The threatened recall, too, never came close to happening. The anti-immigration yahoos behind that plan couldn't even gather enough signatures to submit petitions to the city clerk — much less make it on the ballot. Why this would require Mullany's company to be paid a lump sum of $20,000, as was the case in May 2009, is beyond me.

The only thing that makes sense, really, is that Mullany needed the money.

Even though he's mayor of the fifth-largest city in the country and puts in a frenetic workweek, Gordon is hardly wealthy. The mayor earned just $88,000 last year — far less than most big-city mayors.

Phil Gordon is fishing off the campaign pier.
Photo Illustration
Phil Gordon is fishing off the campaign pier.

And some evidence in the public record suggests that Mullany isn't in great financial shape herself. Her estranged husband, James Mullany, works for former Phoenix Mayor Paul Johnson. (Johnson is also, incidentally, Gordon's regular jogging partner and the man who performed the nuptials when Gordon married his soon-to-be-ex-wife in 1993.)

Capitol One recently won a $12,180 judgment against James Mullany when he failed to pay on his credit card. The state also filed a tax lien against the Mullanys two months ago for $2,092.

And while it isn't illegal for Gordon to have helped Mullany out, as long as she did the work, it still makes some experts queasy.

Levinthal, the spokesman for the Center for Responsive Politics, said that the facts as described raise concerns.

"At the very least, it raises questions about the motivation of the [mayor]," he said. "Public service at its core should be about the public — not enriching the person running for office or their friends."

Rose, Gordon's PR guy, stresses that all the money involved is private — that no tax dollars have been spent on Mullany. But Levinthal says that hardly lets Gordon off the hook.

"Political campaigns are run to win office," he says. "They shouldn't be a slush fund for your buddies."

Or, for that matter, one very special buddy.

I broke the story of all these expenses last Tuesday on our Valley Fever blog not because I was dying to write it, but because Jason Rose forced my hand. Rose may be new to working for Gordon, but he's no novice when it comes to scandal. This guy knows what he's doing.

Indeed, some readers' first reaction to the story wasn't surprise at Gordon's actions — it was surprise that he'd hop into bed with Rose.

Rose, after all, isn't just a Republican who mainly works for other Republicans. He's also Sheriff Joe Arpaio's PR guy. Arpaio has been dying to find dirt on Gordon ever since the mayor courageously denounced his immigration sweeps last year. Yet now they suddenly share a public relations man?

But the move, while outwardly a head-scratcher, was actually pretty smart. For one thing, if anyone can talk Sheriff Joe out of investigating the payments to Mullany, it's Rose.

For another, Rose has already managed to trick the Arizona Republic into totally botching the story.

I'd been working on a story about Mullany and Gordon for about a week when suddenly, last Tuesday, what should pop into my in-box but an e-mail from Rose, kindly filling the competition in on information I had worked painstakingly to develop. Wow, I thought. The Republic will be all over this tomorrow; by the time I can get this in the print edition, it'll be a week old.

I needn't have worried.

In his e-mail, Rose focused on the commissions that Gordon appointed Mullany to. Yes, the two were romantically involved, he wrote. And, yes, he appointed her to three city commissions — one of them after the affair began.

"Out of an abundance of caution," Rose wrote, the mayor had asked City Attorney Gary Verburg to review the appointments. (To be fair, Rose also asked a former Arizona Supreme Court justice to review the payments to Mullany. That matter is still under review.)

When Verburg issued his opinion just one day later, there was no problem with the mayor's action. "Gordon cleared," trumpeted the Republic. Well, naturally: Gordon only asked the city attorney about the commission appointments.

But that was far from the real story.

The real story is the money: the $104,000 through the federal political action committee, the $26,000 through the campaign finance committee, the $10,000 through the committee attempting to change the charter, and, finally, the $12,000 from the trade initiative.

The Republic obviously doesn't get it, but this one comes down to the math.

The usual fee for a fundraiser is 15 percent of whatever they manage to raise. That's what Mullany's company earned from the Global Trade Initiative; that's also, I'm told, what it charges the Downtown Phoenix Partnership.

But in the past two years, Gordon has paid Mullany's company $140,000 from his three campaign committees — even as the three committees collectively raised just $267,861 during that time.

That's not 15 percent. That's 52 percent.

See what I mean about a money problem?


I can hardly blame the Republic for putting its first story about Mayor Gordon's girlfriend on the Valley & State page. Last week was a big week for news in Maricopa County — and that's putting it mildly.

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Wow.....another Mark Sanford!! Run off with your mistress/sex buddy while the wife runs the show. Sadly they are both dishonest and not forthcoming with the truth to the public. Just ask the right people. This relationship has been going on much longer than he/she states. Two more families hurt again by a sex scandal. Officially today, 12/09, they are BOTH still married. She has benefited way too much $. Where's Sheriff Joe? There needs to be an investigation BIG TIME.


gorden is just another liberal whore master who's' sanctuary policy has made phoenix the kidnap capital of America.

Chris Long
Chris Long

Gee, we have Arpaio, Thomas, Gordon, Napolitano, Romley, Symington, Meacham, DeConcini et al.

Anyone, uh 9ahem) notice a trend therein in Az politics and law ?

Ya'll are trying to plink away at this with a BB gun, when what's needed is the biggest bore scattergun you can get...


Sarah is right on with this story.

Maltese Falcon
Maltese Falcon

This story is comical. It has irrelevant facts uses useless facts to draw conclusions. More comical is Fenske criticizing the legitimate daily and saying she was developing this story. That is complete BS. Fenske trolls record requests made by the Arizona Republic and then requests the same information. Because she does not have to use sources or facts, she just writes whatever she wants by objectifying her conclusions beforehand. She comes up with a headline and then makes things up to write the story around the headline.

And for her to be crirical of someone who benefitted from a significant other? Hello pot meet the kettle. I saw Fenske making out with the publisher of her own paper at the Arizona Press Awards dinner a couple of years ago. So it seems she was benefitting financially from her boyfriend, who apparently dumped her.


So is the lady his mistress and Gordon her sugar daddy since they are not divorced form their respective spouses?

Buzzcut Barbie
Buzzcut Barbie

Well at least Gordon isnt fucking Thelda Williams, at least that would be disgusting. His current chick is a bit hefty, but hes 58- beggars cant be choosers.

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