PUBLIC RECORDS PAYDAY

It's a unique day in the annals of New Times-MCSO relations when Sheriff Joe Arpaio cuts this paper a check. But that's what our geriatric top gendarme just did, to the tune of $40,000.

The check was actually for legal fees expended by New Times in the pursuit of public records requested by ex-New Times reporter John Dougherty in 2004. (And, technically, county Board of Supervisors chairman Don Stapley and clerk Fran McCarroll signed on Arpaio's behalf.)

Um, Joe Arpaio himself stops by New Times' offices to present a $40K check to former staff writer and current U.S. Senate candidate John Dougherty (middle) and Village Voice Media Executive Editor Michael Lacey.
jamie peachey
Um, Joe Arpaio himself stops by New Times' offices to present a $40K check to former staff writer and current U.S. Senate candidate John Dougherty (middle) and Village Voice Media Executive Editor Michael Lacey.

Dougherty, now a candidate in the Democratic primary to determine a challenger for Republican U.S. Senator John McCain (assuming McCain gets past GOP rival J.D. Hayworth), left New Times in 2006.

But in 2004, he was hard on Joe's ancient heels and had submitted numerous requests to the MCSO seeking information about such matters as a jail death, jail canteen funds, and the MCSO's East Mesa facility (otherwise known as the "Mesa Hilton," for its use in housing such high-profile former offenders as Glen Campbell and the daughter of sports mogul Jerry Colangelo).

The MCSO's highly paid public relations unit, headed by Joe's top flack, Lisa Allen, and her Stepin Fetchit, the infamously aggro Lieutenant Paul Chagolla (who has since been named a deputy chief), stonewalled Dougherty's lawful inquiries.

No doubt they were annoyed by a scathing profile of Arpaio that Dougherty had just written. Arpaio actually sat for an interview for the story, but the results were hardly salutary for Joe, who was then facing a challenge in the GOP primary from former Mesa PD Commander Dan Saban, then a Republican.

Arpaio would go on to pull out a victory over Saban, getting 56 percent of the vote. At the time, Dougherty's piece hit the sheriff square in the jaw. And Dougherty was going back for second and third punches

In fact, in a separate investigation, he was also seeking records on Arpaio's land deals, the addresses for which had been blacked out on public records. The sheriff had sunk about $800,000 in cash into the purchases, a load of dough for a civil servant to be throwing around.

That inquiry would eventually spawn an MCSO investigation of New Times and Dougherty that led to the bogus 2007 arrests of the papers' founders, Village Voice Media Executive Editor Michael Lacey and CEO Jim Larkin, in a witch hunt that was dropped and repudiated by then-County Attorney Andrew Thomas less than 24 hours after they were collared.

But that was all yet to come. In 2004, Dougherty was dogging the MCSO, demanding the jail records. Days before the September 2004 primary, Dougherty ran into Lisa Allen at a downtown press event for Saban, which she evidently was monitoring for her boss.

Dougherty asked about the public records, and Allen told him that the MCSO didn't recognize New Times as a "legitimate newspaper."

When Dougherty told Allen that, under Arizona law, the MCSO had to comply, she shot back, "So sue us!"

Which shortly thereafter, New Times legal beagles Steve Suskin and Michael Meehan did, but not before Arpaio's goons got the opportunity to manhandle Dougherty. This occurred on the night of the primary at the Phoenix Civic Plaza ballroom, rented for the evening by the county elections department.

Arpaio was there, celebrating his win over Saban, and Dougherty approached him with his tape recorder at the ready, asking Joe when he planned to cough up the documents.

"Will you get rid of this guy?!" Arpaio snarled to his goon squad, whose members promptly bent Dougherty's arm behind his back and shuffled him to the door.

Outside the entrance, Dougherty immediately ran into Paul Chagolla.

"That was the first time I met him," recalled Dougherty when he came by New Times' offices for a photo shoot with an oversize replica of the $40K check. "So I go, 'You're Paul Chagolla? When are you gonna give us the records.' He turns around, and he claims that I brushed his shoulder with my tape recorder. And [the MCSO] opened a criminal investigation for assault based on that."

Though it was Dougherty who'd obviously been assaulted that night.

In any case, as you might expect, Chagolla's "investigation" came to nothing.

