

When Thomas held a press conference to announce the charges against Stapley, he made Wolfswinkel Exhibit A. Never mind that Wolfswinkel was accused of no wrongdoing in his dealings with Stapley. The press release from Thomas actually trumpets Wolfswinkel's involvement — and his past — in the very first paragraph. So it's not just the timing of the indictment that's odd; the emphasis on Wolfswinkel is odd, too.

Perhaps Thomas has a good answer for all this. But it's impossible to say what it could be; he didn't respond to several messages seeking comment.


The question of who triggered Thomas and Arpaio's investigation would be less important if the charges against Stapley weren't so petty. In essence, the supervisor is facing 118 criminal counts — most of them felonies — for failing to disclose his business' real estate dealings. In most places, that would earn you a slap on the wrist, not years in prison.

And so the question is, why would Thomas throw the book at Stapley for an infraction that half the officials in the county have probably committed at one point or another?

Indeed, even Sheriff Joe Arpaio has made a mistake or two on his forms. My investigation of county records shows that Arpaio:

• Failed to disclose his acquisition of two commercial properties in April 1995. Arpaio paid $250,000 cash and later had the court seal documents related to their acquisition. (New Times writer John Dougherty first reported the acquisition in this newspaper; Arpaio never listed it on his public disclosure forms.)

• Failed to disclose the April 1996 sale of a rental property on Indian School Road in Phoenix.

• Failed to disclose the November 2000 purchase of a Fountain Hills condo. County records show Arpaio again paid cash. He disclosed the sale of the condo on his forms covering the year 2001, but never listed the purchase on his year 2000 forms.

Lisa Allen MacPherson, a spokeswoman for the Sheriff's Office, e-mailed me in December to say that Arpaio "has and is complying with regulations regarding Arizona financial disclosure statements."

That's hardly a convincing rebuttal. But Arpaio undoubtedly has nothing to worry about. He and Thomas are a team, and — whether it's investigating Attorney General Terry Goddard, siccing an "independent" prosecutor on New Times, or fighting the Board of Supervisors, they're going to do it together.

Thomas has been willing to fight just about anyone over anything. Even now, after he indicted one of their own, he's threatened the board of supervisors over their audacity to ask a lawyer for advice. (The supervisors, to their credit, ignored Thomas and hired his archenemy, former county attorney and fellow Republican Rick Romley, to do the job.)

But there's no way Thomas is going to take on Sheriff Joe, no matter how many mistakes he's made in his disclosure forms.

Not even, I suspect, if Leo Beus begged him to do it.

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10 comments
Maricopa County Audit needed o
Maricopa County Audit needed o

How does the maricopa county sheriff's office not get audited in 12 years? Let's see a list of those culprits. Slash the PR budget in the MCSO and MCAO office's. They are using our taxpayer dollars to destroy US!! Wake up people!!

Maricopa County Audit needed o
Maricopa County Audit needed o

How does the maricopa county sheriff's office not get audited in 12 years? Let's see a list of those culprits. Slash the PR budget in the MCSO and MCAO office's. They are using our taxpayer dollars to destroy US!! Wake up people!!

WarPig
WarPig

This is not the first time that Stapley has been investigated, and it was before Andrew Thomas was even in office. I think the Times might have a little "skin in the game" given their past with Thomas and Arpaio. While the Times' anti-Arpaio/Thomas stance might be justified, can they really write an unbiased article about what is going on with Stapely. Why not look into some of the land deals between Conley, via his puppets: Brandon, Ashton, Candice etc., and Stapely, instead of just saying they are old high school buddies.

