A Secretary's Revenge

Anna Ott was a youngster whose troubles nestled into the souls of friends and strangers alike. At the age of 2, her arms and legs were amputated that she might survive a rare and pernicious disease. In this precarious state, 5-year-old Anna did not even have the comfort of her mom's loving embrace.

Anna's natural mother, a drug addict, no longer had legal custody of the little girl, who lived with a maternal grandparent in Oakland, California.

When Anna crossed paths with Deborah Vasquez, the Phoenix secretary opened her heart to the hapless child's predicament. Vasquez's well-meaning but misguided response to the child's misfortune brought the world crashing down upon her own already-weary shoulders.

And as her world disintegrated, Vasquez would do everything she could to make sure that her boss, the most powerful prosecutor in Arizona, paid a high price, too.

Vasquez peddled a string of incredible charges--sexual, financial and political--that were either false or misconstrued, but which nonetheless all but ruined first assistant attorney general Rob Carey.

Among a huge array of allegations, Vasquez would charge that Carey had looted a trust fund intended to finance minority scholarships, using the money to pay off a boozy retreat for lawyers in the Attorney General's Office.

Even though the charge was false, Vasquez would become a hot property in the media, as well as a battering ram that the county attorney used to launch a legal assault on Carey.

But these allegations were the furthest thing from Deborah Vasquez's mind when fate brought little Anna Ott into the secretary's life last spring. At the time, all Vasquez could think about was the hush-hush meeting her boss was in behind closed doors.

Attorney General Grant Woods met with his division chiefs last May 16 to decide the next step in Rob Carey's investigation of bid-rigging in Project SLIM, Governor Fife Symington's cost-reduction program for state government. County Attorney Richard Romley had cleared all parties of any wrongdoing, but Carey and his staff had subsequently assembled an airtight case of fraud that led right to Symington's accountants and his deputy chief of staff. Woods had to decide whether to prosecute the governor's lieutenants.

As Woods and Carey huddled, a phone started ringing on Vasquez's desk.
She picked up the receiver and spoke to an officer from the Oakland Police Department who told her that a child, Anna Ott, had been kidnaped and that the abductors were headed to--might already be in--Arizona.

The California authorities informed Vasquez that the child had been snatched by Anna's substance-abusing mother and her heavily armed boyfriend. The police had reason to believe the desperate couple intended to use Anna as a prop at flea markets to help hustle money. Worse, the little girl needed medication that the abductors did not have.

Vasquez knew she should alert Carey to the emergency, but she was reluctant. She'd already interrupted his critical meeting earlier in the day to pass him a note. She hadn't cared in the least for his withering glare.

Now, she decided to handle the Ott crisis personally.
The Oakland police told Vasquez the abductors might be heading to Mesa, and the adults were expected to apply for welfare there.

"They were afraid that this guy Wagner [John Wagner, the armed boyfriend of the little girl's mother] was going to kill the child when he found out that he couldn't get [welfare] money because he had no legal custody. He had records in several states for violence," said Vasquez last week.

Working the phones, Vasquez alerted the Department of Economic Security. She also called the Mesa cops.

Identifying herself and making itclear that she was calling on behalf of the attorney general, Vasquez sounded the alarm.

And she saved the day. Local police swung into action and, to everyone's prayerful relief, the suspects were apprehended without violence.

Vasquez's involvement did not end with the capture of the kidnapers, however. At her direction, the child was taken to the county hospital for examination and treatment.

After work, Vasquez sped to Anna Ott's bedside to comfort the tot until the child's grandmother could arrive from Oakland.

Looking down at the now-safe 5-year-old, Vasquez was overcome with emotion, some of it connected to her own circumstances.

Only days earlier, Vasquez had received devastating news about her own daughter, 14-year-old Marisa.

Following a routine visit, Marisa's new doctor remarked upon her unusual appearance. Though a teenager, the young girl was so short that people often thought she was only 6 years old. Vasquez had known for some time that her daughter had health problems, but she had not sought a definitive answer. And this was the first time a doctor had come forward and suggested that there might be an explanation.