As for the public-records request, not long after New Times filed suit the MCSO finally began complying with the multiple requests. But because the MCSO's willful disregard of Arizona public-records law forced us to sue, New Times sought attorney fees related to the case.

The county's Superior Court ruled in the MCSO's favor in 2005. New Times appealed the decision. In 2008, a three-judge state appeals court — after receiving the lame, nonsensical excuses that Allen and Chagolla offered in depositions — found that the MCSO wrongfully denied New Times public records and remanded the case to Superior Court to determine the fees New Times had coming.

Fast-forward two years, and an evidentiary hearing on the matter was swiftly approaching. That's when New Times co-counsel Meehan gets a call from one of Arpaio's many lawyers, Michelle Iafrate, asking how much the paper would settle for.

Irony of ironies, Iafrate is the same lawyer who had a hissy fit that New Times reporter Ray Stern dared to take photos (which is absolutely legal) of some of the public documents he was examining at her offices in 2007. Iafrate whined to the MCSO, and Joe's thugs delivered a citation for disorderly conduct to Stern the same night that Lacey and Larkin were arrested.

The charges against Stern were ultimately dropped, natch. But why would Iafrate not keep fighting New Times' request for legal fees in the Dougherty matter?

Could it be a little thing called a federal grand jury? You know, the one that's currently investigating the MCSO and Joe on criminal abuse-of-power charges?

"From a guy [like Arpaio] that's never given us the time of day, why did they not want to have this hearing?" asked New Times lawyer Suskin. "Maybe because it was a hearing to make a judicial finding on whether or not they deal in bad faith with people. And maybe they didn't want to have that determination."

Especially not with that federal grand jury impaneled. Add to it the fact that MCSO attorneys are facing an oral argument later this month at the 9th Circuit Court of Appeals in a lawsuit filed by New Times against the sheriff in the Lacey-Larkin arrests, and you can see why the MCSO just wanted to pay $40K to make this thing over the lawyer fees go away.

As with all settlements involving Arpaio — like the county's $43 million-plus in payouts over wrongful deaths and other malfeasance involving Joe's jails — taxpayers pick up the tab. Arpaio never has to dip into his own pocket.

Asked about the $40K check, New Times co-founder Michael Lacey noted the bigger picture.

"It's about a 1 percent down payment on what it's cost for us to get public records that ought to be available for free," he told me. "We've spent a ton of money in legal fees [over the years] trying to obtain public documents. In the case, for example, of elections we were covering, the records don't get released 'til years after the election occurs. And the people that suffered from that are the voters."

Still, never did a $40,000 check seem so sweet.

BRATT'S BET

Hollywood actor Benjamin Bratt told me that he and his brother, director Peter Bratt, considered boycotting appearing in Arizona to promote their new film La Mission — they've denounced Sand Land's new "papers, please" legislation and the state's new ethnic-studies ban — but decided to come anyway.

"The unconstitutional law encourages racial profiling, endangers public safety, and betrays our most basic American values," the brothers, both sons of a Peruvian-born immigrant mother, stated about 1070 on their film's Facebook page. The movie opens Friday, June 11, at area theaters.

"We did consider a boycott," said Bratt when we spoke this week. "But, as artists, it's our responsibility on some level to give support where we can. And if the encouragement we're receiving on our Facebook page is any indication, 90 percent of the people writing in [agree]."

Bratt describes the film as "a cinematic love letter" to lowrider culture and the diverse San Francisco Mission District, where he and his brother grew up. The film follows Bratt's character, Che Rivera, a tough ex-con challenged emotionally by the homosexuality of his only son, a scholar heading for college at UCLA.

I don't have the space in this column to give the film all the props it deserves, but suffice it to say that La Mission beautifully evokes Latino culture, which despite its challenges and heartbreak, is shown to be centered on family, spirituality, cultural pride, and love.

"All of us desire to have a sense of belonging and a sense of being needed," said Bratt, adding, "It doesn't matter if you're white or black or yellow or red or brown. If you see that up on the screen, you get that, yeah, we are all the same . . . The film demonstrates that to people who may not understand Latino culture at all."

Bratt, his brother, and comedian/talk-show host George Lopez, a pal of the Bratts' and a supporter of the film, will attend a Q&A session following La Mission's showing at the AMC Arizona Center at 7 p.m. along with United Farm Workers co-founder and legend Dolores Huerta. Their appearance at the AMC Arizona Center is for a fundraiser to aid such local Hispanic advocacy groups as Puente and Somos America.

