Arpaio Seeks Cash from Suckers to Fight Criminal Allegations

Talk about chutzpah.

If a well-dressed moocher were to approach you and ask for money to fight a serious criminal allegation, would you give it to him?

What if he admitted that he might, kinda-sorta be guilty? And, oh, he has a well-paying job (six figures), owns loads of pricey real estate, and gets chauffeured around town on the people's dime.

Well, that's basically what Sheriff Joe is doing in this latest appeal to "patriots" to pony up cash for his criminal defense.

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Yep, Joe knows there's one born every minute, and he's counting on the stupidity of those in receipt of this latest e-mail blast to score him some much needed loot for his legal defense fund.

Here's Joe's very disingenuous pitch:
You've been a tremendous supporter of my campaigns through the years and because of that I'm asking for your help with my legal defense fund.

You see, in the daily exercise of doing my job I am often targeted by groups that file legal actions against me for a variety of reasons.

In some instances I have to personally pay for attorneys to represent me in these cases. I do not have the personal wealth or the wherewithal to keep up with the costly demands of paying for attorneys to defend me. 
But Arpaio doesn't have to worry about lawyers' fees for civil cases. Maricopa County picks up the tab there, and has spent scores of millions of taxpayer dollars defending Arpaio over the years.

Currently, in the Melendres case, Arpaio's civil defense attorney Michele Iafrate is on contract with the county. She gets nothing from Arpaio.

The county is not paying for Arpaio's criminal defense attorney Mel McDonald, who has been sitting in on the proceedings.
Arpaio and his chief deputy Jerry Sheridan have admitted they are in civil contempt of the federal court's orders in Melendres.

If the case is referred by Judge G. Murray Snow to another judge for criminal contempt proceedings, Arpaio will have to find the money to pay for McDonald to defend his sorry tuchis.

There's also the possibility of other criminal allegations, if the U.S. Attorney's Office gets off its hindquarters for a change: perjury, obstruction of justice, intimidating a federal judge, and so on.

Which is why Arpaio needs suckers to give and give generously to his legal defense fund.

Because he sure as heck doesn't want to pay out of his own pocket.

Even though he has it.

According to public records, Arpaio and his wife Ava are millionaires a couple of times over.

Currently, under the limited liability corporation Ava Investments, the Arpaios own 10 lots in Scottsdale and Fountain Hills.

Including their Fountain Hills home, the current cash value of the properties, according to figures from the Maricopa County Assessor's Office, is more than $2.4 million.

The Arpaios also retain at least a 50 percent interest in their Scottsdale business, Starworld Travel Agency, according to Joe's 2012 financial disclosure statement, on file with the county. 

The business is active and in good standing with the corporation commission.

Joe is listed as the company's secretary. Ava is listed as president. 

In a 2012 financial disclosure statement, Arpaio lists himself and Ava having a 50 percent interest in the business.

Arpaio's co-authored two memoirs, which he's peddled furiously in the past.

And then there's Arpaio's salary of more than $100,000 per year, and the various pensions that he benefits from. 

Judge Snow has spoken of the need for Arpaio to have some "skin in the game," and Arpaio has offered to pay $100,000 to a Hispanic civil rights organization, as part of his civil mea culpa. 

Snow also has stated that he wants to make sure any such fines were not coming out of Arpaio's legal defense fund.
Though I'm not sure how that would work. There are too many ways for people to funnel money to Joe.

By the end of FY 2016, Melendres will have cost county taxpayers more than $50 million, a figure that's sure to increase exponentially with time.

My sources say Arpaio's blown as much as $1 million in RICO funds on his Koo-Koo-for-Cocoa-Puffs snipe hunt in Seattle.

That investigation along with the improper investigation of Snow's wife have prolongued the civil contempt trial, and thus the tab that will be paid by you and me.

And this schnorer wants money for his criminal defense?

E-mail [email protected].
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Stephen is a former staff writer and columnist at Phoenix New Times.
Contact: Stephen Lemons