At the doctor's prompting, blood tests were ordered.
A few weeks later, Vasquez received the results.
"I was sitting at my desk, and I get this phone call from her doctor," said Vasquez. "In the back of your mind, you're trying to tell yourself, 'Your child is normal, your child is normal.'"

It was a delusional mantra that Vasquez had used to shield herself from the harsh realities of her child's condition.

"I'm on the phone with this doctor, and I'm ready to just break. I'm in tears; he's saying to me, 'Your daughter does have Turner's syndrome.'"

Before she could absorb, or even completely understand, the significance of this severe chromosome disorder, Vasquez's anguish was interrupted.

"I could hear Rob Carey in his office just screaming his head off for me to get in there, to get him something. And it was like, please, just leave me alone for five minutes, okay?

"And I'm in tears. I'm going to have to go home and tell [Marisa]."
Even with a scientific diagnosis, Marisa's mother was still unable to face the truth.

"The doctors gave me information," said Vasquez recently. "It would make any parent hysterical to look at all that. I could only take a little bit at a time, because that was all I could handle. I couldn't look at the possibilities at that point. ... It was so horrifying, I couldn't handle it at the time. Even today, I don't know that I could look at that and face the possibility of what this could all be costing her."

And so Anna Ott's rescue meant even more to Vasquez than it might have. Where Anna was concerned, Vasquez was not so helpless. In fact, maybe Anna Ott's kidnaping and rescue were God's own proof that Vasquez could make a difference--if not for her own daughter, at least for another child who desperately needed her.

"I was devastated, and I was sick to my stomach," she said, recalling her emotions when she first set eyes upon Anna Ott in the hospital.

"I saw this police officer bringing the child in, and she was clinging to him. So I just stopped, and I said, 'Anna, your grandma has been real worried about you. I just wanted you to know that everything is going to be okay.' She was pretty upset and scared. She was terrified. I told her I would stay for a little while."

She did, and by the time Vasquez left, she was smitten.
"She was one of the sweetest, most intelligent little girls I have ever met in my life. ... Everyone [the children in the hospital] stared at her like she was a sort of freak. She had been through such an ordeal, she didn't care [about the gawking]. So I just stayed with her, and we played makeup and did things like that and talked about going home to grandma."

The day after the rescue of Anna Ott, Vasquez returned to the Attorney General's Office.

Instead of a bouquet of gratitude, however, Vasquez got a handful of dead flowers and a vivid lecture.

Upon hearing of the enormous responsibility his secretary had undertaken alone, Carey was displeased. By the time Vasquez saw him that morning, in fact, he was hang-your-head-in-your-hands-and-massage-your-temples stumped. Why would his secretary simply take a case--any case, but particularly this case--and run it to ground without ever once talking to him or another supervisor?

This was a life-and-death matter that should have been handled by a criminal attorney or one of the attorney general's licensed investigators. That was standard procedure in the Attorney General's Office.

Stunned that she had been upbraided, Vasquez quickly became convinced that therebuke masked anger--anger that Woods and Carey had not made the six o'clock news as Anna's saviors. Vasquez fled the office. She returned only to resign.

Rob Carey would live to rue the day.

The rescue of a 5-year-old quad amputee from heavily armed drug abusers would fulfill anyone's spiritual vision; for Deborah Vasquez, the stakes were even higher.

Anna Ott's safe return was the emotional rapture promised by the new direction Vasquez set for her own life when she quit the private sector and joined the Attorney General's Office in December 1993.

After 11 years at a big downtown law firm, Vasquez went to work for Carey. He had no idea that he'd hired a secretary who was at a crossroads in her life.

Vasquez wanted to make an impact on people, and she imagined that leaving O'Connor Cavanagh and joining the Attorney General's Office would provide the forum she needed.

"I was having this opportunity to help make a difference, to help make things better for the people of the state of Arizona, particularly children," Vasquez recalled to explain why she went to work for Carey. "I have a passion for children. And when I see what's happening, especially in neighborhoods like mine, you start feeling like somebody's got to start doing something to make it better for these kids."