The brothers Bratt will also appear for a Q&A following the 8:45 p.m. show at Harkins Arizona Mills. You can get all the details on my Feathered Bastard blog, plus read more of my interview with Bratt there.

I'm glad the Bratts will be here, because a boycott of Arizona doesn't have to mean boycotting those fighting the vicious, unprecedented hate directed at Hispanics in this state. And, perhaps, if some of those with ill will in their hearts see the movie, it will help put a human face on a now-stigmatized minority, and reveal that they are as "American" as it comes.

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39 comments
R_Nutts
R_Nutts

Sheriff Joe and all the great LEO's that enforce the laws of Arizona are the best. If your speeding, pay the fine. If you get stopped speeding and can not show a proper driver license,insurance and registration when ask, pay the fine and go to jail if need be. I hope Sheriff Joe runs again, gets re-elected (for sure) and after that someone gets elected that is even tougher (if that is possible). I salute MCSO and the Pinal County Sheriff and his fine dept.. Cochise County Sheriff Dept. is also doing a super job.

HAHA
HAHA

I love when JOE just forks over Taxpayer Money. Oh , im half Mexican so I shouldn't really care cause I probably don't Pay Taxes . RIGHT.....

Annreply
Annreply

wahoooooooooo , now just tell me if the $40000 came out his own pocket??this must have killed him. Of course no other news spoke of this. he msut have paid them to keep it quiet, just go on about illegals blah balh blah,

roni
roni

so what if he did no one is going to do any thing about it you all just love to to repeat and do nothing you all love Joe

MBA
MBA

TRIPLEXXXFACTOR, I read most of your comments... It's all about racist.AZ is my home and we have a great community combined with white, black and brown skins. We get along well and here you are stiring up your racism thought. All your posted is pointed direct at you as the one who is the racist.

TRIPLEXXXFACTOR
TRIPLEXXXFACTOR

Many pro 1070b don't care about the repercussions as long as AZ is more white. They rely on misconceptions created by racists and politicians and using fear to get votes. Want votes from racists, give them racist agendas/laws (russell pearce, jan brewer and joe arpaio know this). FYI, most of the canadians buying homes, cars, cable, electricity, gas, water dont have' social security numbers, alike illegals. That's how ignorant some AZ voters are. Most illegals pay for/own homes, cars, cable/satellite, electricity, gas, water, buy groceries, buy gasoline, go to the hospital, auto insurance, eat out, go to the movies, go to shows, pay property taxes, pay sales tax, pay state taxes, pay deferal taxes, etc. They use what is called an ITIN to file taxes and have used them to build credit, some have excellent credit. I used to run credit checks for all kind of peope in AZ from the poor to the most affluent and I know that some illegals have excellent credit. AZ voters shoud be mad at being deceived by politicans but it is OK as long as AZ is more white.Regardless of the consequences, AZ will have less hispanics and that is the main purpose of this law. On the positive side, this law should attract more white supremacists to the state. You know the white supremacists who refuse to pay taxes, trash homes, go on shooting rampages, kill cops, love methamphetamines and get our children to join their gangs, teach them to kill, teach to steal, teach them to hate, teach them to revolt against america, teach them to use and sell drugs, impregnate our daughters and then ignore them, teach our children how to survive in prison because that is where most end up and ultimate teach them to live life to the fuillest because they will die before 20 or 30 years of age. Oh wait, they're already here. START THANKING RUSSELL PEARCE, JAN BREWER AND JOE ARPAIO NOW.

wherewasi
wherewasi

Well, LC... I don't like Joe. Period. And it really has little or nothing to do with his stand on illegal immigration. It is because he is an ignorant, foolish, corrupt, lying, brazen, unethical politician and he has become a huge financial liability to the taxpayers of Maricopa County while pulling a "slight of hand trick" - oh, lookie over there! It's an illegal!! ...As he dips his hand into yet another unauthorized cookie jar. He needs to be in prison for his corruption.

