Plus, Rose is a lawyer. When he said he had the Wood family's best interests at heart, they trusted him, Meyers says. According to their suit, Rose would frequently hand them documents just before city council meetings, for example, telling them to sign in a hurry. The Woods didn't even give them a cursory read before putting pen to paper.
Rose insists that the Wood family had a lawyer through it all, a guy named Jim Rossie. "He was involved from Day One," Rose says. "Now, in some of the agreements, they chose not to use him. Margaret [Wood Carl] is very conservative about spending money. She didn't want to pay a lawyer to look at some of these things . . . But I begged them — I introduced them to other lawyers . . . If she didn't want to pay a lawyer to look at these agreements, that's hardly my fault."
But Meyers says Rose is distorting the truth. Rossie, he says, merely helped the Woods structure their limited liability companies for tax purposes.
There was no begging, either. In fact, at one point, Rose actively tried to block the Wood family from hiring a lawyer, Meyers says.
The Woods, Meyers adds, had no choice but to file bankruptcy in order to get out of their "agreements" with Rose.
"Margaret Wood Carl hired Jack and his companies thinking they were the experts," Meyers says. "But if you hire a heart surgeon and you find out he's horrible, you've got to get the problem corrected. You fire him. And that's exactly what happened here."
Jack Rose will tell you he's stayed out of politics since the Irvin affair.
"I'm not thrusting myself into the political arena, as you say," he tells me. "When good candidates come and ask for support, I support them."
But after asking around, I just don't believe it.
Today, Rob Antoniak is the vice mayor of Goodyear. But when he was a 27-year-old neophyte first running for the council, in 2003, he says he got an unsolicited call from Rose.
"He stated that he knew I was running for office and was asking how he could assist me," Antoniak recalls. "I neither needed nor desired or his assistance . . . I had other plans for my campaign." Antoniak took a pass.
What's most fascinating about that incident, I think, is the timing. It was December 2002 when a federal jury agreed on the staggering $60 million verdict against Corporation Commissioner Irvin, for interfering with the utility company sale and trying to help Rose make money. It was 2003 when Irvin resigned in the face of impeachment.
During that same timeframe, Rose was asking a would-be councilman how he could help him — even as he was being tarred and feathered in the papers almost every day. Talk about chutzpah.
Needless to say, not everyone in Goodyear was as prudent as Antoniak. Sources tell me that Rose has raised money for politicians in that city. And one councilman, Frank Cavalier, has admitted that he's a partner in one of the companies accused of bilking the Woods.
And then there's the bank.
Don't ask me why, but for some reason, the feds let Rose and his cronies start West Valley National Bank.
Rose sits on the bank's board of directors. So does Goodyear attorney Mark Dioguardi, who does the legal work for Rose's companies and was also implicated in the Irvin scandal.
At one point, Goodyear Mayor James Cavanaugh was on the bank's board — and Councilman Cavalier's wife still is. Cavanaugh's wife, I'm told, was hired and now works there.
Go figure, the bank handled $1 million of the Woods' $38 million loan. (That's right there in the bankruptcy papers.)
With the loan in default, Rose's empire in financial trouble, and rumors flying, the question is whether Jack Rose will manage to walk away unscathed.
It's kind of amazing, but he did it last time. As I noted earlier, a federal jury agreed in December 2002 on the staggering $60 million verdict against Irvin. And, in 2003, Irvin resigned.
But Rose hardly missed a step. What the hell — he wasn't on the hook for $60 million. (Claiming poverty, in fact, he'd settled for $60,000.) He also managed to get himself an immunity deal and cooperated with the impeachment proceedings against Irvin.
When the U.S. Attorney announced he wouldn't prosecute, there was no one who could touch him. By 2004, Jack Rose was home free.
He was free to head to the West Valley and start a development company.
He was free to represent the Wood family.
He was even free to help start up a bank.
Is it any wonder this country is in the mess it's in?