Arpaio Begs for Money While His Lawyers Make Bank in Melendres

Arpaio Begs for Money While His Lawyers Make Bank in Melendres
New Times Photo-Illustration. Arpaio by Gage Skidmore/Creative Commons. All else via Shutterstock.

You can't fault Sheriff Joe Arpaio for lack of chutzpah. The guy continues to beg for campaign donations while his contempt of the federal court in the ACLU's big civil rights case Melendres v. Arpaio is costing us beaucoup bucks.

Check this recent gimmicky e-mail (below) desperately seeking any cash you've got on you so he can make a self-imposed financial goal by midnight August 31.

The e-mail isn't published here because the header would reveal the name of the kind reader who sent this in, but guess when this person received it? 

September 2. 

Arpaio's money man/campaign consultant Chad Willems must be slipping. Either that or he's too busy pushing pot legalization to send out an effective fundraising ploy for his company's biggest client.

Or maybe Willems figures Arpaio's supporters are so dumb they won't note the discrepancy. 

For anyone who lives in Maricopa County and must help foot the bill for Arpaio's misdeeds, such shameless appeals for moolah should be galling.

As New Times has previously reported, the price tag for Arpaio's defense in Melendres and the cost of the subsequent reforms imposed by the court after Arpaio's May 2013 loss will be more than $50 million by the end of fiscal year 2016, money that comes straight out of the county's general fund.

Already, the Board of Supervisors has had to institute an Arpaio tax on property owners, an increase of 4.6 percent to cover Melendres costs for fiscal year 2016

And that's just the beginning: Arpaio's ongoing contempt of federal Judge G. Murray Snow's orders is piling up expenses. 

Recently, more than 20 deposition notices were filed with the court by the plaintiffs, just a portion of the work to be done by both sides before the second round of contempt hearings begins September 22.

Arpaio's latest appeal for money, courtesy of his pro-pot campaign guru Chad Willems.
Arpaio's latest appeal for money, courtesy of his pro-pot campaign guru Chad Willems.

Those to be deposed include Arpaio, MCSO internal affairs Captain Steve Bailey, deputy county attorneys Tom Liddy and Christine Stutz, MCSO deputy Brian Mackiewicz, MCSO Sergeant Travis Anglin, and Cold Case Posse commander Mike Zullo. 

Depositions can be grueling, expensive propositions. They involve various lawyers, the cost of videotaping, and transcription.

Keep in mind, none of this would have been necessary if Arpaio had not defied the federal court to begin with and had not gone on a jihad against Judge Snow, seeking to conflict him off the trial with two bogus investigations, one involving offhand statements allegedly made by his wife in 2012 and another using Seattle computer consultant Dennis Montgomery to flesh out a massive (and fictional) conspiracy against Arpaio involving Snow and others.

There are also all the lawyers that the county is paying for. 

These include for Arpaio and the Maricopa County Sheriff's Office: Michele Iafrate, and John Masterson and Joe Popolizio of Jones, Skelton, & Hochuli.

They represent Arpaio and the MCSO on the civil contempt charges.

According to Maricopa County, for fiscal year 2015, Iafrate has billed $621,803 in Melendres

During a recent status conference, she mentioned having six staffers working on document production alone.

Jones, Skelton — home of Masterson and Popolizio. — has billed $179,508 in Melendres so far.

Expect that tab to increase exponentially. Jones, Skelton also represented Arpaio in the related DOJ case, U.S. v. Maricopa County, which has lasted more than three years and only recently reached a full settlement.

In the DOJ case, Jones, Skelton has billed $2.5 million to date, according to the county.

Attorney Michele Iafrate has billed about $622,000 for fiscal year 2015 in Melendres, according to Maricopa County.
Attorney Michele Iafrate has billed about $622,000 for fiscal year 2015 in Melendres, according to Maricopa County.
Ray Stern

Because of an ongoing and rather arcane legal dispute on who should be the specific party sued in Melendres, the Maricopa County Board of Supervisors is represented by Richard Walker of the firm Walker and Peskind.

On Melendres, Walker and Peskind has billed a little over $191,000 so far.

The firm also did a lot of work in the DOJ case, for which it billed about $1.2 million, according to county records.

The firm Ridenour Hienton is representing the Maricopa County Attorney's Office. 

Over a three-month period, it has billed more than $44,000.

This is not a full accounting, by the way. 

Several of the named defendants in the contempt case have their own civil attorneys, paid for by the county, and their own criminal attorneys, for which they are responsible. 

There are five accused of civil contempt: Arpaio, Chief Deputy Jerry Sheridan, Lieutenant Joe Sousa, Chief Deputy Jack MacIntyre, and former Executive Chief Brian Sands. 

It's anticipated that only Arpaio and Sheridan may have to face criminal allegations.

Other county employees to be deposed, such as Liddy and Stutz, will have outside civil counsel paid for by the county, according to MCAO spokesman Jerry Cobb.

New Times still is working on tabulating the total billings to date for all the civil attorneys the county is paying for.

Lastly, the attorneys for the plaintiffs — including lawyers from the ACLU and from the firm of Covington & Burling — eventually will be awarded attorneys fees by the court for the work they are doing during this civil trial of Arpaio. 

In September 2014, Snow awarded $4.4 million in attorney fees to the various entities representing the plaintiffs in Melendres.

Sounds like a lot, but if the plaintiffs had lost, their lawyers would have gotten next to nothing. Whereas defense attorneys don't have to worry about receiving a paycheck if the government is paying.

No telling how much the plaintiffs' attorneys will be due once the civil contempt trial is over and done.


Sponsor Content

Newsletters

All-access pass to the top stories, events and offers around town.

  • Top Stories
    Send:

Newsletters

All-access pass to top stories, events and offers around town.

Sign Up >

No Thanks!

Remind Me Later >