LC
LC

I like Joe and I don't like him. I think it's so common. I believed everybody will be like and dislike by people depend on the issue is served that individual. I think people with narrow mind would view AZ as a Racist State and if anybody said that to me, I will let them have it! This state and the whole United States combine with different type of people with different view of thinking. The person who used the word Racist is the person who have that view in their mind. SB1070 woke up whole country to look what's going on around our border states. The fed has been sit on this issue for long time..now time to jump and do something about it.

wherewasi
wherewasi

I absolutely LOVE that picture!

Wait a second ... I bet you guys went after that money for the purpose of "embarassing" Arpaio, didn't you? LOL!

It amazes me that there are still people who think that fool needs any help becoming embarassed. All he has to do is open his mouth and speak.

Wake up people!
Wake up people!

miguelobrien -- John Kavanaugh has a Boston accent where Arpaio is from. They are neighbors in Fountain Hills. These former law enforcement people, Chuck Gray included, are writing and driving these bills with no input from the people or consideration for their rights. The taxpayers foot the bill for draconian laws that have failed society. Do you want only law enforcement and prosecutors continuing to write the bills and policies while the people lose more and more of their rights? That's what's going on in Arizona. It's not about illegal immigration, it's all about power and money and "controlling" the people.

princess velma
princess velma

THIS IS ABOUT WHAT ARPIO STARTED. NOW THEY ARE GOING AFTER THE CHILDREN. I HAVE BEEN TRYING TO SEN D INFORMATION TO YOU STEVEN LEMONS FOR WEEKS NOW. MY GRAND CHILDREN ARE HALF AND HALF AND IF THEY GO AFTER THEM. NO ONE WILL HAVE TO WORRY ABOUT JOIE BOY ANYMORE. I AM MAD NOW VERY ANGRY. PLEASE DO AS I ASK YOU A FEW WEEKS BACK AND INVESTIGATE HOW HE GOT INTO SHERRIF AGAIN. THANKS

miguelobrien
miguelobrien

The comment about good people leaving and racists moving in reminded me of John Cavanaugh, co-sponsor of 1070. If an accent disqualifies someone from living here, I vote that he take his sorry New Yoik accent and ass back there. He is certainly no Arizonian.

The Suicidal Arpaio
The Suicidal Arpaio

I JUST CAN'T TAKE IT ANYMORE. ALL I DO IS TRY TO NAB THE BAD GUYS AND NOBODY LOVES ME. ALL I WANT IS A LITTLE RECOGNITION FOR ALL MY HARD, HARD WORK. I'M GOING OUT IN THE DESERT AND END IT ALL, SO YOU WILL ALL BE SORRY. YOU WANT HAVE SHERIFF JOE TO KICK AROUND ANYMORE. Hey, Hendershott, ya think anybody bought all that shit ?

pamcub
pamcub

Tommy! of course you are going to grow! Do you know any other way? Sick of it! Why the hell should honest people have to pay for dishonest people? we have enough dishonest people in our government, we dont need more sneaking across our border!!!! Apply for citizenship! its cheaper and healthier than buying papers and sneaking across!!!! this is MY home and all illegal aliens NEED to LEAVE!!!! if you cant do it our way, then hit the highway! South that is!!!! Take your stupidity and your killing with you!!!!!

Fuck Arpaio
Fuck Arpaio

Fuck Joe Arpaio and MCSO.Total fucking scumbags

Fuck Arpaio
Fuck Arpaio

Fuck Joe Arpaio and MCSO, total fucking scumbags.

Kudos to New Times!
Kudos to New Times!

It's a shame it's taken years to come to the settlement. Thank you, Phoenix New Times for fighting the fight for those who cannot afford the legal fees or have been silenced.

Dudley
Dudley

Mr. Bratt joins an ever growing list of non-caucasian individuals that feel our law is bent on racial profiling. Such a waste. Arizona should be the example going forward on how to take a stand. Not one person in AZ, myself included, is stating that non-USA born individuals should be here. On the contrary, anyone is welcome here................legally. I pay taxes, and don't feel it's right to give my tax dollars to support someone who "sneaks" over our border, and then feels entitled to monies to sustain them.Boycott all you want. Benjamin, stay home........we don't need you or want you here.....I hope your movie will be a flop and huge loss. But due to it's nature, at this time, sadly I feel you may have a windfall. I feel sorry for anyone that thinks AZ is doing wrong. The blame falls on our government, and the idiotic figurehead controlling it.

kev
kev

it was said a few months back that joe had paid for the new jail bus out of money his dept had.....just a thought he can give that money to his buddies before he leaves office and probably not a damn thing the voters can do.......it happened in ohio...130,000 gone...thats alot of money for a county only having 40,000 people

What Goes Around Comes Around
What Goes Around Comes Around

Stephen, This is simply a great article. There is so much about it that gives us pure pleasure. Can't wait to read about all the other pay-backs coming down the line.

