Maricopa County Craziness

Don Stapley Payout for Sheriff Arpaio's Antics: $3.5 Million

The Maricopa County Board of Supervisors didn't just settle with New Times' former top executives today -- the panel also settled with former Supervisor Don Stapley.

The county (or rather, its insurance company) will shell out $3.5 million to Stapley, who represented the east Valley on the board from 1994 to 2012 and infamously was arrested without good cause and smeared publicly by Sheriff Joe Arpaio and former County Attorney Andrew Thomas.

See also: -New Times Co-Founders Win $3.75 Million Settlement for False Arrests -Why's the Stapley Prosecution a Joke? The Accusers Are Far Shadier Than the Accused

Stapley decided not to run for office again last year following his troubles.

The settlements today to Stapley and to New Times' former executives Michael Lacey and Jim Larkin nearly end the painful saga of "county craziness," as we call it. Still unfinished is the business of Supervisor Mary Rose Wilcox's $975,000 disputed settlement. Concerns over how that settlement was made resulted in legal action now under consideration by the U.S. Ninth Circuit Court of Appeals.

Considering that Supervisor Andy Kunasek received his $123,000 settlement for legal fees, and now Stapley's on his way to his own fat check, Wilcox must be frustrated.

The public loses with the Stapley settlement -- because no Stapley trial will take place in January, after all. The settlement comes just after a devastating ruling in the case by U.S. District Judge Neil Wake, who ordered it to trial last month and rejected motions for summary judgment by Sheriff Arpaio and others.

It would have been a heck of show.

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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.