Had Carey told her that children would somehow be the focus of her job or his work? Did he discuss children, at all, with Vasquez?

"No, not really," said the secretary.
But even when you are deluding yourself, you can reach a point where you just have to struggle through a change; it's the movement that's important, not the direction.

And Vasquez was a woman used to making an effort. She'd labored all her life to overcome first one obstacle, then another. The victim of a sexual assault in her own home while employed by O'Connor Cavanagh, Vasquez had continued to work in the immediate aftermath of the nightmare. She had responsibilities.

She was a single mother who was devoted to her two children, one of whom had been ill since birth.

Her life hadn't always seemed so difficult.
Working days, she met her husband in night school. After marrying, they had moved to California for a more bucolic life.

"I loved it and I hated it at the same time," said Vasquez. "I loved the weather. We lived on a small farm outside Riverside with a horse, pigs, goats. It was great. I loved that, I loved the greenery, but I didn't like the speed of the lifestyle.

"Too intense, too ritzy, too obsessed with money in Southern California. I wanted my children to be raised with different values."

The father became less and less of a help, financially or emotionally.
"He started getting seriously involved in drugs and quit his job, that sort of thing," said Vasquez. "I finally had to pull my children away from him and say, 'You can either be a responsible dad and be consistent with these children, or get the hell out of their lives.' And so I didn't hear from him again, which was fine."

After the marriage broke up, Vasquez sometimes had her children sleep under her desk at O'Connor Cavanagh so she could earn overtime and still keep a watchful eye on them.

With her background and views, it is a wonder that Vasquez made it through an interview with someone like Rob Carey, let alone went to work for him.

Not only was Vasquez fooling herself on a grand scale about the nature of her new job, but she had also inadvertently hired on with a man whose polished surfaces would grate upon her own raw skin like the coarsest pumice.

If the outskirts of Riverside, California, struck Vasquez as "too ritzy," what would she make of Rob Carey, a young man who had made his own fortune at a tender age, drove a Porsche Cabriolet, dated a television broadcaster, played basketball with power brokers and thought nothing of working all night because he had no children?

Born in Ankara, Turkey, the son of a chief judge advocate in the Air Force, Rob Carey has impressed many as a barely grown-up Richie Rich, a man-child with his life already encased in an expensive humidor.

That was clearly Tom Augherton's first impression.
A seasoned political operative, Augherton had his first experience as a college intern at the White House, where he watched Richard Nixon depart Washington, D.C., in an Air Force helicopter at the conclusion of Watergate. Now, Augherton is quite open in acknowledging that he was hired into the Attorney General's Office by a faction that wanted to rein Carey in.

"He was young, arrogant, impetuous," says Augherton, chief of administration at the Attorney General's Office. "He's elitist, even for a lawyer. The initial impression is that he's fairly unlikable, someone you would not want to associate with."

Today, almost five years later, Augherton is unabashed in his admiration of Rob Carey.

"I've watched guys like Rob Carey come and go over the years. I ought to be saying, 'That little prick had it coming to him.' But it's not true. He put in the ten- and 11-hour days that made Grant Woods possible.

"If you're going to be the first assistant AG that protects the boss, you need to be an SOB. You make the hard decisions, and you keep a leash on the political dogs that would tear the place apart."

The perception of Rob Carey as a spoiled scion of riches is, simply, wrong. Wherever Rob Carey went, he got there on his own. Although there is an impression that his folks handed him life on a platter, Carey grew up very middle-class. He worked two and three paper routes as a kid.

"The idea that I've got a cushy lifestyle because of my parents is not the case," says Carey.

When Carey left Colorado to come to Arizona State University because of the school's wrestling program, his father refused to contribute a dime to what he perceived as the waste of out-of-state tuition fees.

Carey worked full-time as a bartender at Bobby McGee's to support himself.
He worked additional hours on weekends in the fields of Chandler, harvesting decorative wheat. Used by interior designers, the six-foot stalks have to be cut by hand prior to dying.

