Politics

Don Kenney, Former "Quarterback" of AzScam, Stole Son's ID in 1998 to Work as Real Estate Broker in San Diego

Don Kenney, the former "quarterback" of one of Arizona's most notorious scandals, AzScam, stole his son's personal info in 1998 to work as a real-estate broker in San Diego.

This month, following a brief expose by former Arizona Republic reporter Lily Leung, Kenney's son agreed to surrender the real-estate license that had been fraudulently issued in his name. Donald John-Mark Kenney, who's gone by "John Kenney" his whole life and works as a Washington attorney, had nothing to do with the scam. It was just his dad up to his old tricks.

Donald James Kenney, 73, the former Republican legislator from Arizona who once famously took a bribe of $55,000 from a man he thought was connected to the mafia, had worked in the San Diego area as a broker until Leung's article caught the attention of California investigators.

Kenney served 14 months in prison after being found guilty of taking bribes in 1991.

California authorities are referring the case to a law enforcement agency.

When contacted by Leung, now a reporter for the U-T San Diego, Kenney claimed he was someone else.

Kenney also appears to have faked a career with the Internal Revenue Service on his Linkedin account, which is still active.

You don't need a PhD in criminal justice to see that the guy pictured in the Linkedin account is the same Don Kenney who once promised an informant to "quarterback" the bribing of legislators in order to pass a gambling bill.

The bogus wise guy, Joseph Stedino, (who actually was a former wise guy before turning informant), had convinced several Arizona lawmakers, both Republicans and Democrats, to take cash and other bribes in exchange for their pushing of legislation to legalize gambling in the state.

Arizona became a national laughingstock when police revealed details of the sting in February of 1991, which included numerous, memorable moments from the corrupt lawmakers: Carolyn Walker saying she wanted to "die rich;" Bobby Raymond's infamous zinger, "I don't give a fuck about issues... there is not an issue in this world I give a shit about. I do deals;" and Chuy Higuera's demand for not just cash, but for a shrimp stand at the planned casino.

If your memory of AzScam is hazy, you might want to check out Stedino's book, "What's In It for Me?" which is posted online.

Read Leung's latest story on Kenney's latest crime by clicking here.


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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