Former Republican
Former Republican

This comment says a lot:"jupiternmars 06/09/2010 8:17:22 PMUGH. I am soooo sick of comments that say if taxpayers do not like it they should vote. I vote and it doesn't do a damn thing. It didn't do anything when Bush became president and it didn't do anything when I voted for the other guy over Arpaio. Nobody voted for Jan Brewer for governer, and she fixed elections as Secretary of State. Good people are moving out of state, and racists are moving in. I'd like to be hopeful and think that voting will get us somewhere, but thats not the reality."

Steve Tracy
Steve Tracy

Tyler, No, they're not kidding. All of the Sheriff's bullshit failures (too many to recite here) WILL be paid with your tax dollars. Arpaio doesn't give a crap about anything but camera time. And he pays for nothing. All county lawyers, court filing fees, his stupid security detail, his pricey top floor office suites at the Wells Fargo tower, and his two new County issued Chrysler 300 Hemi sedans are all your tax paid treats to his worthless ass.

tdhurst
tdhurst

You're fucking kidding, right? That $40k had better of come from his own checkbook, not my taxes.

Steve Tracy
Steve Tracy

Sheriff Jose has no shame at all. Arpaio had the chance to join the Mafia but turned it down when he found out that Italian Mafioso are not permitted to be photographed. That stupid twit never passes up a chance to put his fat ass in front of the camera, not even when the photo op showcases what an idiot he is. Hey Sheriff Joe, give your new bodyguard, The Incredible Has-been some camera time, eh.

j_in_mesa
j_in_mesa

jupiternmars says, "I vote and it doesn't do a damn thing."---I know what you mean. Every person I have ever voted for has lost. But after, say, a 12-hour shift you can go and hand out flyers or hold a sign and things will change.

"Democracy is three wolves and one sheep voting on what's for dinner."

Taxpayer Watchdog
Taxpayer Watchdog

Great news! At long last. A mere pittance to the true cost of attorneys for the ordinary person facing criminal charges, but we're glad you hear you got something. We hope it's the beginning. Arpaio and Thomas have cost the taxpayers millions upon million and millions -- they have themselves to blame for re-electing these abusers.

Just Ramblin
Just Ramblin

One thing is missing in this article is what did the papers produce? Where there any big secrets uncovered? How many lawsuits after the unveiling of the information did it produce? I believe it was wrong to withhold the papers, but in the end was it worth it? Did the NewTimes produce any great evidence to put Joe and all his followers away? As for SB1070 since when is being an illegal alien a race, which makes it very hard to be racist. Also how much of the voting population in AZ is Hispanic? For some stupid reason the majority of the people in the state agree with the law. Could it be people are tired having over 50,000 cars stole every year? Could it be because we have become the kidnapping capital of the World? Could it be because so many people have bad experiences with Illegal’s? I have a friend, who now is paralyzed due to an illegal, the criminal in court tried to pull the racist (again wrong use of words on his side) bit, he was Hispanic, he spent a half an hour going on about it. After he was done, his attorney brought in his wife and 3 kids, guess what they were Hispanic. Well the guy’s still in prison for the last 6 years, keeps trying for parole. My friend, he is in his own prison. He can't talk, walk or hold his kids. BTW - he was a officer of Joe's, making a legal stop and was dragged off by this guy then hit his head on a curb. Seems no one wants to talk about over a dozen officers killed by illegals. That’s okay they are just here to work, right? Let's feel sorry with the illegal because he stole someone's identity and he won't be with his kids and wife. Geez, I am a legal citizen what would happen to me if I get caught, wouldn't I be dragged to jail also? Would I not be deported because I have broken the laws of the United States? I am sorry that so many readers here think that breaking the law is perfectly ok. Is the law unconstitutional? I don’t know, I am not a lawyer. I do know, there is a federal law that is almost identical to the state law. I do see where there might be a problem there.

