Maricopa County Craziness

David Smith, Maricopa County Manager, Gets No "Credit" for Not Suing County, Thomas Spokesman Says

  While Andrew Thomas won't stoop so low as to take our call, his debate-loving spokesman, Barnett Lotstein, nearly always calls us back.

We just heard from him on our question, posed in an earlier blog post:

If Thomas, who's running for state Attorney General, can praise Phoenix Mayor Phil Gordon for not suing Maricopa County, where's the love for Maricopa County Manager David Smith, who also promised publicly not to sue?

Smith "doesn't get any credit for that," Lotstein says. "We're not going to praise him."

The reason, Lotstein goes on to say, is that Smith is "orchestrating" a multi-million-dollar payout for other county officials, like Superior Court Judges Gary Donahoe and Barbara Mundell, retired judges Anna Baca and Kenneth Fields, county supervisors Don Stapley and Mary Rose Wilcox, Assistant County Manager Sandi Wilson and others. Conley Wolfswinkel, a shady and filthy rich, East Valley developer, and his family businesses also are asking for $10 million.

True, Smith is taking credit for coming up with the idea to use well-known D.C. mediator Kenneth Feinberg to divvy up the public dough.

But by not filing his own notice of claim against alleged abuses by Sheriff Joe Arpaio and former County Attorney Thomas -- a claim that probably would be as worthy as any of the others -- Smith's sacrificing a potential seven-figure infusion into his personal bank account.

Smith has been one of Thomas' harshest critics, going so far as to file a complaint with the State Bar last year against the former county attorney.

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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.