david saint is disgusted at th
david saint is disgusted at th

while the rest of the country is moving forward, AZ is taking 100 steps back. While i know it would probably only take one person in a position higher than theirs to take these 2 clowns to court, i fear no one ever will and the reign of terror and fascism will only increase. I once hoped that incoming president Obama and staff might take a serious look at him, but with all thats going on in the country with financial meltdowns, etc, i think its going to take a long time before anyone does something about these 2. Its really a travesty, but in this day and age not something new. Lets face it, while the reality show probably will suck like a van buren hooker, its going to get him fans becuase they just dont know the real deal behind him..mostly because anytime someone here locally prints it or just speaks about it, they end up investigated or arrested on some charge they arent convicted of anyways..thats where the disgust comes into play..a sheriff and DA in NC both got in trouble for doing similar things (DA on the Duke case, and the sheriff for saying some borderline racial comments), and they got press for the negativity..yet arpaio and thomas have done much worse yet NOTHING...why????? if we can answer that question (and dont tell me the 400k a year PR team..they suck so bad they make hookers jealous by comparison) then maybe we'd figure out why its gone on for so long with out so much as a freakin audit of county money in 12 YEARS!!!

marvin
marvin

Again the only place you can turn to for the whole story and the truth is the PHoenix New Times.Thank you for this very informative article I am just wondering what it is going to take to get the Arpaio and Thomas followers to see the light,? Certainly figures that a bunch of crooked slimey lawyers would put money in his campaign, who else?

Coz
Coz

And to think that the majority of voters in Arizona approve of these 2 morons since they were just re-elected...

Sure doesn't say much for the mentality of Maricopa County residents.

Seems Arizona thrives, respects and looks up to Corrupt Politicians.

Pretty sad...

TimeToGoJoe
TimeToGoJoe

Integrity of a man is tested when he is confronted with double standards. Should Andrew Thomas ignore Arpaio's faulty financial disclosures when prosecuting Stapley for the same thing, it will completely and without question demonstrate that Mr. Thomas does not have the integrity required to be out county attorney. In this office, absolute integrity should be and must be a requirement. Apparently, all Thomas and Arpaio need to start an investigation is a "tip." Have they got a tip on Arpaio's financial disclosres yet? We know that Arpaio does not read the papers and believes they should be trashed. Maybe there is not knowledge about Arpaio's alleged faulty disclosures without an "official tip."

There are numerous examples of Mr. Thomas appearing to not have the required integrity to be county attorney. This article and many others in this and other publications demonstrate a lesson to all. If you are cross-ways with Thomas, you will be investigated and at best, it will cost you a lot of money.

observer
observer

This is unacceptable and totally inappropriate behavior for a County Attorney.

Excerpt from article: "The same week that sheriff's deputies pulled Stapley's disclosure forms, Beus and his partner, Paul Gilbert, threw a fundraiser for Andrew Thomas at Gilbert's home.

Sheriff's deputies started investigating Don Stapley's financial disclosure forms just a few weeks after his connections with Conley Wolfswinkel were raised in a court hearing.

Subject(s):Don Stapley, Conley Wolfswinkel --The people contributing the maximum amount to Thomas' campaign include Beus, Gilbert, a host of lawyers from the firm that handled their case against Wolfswinkel, and at least three other investors who were burned by Judge Burke's verdict."

And they think Illinois is corrupt?? Sarah, keep on digging. You are very courageous and to be commended. We thank you very much.

State of Fear AZ
State of Fear AZ

Sarah, outstanding investigative work. You and Phoenix New Times are doing a great public service keeping us informed and connecting the dots of the corruption in Arizona. Stapley should be given the presumption of innocence until the facts are presented. It looks like you presented the facts on Thomas' lawyer and his connections.

When are we going to see the Arizona Bar v Thomas? Abuse of power by an attorney who has no ethics should be punished, for violating the public trust and exploiting the people. The policies Thomas has created should be used against him, like zero tolerance, mandatory minimum sentencing - 10 years flat time first offense on a plea bargain, if he dares take his case to trial, he should get a million years like others who dare go to trial.

It's time to save the community from the County Attorney and Sheriff. They are out of control.

Coz
Coz

If it looks like shit, smells like shit and walks like shit, it must be Candy Dandy Thomas and Bozo Joe Arpaio.

What a couple of corrupt scumbags these 2 are.

 
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