Maricopa County Craziness

Babeu Report and Investigation Into Sheriff Joe Arpaio's Office to Cost Maricopa County Up to $102,000

A six-month internal investigation of the Maricopa County Sheriff's Office that resulted in two of Arpaio's top men being fired will cost the county up to $102,000.

The amount is considerably higher than the $46,000 we heard it would cost earlier this year.

The Maricopa County Board of Supervisors is expected to vote on the issue tomorrow, and an agenda item states that it won't cost more than $102,000. Conceivably, the Board could balk at that amount and renegotiate.

But the higher figure is apparently what Pinal County, and the private investigator Sheriff Paul Babeu hired to do the work, are charging.

"The people who did the work should get paid," says Cari Gerchick, spokeswoman for Maricopa County.

She adds that even if the county pays the bill, it wouldn't necessarily be an "endorsement" of the investigation's findings, which caused Arpaio to fire Chief Deputy Dave Hendershott and Deputy Chief Larry Black.

The report ended up whitewashing the involvement of Arpaio in the allegations, in part because he was never the target of the investigation.

If the Board of Supervisors approves the amount, it'll be doing so before they or the public sees the entire 1,022-page report produced in the investigation.

As we reported a couple of weeks ago, a Superior Court judge ruled that about one-third of the report can stay blacked out until disciplinary proceedings are completed against MCSO employee Captain Joel Fox.

UPDATE July 6: County Supervisors vote to pay the $102,000.

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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.
Contact: Ray Stern