Rob Carey was never lazy.
But neither has he careened through the kind of hairpin turns that aged Deborah Vasquez far more than the nine years that separated them chronologically. He had never been a desperate, working single parent.

His orbit was more controlled, and full of choices made that had reaped reward.

His grades were good enough to get into law school and, once enrolled, he also picked up a business degree on the side.

In his spare time, he entered into land syndication with his father and made a killing.

Some guys are like that.
To Augherton and others who know Carey well, the real question is why Deborah Vasquez went to work for someone "like that," someone who made no effort to hide who he is, and who did not share her baby-saving fantasies.

Vasquez began working for Carey in December 1993. Almost from the first moment, her personal life corkscrewed into the dark.

Over the holidays, her boyfriend's mother went odd.
"It happened Christmas night," said Vasquez. "She was acting very, very strange. He noticed she was eating with the wrong hand.

"So he took her to the hospital Christmas night."
It was a brain tumor.
When the mother died, the devastated boyfriend left all of the terrible associations of Arizona behind and moved to California.

Looking back, Vasquez is resolute, even noble.
"He moved to Los Angeles, and I made it clear, 'I understand that you need to go, that you can't be here. And so if you decide to go, I'm not sure I'll still be here waiting for you.' He tried, I mean, we had talked about getting married for a long time."

Part of the problem was that her boyfriend had never been a parent, and he had difficulty, according to Vasquez, accepting the chaos that comes with children; the pets, the noise, the illnesses.

Somehow, she convinced herself through four difficult years of their relationship that there was hope for the two of them.

"But it was becoming clear to me, because of everything I was going through emotionally, I really didn't think it was fair to even ask him to try.

"To be honest, it really, really hurt to lose him. But it doesn't seem fair for me to ask anybody, especially someone who's had a life where they've only had to worry about themselves, it didn't seem fair to ask anyone to try and step in and help."

Though Vasquez's account has taken on the dignity of a recollection cleansed by time, when the split first unfolded, she told her colleagues at work a fuller tale of heartbreak.

Sherri Van Horsen sat across from Vasquez at work and remembered the breakup.

She testified at a hearing on Vasquez's unemployment benefits about numerous instances when the former secretary's turbulent life affected her work for the worse.

"She had a boyfriend whose mother had recently passed away," says Van Horsen. "She helped the boyfriend eliminate the estate, you know, basically getting things together for sale. After that, the boyfriend left her for another girl and went to California."

If it was difficult to go home to a certain emptiness at night, Vasquez found it no easier to come to work. Everyone in the office noticed that she badmouthed her boss incessantly. Part of it was frustration.

Vasquez believed Carey ought to reorient the Attorney General's Office to benefit kids, and she believed it without the slightest pang of doubt that her expectation might be inappropriate.

She never accepted a simple reality of Arizona law. State statutes allocate juvenile crime to local prosecutors; that is, county attorneys.

Violent kids were a problem. She worked for the attorney general; therefore, in Deborah Vasquez's mind, the attorney general should do something about gangs.

She turns indignant when recalling Carey's attitude on the subject.
"He used to tell me that his priorities were not my priorities," Vasquez says when describing Carey's shortcomings.

The tension was palpable.
Karrie Dozer, the attorney general's press liaison, worked in the same office with Carey and Vasquez.

"She talked about him often, his being a workaholic, and to her that was a horrible thing. ... There was almost a jealous relationship there. She looked at Rob's lifestyle as being very high-profile and very fast-paced. She would talk with disdain about the people he knew, or the places he'd been ..."

Nothing charts the deep chasm between Vasquez and Carey like their differing accounts of a state Supreme Court brief he wrote in the fall of 1994.

Vasquez cites that day as one she will never forget.
"Mr. Carey had been out of town, a ski vacation for a long weekend, and when he came back, he had a brief due in the Supreme Court at noon on 'Bring Your Daughter to Work Day,'" said Vasquez.

