FBI's Ben Arredondo Bust Apparently Cracked Open a Bit by Talking Points Memo

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Talking Points Memo has discovered some names behind the FBI's investigation into state Representative/former Tempe Councilman Ben Arredondo and others, which has so far led to Arredondo's indictment on charges of bribery, fraud, attempted extortion and making false statements.

How did Arredondo end up getting suckered into allegedly taking $6,000 worth of tickets to sporting and charity events from FBI agents posing as real estate developers?

TPM says lobbyist Mike Williams had a hand in that.

Williams -- who starred in roles such as the "Desert Divas" client list -- could be working for the FBI against his old political pals, TPM contends.

(If you're a public official from Tempe who just said "oh shit" to the last two sentences, this is our last warning to you to grab plane tickets to Morocco.)

TPM explains the FBI's fake company -- "Company A" in the indictment -- was called Longford Solutions, and Williams was listed as its lobbyist.

Someone "working for" Longford Solutions -- who had donated to Arredondo's campaign under an apparent alias -- met with Arredondo at the IHOP on Apache Boulevard, TPM discovered. Vice Mayor Joel Navarro and Councilman Corey Woods were also present.

It would seem that Arredondo's niece, Robin Arredondo-Savage, was also present, since the indictment states that a "councilmember-elect" was also there for the July 17, 2010 IHOP meeting.

What was discussed in those meetings isn't specific in Arredondo's indictment.

According to the minutes from the city council meeting exactly one week after those meetings, Arredondo publicly thanked Williams and an employee from the city's planning department for their "professionalism."

Arredondo's indictment mentions that Arredondo told the FBI agents he had "persuade[d]" one of the city's planners to give the fake company a sweet deal on the real estate months prior to Arredondo's thanks at the council meeting, but it's not clear whether that's the same person.

As for Williams, he's got some roots around Tempe City Hall and other Tempe offices. Stay tuned.

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