Maricopa County Craziness

Andrew Thomas Mans Up, Says He'll Drop $47 Million Claim; (The Fact That His Case Sucked May Have Played a Role in Decision)

Former County Attorney Andrew Thomas, having previously submitted $47 million in claims against the state and county, has now apparently decided to man up.

Though he was fully prepared to soak the taxpayers for tens of millions, he now realizes -- according to an e-mail he sent to Arizona Republic columnist Laurie Roberts -- that either A) He's too proud to take public money in these tough times, or B) He's achieved victory without the payoff.

Thomas, who faces disbarment in a State Bar disciplinary action later this month, told Roberts that he's dropping his claims because "somebody should lead by example in this time of economic crisis."

Besides, he added, county leaders have decided to keep using public money to pay for his legal defense in the Bar proceedings, and that matter was "at the heart" of his notices of claim.

That's total bull, of course.

As can be read in the $23.5 million notice of claim he filed with the county in January (he also wanted a similar amount from the state), Thomas believed the claim "is his only remaining way of seeking justice, clearing his name, and upholding the rule of law in the county he served and still calls home."

Since that was really the "heart" of his claim, what could make him want to drop the case now?

The answer that makes the most sense is that his lawyer decided there was no way this case was going to be worth the work. Without any decent prospect of a multi-million-dollar payout, the only sensible option was to pull out.

To Thomas, who left office early only to lose the state Attorney General's seat to Tom Horne, quitting is a reflex.

Oh, and along the same lines, we noticed today that Thomas has taken down the Web site for the little law firm he launched last November. That $5.99 a month hosting fee can really be a bitch.

We're curious what you think:

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Ray Stern has worked as a newspaper reporter in Arizona for more than two decades. He's won numerous awards for his reporting, including the Arizona Press Club's Don Bolles Award for Investigative Journalism.