"He had a brief due, and he had not prepared for it because he had been on a ski vacation. And so he was in a complete panic trying to get this thing filed. He was working at 11:30 in the morning, and it was due at noon at the Supreme Court. And my daughter was there, and we were trying to work on this brief."

This is a vivid memory for Vasquez, but it is also nonsense.
Carey had not been off skiing. Nor was it Hallmark's "Bring Your Daughter to Work Day," which is in April.

Carey did only one Supreme Court brief when Vasquez worked for him, and it was in September.

This temporal discrepancy is not just a quibble with Vasquez's recollection. It illustrates her tendency to fantasize.

On the date in question, there was no snow on the Colorado mountains. Consequently, Carey could not have even suggested to Vasquez that he'd gone skiing.

No, Carey was in Colorado to take advantage of the isolation at his parents' condominium in the Rockies and to focus upon his work.

Now, for all Vasquez knew, Carey could have spent his time mountain-biking. But he did not.

Vasquez simply projected that if Carey was jetting off to the mountains, he must be skiing. That's what people like Rob Carey did with their weekends. Skiing suited her imagination, and her version of the story, better.

Carey didn't stop thinking about the brief on the flight back from Colorado or on the way into work that morning.

He says it was his first Supreme Court brief, and he wanted to tweak it until the last possible second. He was that possessed.

Of course he was possessed. It was his personality. In high school, wrestlers like Carey are the fanatics who drop and add large numbers of pounds by obsessing every minute of the day, for an entire season, on their diet, their conditioning, their iron pumping. And then, when they "make weight," they go out and fight.

Vasquez and Carey both agree on what happened next.
When the office printer malfunctioned as Vasquez attempted to use it, Carey erupted at the secretary, who was responsible for keeping it serviced.

"Get the goddamned printer fixed, Deborah."
When Carey returned to his office, Vasquez handed the computer disk with Carey's brief on it to her daughter Marisa, with instructions that she locate another printer in a separate government agency that shares the same office building.

You have to walk the labyrinth of the Attorney General's Office, devoid of decoration and uniform in its cost-cutting drabness, seemingly designed to defy one's hope of locating true magnetic north, to understand Carey's pallor when he stepped out of his office at 11:40 a.m. and learned that a teenager was wandering the hallways with his first Supreme Court brief in search of a government printer.

Carey ordered Vasquez to find her daughter. Now.
For Vasquez, the problem was not her judgment, but his.
How could he have displayed his annoyance in front of a child?

When Vasquez filed for unemployment benefits after resigning from the Attorney General's Office, she recalled the Anna Ott episode for the hearing officer. She also brought Marisa, her only witness, to testify about Carey's breach of manners when his Supreme Court brief went missing.

Rob Carey's reaction to Vasquez's handling of the Supreme Court brief and the kidnaping situation was by the book; it also displayed a kind of emotional insensitivity that plagues people whose priority is achieving, not nurturing.

Sometimes, you need to throw the bookout the window, but Carey is comfortable with his agenda and the manner in which he checks off the items on his legal pad.

"I am self-confident, and I'm aggressive," Carey said to describe his office modus operandi. "I see things, black and white. I get it done, one way or the other, bottom line, I get it done."

But if his reaction to Vasquez's overstepping was harsh, it was harshest at first blush. He was not totally unmindful that Vasquez's actions during the Ott kidnaping were the result of a heart that beat too strong.

After Vasquez ran from the office following his criticism, Carey approached one of his division chiefs, Sydney Davis, and asked if Vasquez could be transferred into her office to take consumer-fraud calls. Carey hoped that position might satisfy her urge to help people.

Davis agreed to accept Vasquez.
Vasquez acknowledges the offer of a transfer, but says Carey would have made her life miserable no matter where she went in the Attorney General's Office.

Carey's thoughtful gesture was not a quirk.
John MacDonald, director of intergovernmental affairs at the Attorney General's Office, is disgusted by the hard image of Carey that has emerged in the media, and exasperated that the man refuses to defend himself. He tells a story that he wants to take back as soon as the words leave his lips.

