Tom Horne's Alleged Mistress Admits Leaving AG Office to Save Horne's Tuchis, and Dennis Wilenchik's Son Runs for State House
AG Horne: Will the GOPers be stuck with this guy come 2014? Democrat Felecia Rotellini sure hopes so . . .
Consider the following a confirmation of the obvious: an e-mail from Arizona Attorney General Tom Horne's alleged mistress, Carmen Chenal, wherein she confesses her motivation for resigning her $108,000 post at the AG's Office.
"I need to leave here," she writes in a May 24 e-mail, forwarded to Horne's gmail account, "because although I have A+ evaluations here, the false allegations out in the media are hurting Tom politically -- being on the AG's payroll is a negative for him politically."
See, in 2011, Chenal followed Horne from the Arizona Department of Education, where then-Superintendent Horne had scored her a position she was unqualified for, to the AG's Office, where Horne got her a far more prestigious, better-paying gig that she was unqualified for.
But this July, Chenal resigned her post as an Assistant Attorney General for a position with Horne supporter Dennis Wilenchik's law firm, where she was to begin July 8, according to another Chenal e-mail, acquired via a public records request.
Her departure came none too soon. Horne faces a possible Republican primary challenge in 2014 from state Gaming Commission Director Mark Brnovich, according to the Arizona Capitol Times. Though nothing's official, yet.
An excerpt from Chenal's e-mail . . .
GOPers had best pray Brnovich or some suitable R dives into the race, and that Horne takes a powder.
Otherwise, Horne's 2010 Democratic opponent Felecia Rotellini surely will bag that wounded stag and turn him into venison jerky.
True, former AG Terry Goddard previously has expressed interest in challenging Rotellini in a Democratic primary. More recently, he's been floating the idea of running for Arizona Corporation Commission or Arizona Secretary of State.
Hopefully, Goddard chooses one of those alternatives, as a Goddard re-run for AG would cause an unnecessary, internecine feud in camp D.
And, by all rights, Horne's head belongs to Rotellini.
A damning passage from former AG flack Amy Rezzonico's interview with the FBI during the Horne investigation
Once some helpful independent expenditure committee comes along and hits the public with mailers and TV ads highlighting Horne's relationship to Chenal, Horne should be ready for the proverbial fork in the rump.
Of course, the Rs would rather perform that coup de grace themselves.
Better yet for state tuskers would be for Horne not to run for re-election at all.
Horne is stubborn, but remember, he nixed his anticipated 2014 gubernatorial run, knowing his scandals would hobble him. So he does grok reality.
Moreover, any challenger to Horne, in the general or the primary, will have thousands of pages from the FBI's investigation to quote in hit pieces.
For example, when the FBI questioned Horne's then-flack Amy Rezzonico, asking if Horne and Chenal were having an affair, she answered in the affirmative.
"Um, well," Rezzonico replied, according to a transcript of the conversation, "Uh, yeah, I believe they have been for many, many years."
Rezzonico later told agents that she had "no direct knowledge" of the affair but stated vaguely that there had been "issues over the years."
In fact, the very married Horne's attempt to cover up his special friendship to Chenal ended with an AG investigator turning over evidence of alleged campaign-finance hanky-panky to the FBI, which later tailed Horne and caught him on a lunch outing to Chenal's apartment, where he hit a parked car without leaving a note.
Horne pleaded no contest to the hit-and-run and paid a fine.
Meanwhile, the investigation into his alleged campaign-finance shenanigans has, via a long and circuitous route, reached the desk of Yavapai County Attorney Sheila Polk, who has not yet made a decision on how to proceed.
Though the FBI investigation also outed unproven claims of obstruction of justice and tampering with witnesses, it's Horne's female troubles that will crucify him in 2014.
In her e-mail, Chenal seems rather oblivious to all this.
Like the part where she kvetches of having worked 60 hour weeks for her $108,000 per annum.
Chenal must not realize there are county prosecutors who do a lot more work and are paid much less. And those attorneys don't have Bar suspensions in their files.
Then there's the general public, for whom $108,000 a year is an unattainable goal, no matter how many hours they work.
Chenal also discusses possibly scoring a job with the Federal Public Defender's Office, and makes an even more startling suggestion.
"U.S. Marshalls [sic] I work with are going to try to get me into the U.S. Attorney's Office," she states.
Incorrect, according to my sources. Not that I can imagine that claim being true, even if the current federal administration were a GOP one.
The Wilenchik firm's website has a list of its lawyers with their photos. It has yet to be updated with a pic of Chenal. Though Chenal does have an extension at Wilenchik's office.
As an aside, Wilenchik's ambitious young son Jack, who was just admitted to the bar in 2012, has filed paperwork with the Arizona Secretary of State's office to run as a GOPer for the state House in Legislative District 28.
Currently, Son of Wilenchik has been slaving away at Wilenchik & Bartness, the firm co-partnered by his mom, Becky Bartness, and Wilenchik pere.
Now the wannabe legislator and the AG's alleged squeeze are co-workers. Nothing unusual about that, I'm sure. Like Walt said, it's a small world. Smaller, in some circles.
Get the ICYMI: Today's Top Stories Newsletter Our daily newsletter delivers quick clicks to keep you in the know
Catch up on the day's news and stay informed with our daily digest of the most popular news, music, food and arts stories in Phoenix, delivered to your inbox Monday through Friday.