County Roundup: Arpaio Ordered to Attend Contempt Hearing; Stapley's Assistant Prepares to Sue County and More

Will the Maricopa County Board of Supervisors "contempt hearing" planned for May 24 really be the first step in the jailing of Sheriff Joe Arpaio?

It's hard to imagine that scenario will actually occur, but heck, the Arizona Republic says it might happen.

Forget the possibility of a federal indictment for civil rights violations or abusing his power -- Supervisors Don Stapley, Mary Rose Wilcox and the rest of 'em apparently want to put Arpaio in the pokey unless his office turns over requested financial records.

The supervisors want to examine detailed budget data about extraditions and the Sheriff's Office's use of county credit cards. Arpaio blew off a subpoena to turn over the records. Gee, think he's hiding something?

In other county news:

Stapley's executive assistant, Susan Schuerman, is preparing to sue the county over the investigation launched against her by Arpaio's office. Her attorney, Michael Manning, sent a letter to the county last week asking for the preservation of all records related to the Schuerman investigation.

Manning smartly reminds the county in his letter that Arpaio's minions have destroyed records sought by lawyers in the past, and he'll hold the county responsible if it happens in this case.

As you may recall, the Sheriff's Office (well, it was probably Chief Deputy David Hendershott, to be specific), and Thomas decided to go after Schuerman early last year as a way to get to Stapley.

As Mark Flatten of the (old) East Valley Tribune reported back then:

The investigation is to determine whether Susan Schuerman, Stapley's secretary, used county resources to conduct Stapley's private business, according to a letter from County Attorney Andrew Thomas.

Schuerman is named as the statutory agent on a company co-owned by Stapley, Arroyo Pacific Partners LLC. She listed her county phone and fax numbers on company documents filed with the Arizona Corporation Commission.

But the broader dispute raised by Thomas is whether county taxpayers should pay for a lawyer to represent Schuerman, and who gets to make that decision.

Thanks to Thomas' insistence on screwing over Schuerman, the lawyers who helped her defend against the allegations never got paid a dime. But how's this for hypocritical: Lisa Aubuchon, the unsuccessful prosecutor used by Thomas to lead his most politicized cases, is now being criminally investigated -- and she wants the county to pay for her lawyer.

Last week, one of Schuerman's attorneys, Fred Petti, was among several folks who testified before a federal grand jury about alleged abuses of power by Arpaio and Thomas.

Judges Barbara Mundell and Gary Donahoe, lawyers Ed Novak and Lee Stein, and Arpaio's director of communications, Lisa Allen, either testified or were scheduled to testify before the grand jury, according to media reports.

Lastly, a bit of inside baseball we find interesting:

Mike Scerbo, formerly the spokesman for Thomas' office, has been hired as a spokesman for the campaign of gubernatorial candidate Buz Mills.

The former KFYI radio reporter is working merely as a mouthpiece, but his presence on Mills' staff could be off-putting for the anti-Thomas crowd.

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