"We have a young secretary at the Attorney General's [Office] who is terminally ill. The state allows you to donate your own leave time to someone in this situation. The average donation is four to six hours. Ten is atypical.

"Carey, who has never even met this woman, donated 150 hours of his time. When you leave state service, you take that accumulated leave with you. All that money is like a savings account, which is how everyone treats it. And because Rob makes a very good salary, that was a lot of money. Later, he donated another 50 hours."

No sooner had MacDonald finished than he said abruptly, "You can't print that. No one knows about it. Rob would be furious ifthat appeared in a newspaper. He's veryquiet about that sort of thing. I only know about it from trying to sort through and make sense of Deborah's files after sheleft. That's where I found the paperwork on the leave time."

It would take a full week before MacDonald relented and allowed the information to be published.

And Carey's acts of kindness are not always directed to faceless strangers who, after all, could not vex him. He has also gone to bat for Vasquez.

According to several supervisors who worked under Carey, and all of the othersecretaries who labored alongside Vasquez, she would have been fired long before she left, except for her boss's tolerance.

"Her work product, her attitude, in late, out early ... Deborah Vasquez would have been fired six to eight months earlier if Carey had listened to me," says MacDonald. "I told him he had to let her go, that he couldn't afford to keep someone around who spent all her time badmouthing him.

"His response was, 'I can't do it. She's got a sick kid.'
"He personally saved her job."
MacDonald was not the only person who complained to Carey about Vasquez.

Carey's girlfriend could not understand the treatment she received at the hands of Vasquez.

Wendy Sanchez, a broadcaster at Channel 3, met Carey at a charity fund raiser. They went out on their first date just two months after Vasquez went to work at the Attorney General's Office.

"She was so rude to me. She didn't like it when I called," says Sanchez of Carey's secretary. "It got so bad that I hated to call there. I told Rob, 'You call me. I'm not calling there.'"

Sanchez was mystified later, after all the hell broke loose around Carey and she saw Vasquez's interview with another newscaster at Channel 3, Bennett Cunningham.

The secretary acted as if her problem with Carey revolved around the prosecutor's treatment of Sanchez.

Cunningham had done a lengthy interview with Vasquez about her charges of corruption at the Attorney General's Office. Though he chose not to air Vasquez's more personal allegations, he did save the tape to show to Sanchez.

"I couldn't believe it. She just went on about how Rob was unfaithful to me, how he would call up these other women and see them when I was out of town. It was incredible," says Sanchez. "She was saying this stuff to go on the air, as if she were my friend. It was outrageous."

Sanchez, who wanted to brain Cunningham for swallowing such malarkey and feeling that Sanchez needed to know about her randy boyfriend, was flabbergasted by the tape.

"To begin with, I haven't been out of town," says Sanchez. "And besides that, I know Rob Carey. He's not out dating other women. We've been together constantly since our first date. We got very serious, very fast. Rob isn't promiscuous."

And yet that is precisely the idea that Vasquez floated.
When she explained her $15 million lawsuit to state investigators, Vasquez cited Carey's promiscuity as part of the scandal at the Attorney General's Office.

She even recalled Carey's explanation for sleeping with so many young women: He had joked that he suffered from "post-ejaculation deficit disorder."

It was such a telling anecdote to enter into the official record. Even in transcript form, the crack jumps off the page.

But the woman to whom Carey made the comment says that Vasquez has completely twisted the context of the remark.

Leslie Hall, director of the Civil Division of the Attorney General's Office, says that she and Carey were kidding back and forth about the condition of men and women generally.

"It was a stupid but hilarious conversation. It was, like, commentary on, after sex, he was completely distracted," says Hall. "It had nothing to do with philandering, and certainly nothing to do with his philandering."

MacDonald, who was the third party to the conversation, agreed. He added that this entire campaign to portray Carey as a womanizer is outrageous.

"I knew Rob Carey before I took this job. I've known him for years. I can count the number of women he's dated on one hand. He's a serial monogamist."