Will Not Stop
Will Not Stop

I have followed this story for years and was aware of Joe's utterly corrupt office even before that. This man has single-handedly created a posse that is more like him the closer they are to him... He defiantly uses his mafia mentality to "translate" Arizona laws for his own power and benefit. And by benefit I mean millions of taxpayer dollars stuffed into Joe's pockets along with those related to him. His house of cards will crumble and everyone will know this corrupt Sheriff for the scumbag he really is!

Tommy
Tommy

Hey, i am glad that benjamin bratt and george lopez will be here and won't boycott because it will be the people who are against this law that will suffer. I truly despise what these racists people are doing. I work in a call center and the other day somebody on the phone asked me where i was from and i said "Arizona" and they responded by saying " oh, the racist state." It is a sad time in AZ when these people believe that sb1070 is right. If i wasn't so strong willed, i would consider moving to another state. But i will not give these pricks the satisfaction. I think we need to expand more and have more of a presence in this state. I urge every hispanic to stay put and stay strong willed. We are only going to grow.

pamcub
pamcub

I loved your piece on the MCSO and it has opened my eyes quite a bit. But I disagree on the SB 1070, I do not believe that the hispanic community should qualify as minority! I have lived in the valley for over 34 years and in this country (I served for) all my life, and truely believe that everyone that wants to become a citizen of this country should do it just like my ancestors did, first you learn the language!!! No one should have to press one for english unless you are calling a foreign country!!!!! We are way over crowded and should either buy up more land to house all these people or put a closed sign on the borders!!! I dont blame anyone for wanting to come here but when does it end? Plus all these people have no consideration what so ever!!!! So sorry if I cannot be sympathic

Coz
Coz

Arpaio once again cost Maricopa County tax payers thousands of dollar's.

Way to go Bozo Joe !

jupiternmars
jupiternmars

UGH. I am soooo sick of comments that say if taxpayers do not like it they should vote. I vote and it doesn't do a damn thing. It didn't do anything when Bush became president and it didn't do anything when I voted for the other guy over Arpaio. Nobody voted for Jan Brewer for governer, and she fixed elections as Secretary of State. Good people are moving out of state, and racists are moving in. I'd like to be hopeful and think that voting will get us somewhere, but thats not the reality.

jupiternmars
jupiternmars

I usually like the New Times, I'm just pissed off that this is what my state taxes pay for.

CONGRATULATIONS
CONGRATULATIONS

What bazaar coments. You deserve every penny.If Arpaio cannot follow the law then he should go to jail or pay a fine. If enough fines are paid out and the TAXPAYERS do not like it they should VOTE. There is a cost to the Illegal Immigration team and hopefully the voters are going to see the cost far exceeds the payoff of having Joe and ANdy in office!

jupiternmars
jupiternmars

I worked at a call center for a year taking endless crap at a tiny little cubicle in an effort to pay off debts incurred from my worthless bachelors degree. All the meanwhile the state uses my tax money to harrass people, fund racist laws and ad campaigns, cut education, pay out lawsuits, and fuck everyone over. To top it all off, the IRS steals $1000 I was supposed to get in tax returns because someone is using my identity to work and not filing taxes with my stolen identity. I can't sleep at night because I reported it to the IRS... and I worry the Nazi's will investigate the fast food restaurant she's working at, break her arm and profile everyone else there. She probably has kids and they'll leave her without a mother. I haven't gotten my $1000.00 back, but even if I do I'll probably feel like shit if I ever do. I just wish they'd let the poor girl work in her own name so she wouldn't have to fuck me over just to survive. I'm sure she would happily pay taxes if they'd let her. I feel rage, over all of this. We are both getting robbed, me and the girl who used my identity. Fuck Jan Brewer, Joe Arpaio, Russell Pearce and everyone else supporting their antics. They are thieves, stealing from my life, dignity, bank account... everything! And fuck the New Times for taking this money they stole from me. This is more than ridiculous.

Joe
Joe

That proves that the New Times is all about money. You would have served us all better by not accepting the settlement. This is just another public relations stint for Arpaio, and you are the prostitutes. Real justice will be done only when he gets convicted of all his crimes and spends the rest of his life in one of his own jails.

 
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