Page 3 of 7

It did. In the Prescott Sheraton file at the Liquor Department, one staffer angrily jotted down that he had been pressured by Hal Pershall, the assistant superintendent, to okay the license even "when it was brought in incomplete." A DPS officer was immediately alerted and hand-delivered the necessary information to the Liquor Department. This enabled the hotel to serve booze a month after the application had been made.

The usual wait is three months, but the hotel couldn't even wait one month. Because it sits on land owned by the Yavapai tribe, the hotel management persuaded the tribe to apply for a temporary license so the hotel could serve booze for its opening. Trouble was, the hotel violated liquor laws during the time it was operating with the Indians' permit, according to Ennis.

Guess who got fined by the Liquor Department? The Indians.
Ennis' reasoning? The Indians owned the temporary license. Some people would point out that it was the Sheraton that violated the liquor laws.

Hugh Ennis always acts like he does the right thing. For instance, he seems to think that he did his old friend Rose Mofford a favor in 1988 when he agreed to take on the superintendent's post, which pays $67,173 a year. Ennis always calls Mofford "Rose" and says he's known her for years, because her ex-husband Lefty (now deceased) also had been a Phoenix cop.

Ennis says when he took over as superintendent, the Liquor Department was a "pretty demoralized outfit."

Especially the investigations unit, which Jonovich says suffered from "a lot of bitterness, petty jealousies and pretty sad antics in terms of character assassinations, backbiting and infighting."

So what's changed?
Not much.

A FEW MONTHS AGO, a female investigator filed a sexual harassment complaint against a male co-worker. He responded by accusing the woman of breaking wind in a department car while the two were on assignment.

Asked whether the male co-worker's allegation might be a little petty, Jonovich says only that "if employees are offended by something, we have to look at it. It's addressed and it's handled."

And there is the story of how Curly Moore, a Liquor Department staffer who checked to make sure bars are complying with liquor laws, got caught last year shoplifting cologne in a Smitty's store.

Moore resigned, but some people say he should have been fired. Moore, a former Yavapai County sheriff, was resented because many thought he was hired simply because he was a friend of Mofford's and Ennis'.

Ennis says he hired Moore because he was competent, not because he was a friend. But he has more sympathy for Moore than he does for some other ex-employees. He says the shoplifting probably occurred because Moore was despondent over losing a re-election bid. "He didn't know how to say, `I'm having a lot of trouble dealing with what's going on in my life,'" Ennis says of his fellow cop. "He just as well as hung a sign around his neck that said, `I'm a shoplifter.'"

A couple of months ago, Jonovich himself was reprimanded by Ennis for racing along at 102 mph in an official car en route to Douglas.

"I did it. I'm guilty. It's mine," says Jonovich. "I had no idea I was going that speed." Jonovich points out that he has a formal reprimand in his file and had to take a day off work without pay. And he emphasizes that he paid to attend traffic school on his day off.

Jonovich and other investigators have put their time, energy and state dollars into other pursuits. There was a time, for example, when the investigations unit of the Liquor Department was obsessed with sausages. Last year, investigator Norman Perkins sued Jonovich and another co-worker, Garry Shumann, for insulting his manliness by calling him a "missing weenie." It's difficult to tell from the legal papers at Maricopa County Superior Court who's more juvenile--Perkins or his tormentors.

In the lawsuit, Perkins complained that his life was made miserable by obscene drawings of sausages on memos and organizational charts. He says Shumann and Jonovich began the weenie crusade after they learned Perkins had been arrested in the Sixties for vagrancy, simple assault, and ironically, aiding and abetting a drunk driver. Perkins says he was never charged for the crimes.

Shumann, Perkins, Jonovich, and Ennis wouldn't comment on the case, scheduled for trial later this spring.

That wasn't the first time Jonovich had been sued for, in effect, bullying.

In 1981, a Phoenix police officer named Frank Gentry sued the City of Phoenix, Jonovich and several other city cops for "retaliatory investigations."

KEEP PHOENIX NEW TIMES FREE... Since we started Phoenix New Times, it has been defined as the free, independent voice of Phoenix, and we'd like to keep it that way. With local media under siege, it's more important than ever for us to rally support behind funding our local journalism. You can help by participating in our "I Support" program, allowing us to keep offering readers access to our incisive coverage of local news, food and culture with no paywalls.
Terry Greene