Wendy Sanchez's mother has tried to help her 25-year-old daughter survive the nine months of relentless scrutiny Carey has undergone, and its possible effects on their relationship. The former deputy mayor of Los Angeles, Sanchez's mother is currently the head of the University of New Mexico's counseling division.

"At first, she teased me about it," recalled Sanchez. "She asked, 'With all the men to choose from, why was it necessary to fall in love with someone under investigation?' But as this dragged on and some of this really ugly stuff came out, Mom asked if Deborah had a crush on Rob.

"She told Rob, 'Deborah wouldn't do this just because she hated you.'"
Armchair psychology is questionable business, and Sanchez's mother has a limited view from her post in Albuquerque.

But there is a gender tension that informs Vasquez's complaints.
"It was really hard for me," Vasquez said when describing the difficulty of working for Carey. "I always wanted to say--being a single woman myself--always want to say to these young girls, 'No, don't get trapped in this.'

"And they were just so infatuated with him, you know? He was a hotshot."
Vasquez's sexual anxiety extends to anyone perceived as part of Carey's circle.

One of the women who worked alongside Vasquez testified about Vasquez's poor attitude on the job at the secretary's unemployment hearing.

When her request for unemployment benefits was denied, Vasquez responded to the hearing officer in writing in a petition for review.

Attacking the witness's credibility, Vasquez wrote of her former colleague that "[her] willingness to compromise herself for a paycheck can be evidenced by the fact that she went so far as sleeping with one of Mr.Carey's best friends, subsequently destroying a marriage involving two small children, with no remorse for the emotional pain she had caused."

Since Vasquez resigned her job and fled Carey's presence as if she'd been scalded, the circle of sexual misconduct she perceives has expanded. She sees plots and wrongdoing everywhere.

In an interview for this article, Deborah Vasquez revealed that she used a private investigator to delve into Attorney General Grant Woods' sexual predilections.

Vasquez is quite frank about her perception that Woods, as well as Carey, must go.

As with many crusaders' causes, Vasquez's can play as emotional drama and balloon out in unanticipated directions. That is what happened during her wide-ranging attacks on the Attorney General's Office.

It happened in the case of the Supreme Court brief. There, Carey's unforgivable offense was the display of irritation in front of a child, a stress-induced transgression Vasquez explained by imagining her boss had been off skiing instead of taking care of business.

It happened when she went to work as a secretary and imagined her tasks included saving Arizona's children.

And it continues to happen today, even in casual settings.
For example, in a recent conversation she asserted that there is something wrong with Attorney General Woods' offspring.

"I can see it in their eyes," said Vasquez.
Though she confessed that she has never talked to the Woods children, who were the subject of a custody battle, she is convinced of her diagnosis.

"I always sensed that there was something they weren't telling. ... It was only a sense that a person who was very close to children would have."

But Vasquez's eye for wrongdoing extends far beyond the attorney general's behavior as a parent.

Offshore bank accounts, money laundering, hookers, real estate developers cavorting with underage girls--it's all connected, according to Vasquez. There are enormous conspiracies.

"Just look at this," says Vasquez, handing over a sheet of paper for inspection.

The paper is blank except for a single paragraph.
An inmate "who is currently incarcerated at Alhambra jail indicated that a woman, not further identified, and recently released from jail at Alhambra, informed the inmate of the following: The woman, who was in jail with the inmate, had embezzled $900,000 quite some time ago from an unknown company. Grant Woods was the woman's attorney and he was allegedly paid $150,000 from the embezzled money to defend her. The female embezzler claims to have told Woods that if she was convicted, Woods should take the balance of the $900,000 and invest it on her behalf. The woman embezzler now claims that Woods does not recall such an arrangement and she is unable to get access to the embezzled funds."

Vasquez sits at the table in Oscar Taylor restaurant and spreads out the files of paranoia and jailhouse gossip she has collected on Attorney General Grant Woods. There is barely room left for her teacup.

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Michael Lacey
Contact: Michael Lacey