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Rick Romley Spanks Paul Babeu, Hard: MCAO Will Not Pay for Entire Munnell Memo Investigation

County Attorney Rick Romley gives Sheriff Babeu a reality check
County Attorney Rick Romley gives Sheriff Babeu a reality check

In my Monday blog concerning just who will pay for the cost of Pinal County Sheriff Paul Babeu's administrative investigation into the Munnell memo alleging corruption in the command staff of the MCSO, I reported that Babeu's flack Tim Gaffney had told me that both the MCSO and the Maricopa County Attorney's Office were offering to pick up the tab.

Since MCAO spokesman Bill Fitzgerald had informed me that the MCAO would only reimburse for the cost of civil legal advice given by Pinal County Attorney Jim Walsh, I asked Gaffney who specifically had made promises to Babeu about reimbursement.

Gaffney asserted it was Deputy Maricopa County Attorney Clarisse McCormick who told this to Babeu. MCAO spokesman Bill Fitzgerald said he didn't know what McCormick said to Babeu, but he reiterated that the MCAO has only offered to reimburse for any legal advice given by Walsh. 

To drive home the point, Maricopa County Attorney Rick Romley sent a stern letter to Babeu yesterday making clear that the MCAO's made no further promises concerning the investigation, and that Babeu will have to seek the OK from Maricopa County for reimbursement for the cost of the inquiry itself.

(You can read Romley's letter and its attachments, here.)

Romley advises Babeu that the MCAO will "only be responsible for the reasonable costs incurred to provide legal advice by the Pinal County Attorney."

The letter further states that "Any costs associated with the administrative investigation will not be borne by my office and you will need to contact the Maricopa County Sheriff's Office and the Maricopa County Manager if you desire reimbursement."

Ouch, and double ouch. 

Then Romley adds another whack to Babeu's spanking, informing Babeu that if his "administrative only" investigation into Sheriff Joe Arpaio's office comes across information of a criminal nature, he needs to consult with the Pinal County Attorney's Office to ensure that he will not compromise a potential criminal investigation.

"If your office has information that may be criminal in nature, it should be forwarded to my office," writes Romley, "the Attorney General's Office, or the U.S. Attorney's Office, District of Arizona, for their consideration."

Romley attaches his original letter to Babeu on the same subject, and Arpaio's letter to Babeu thanking Babeu for having the PCSO's Internal Affairs department do an "administrative investigation" of the Munnell memo allegations.

If Babeu thought he could somehow corner Maricopa County or the MCAO into writing a blank check for his sham inquiry, he was mistaken. 

Maricopa County officials have made it plain in e-mails to Pinal County Manager Terry Doolittle that they would have to approve any funding of Babeu's inquiry. 

Personally, I don't think Maricopa County, or any of its departments, should fork over dollar one to Babeu or Pinal County for what will ultimately be a whitewash.

In light of Babeu's botched investigation into suspected self-shooter, PCSO Deputy Louie Puroll, which Babeu's had to reopen due to the reporting of New Times journo Paul Rubin, Babeu cannot be trusted to undertake a probe into his pal Arpaio.

As I've already mentioned, Babeu should do to the Munnell memo investigation what he's done to Deputy Puroll's T-shirt: Forward it to the Arizona Department of Public Safety, and let some real cops handle this mess.


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