Fiesta Bowl Fiasco: County Attorney Bill Montgomery to Announce Findings of Investigation Into Elected Officials

Keep New Times Free
I Support
  • Local
  • Community
  • Journalism
  • logo

Support the independent voice of Phoenix and help keep the future of New Times free.

Maricopa County Attorney Bill Montgomery is holding a press conference this morning to announce the findings of an eight-month investigation into elected officials who received gifts from the allegedly corrupt Fiesta Bowl organization.

It's unclear what Montgomery will announce -- the Arizona Republic reports he'll propose a plan to ban lawmakers from accepting gifts.

Regardless, here's what we know about former Fiesta Bowl CEO John Junker's allegedly using the organization's coffers as his personal ATM machine:

Junker was booted from the organization in March after an internal investigation revealed how he was spending the organization's money.

Junker, the report from the investigation shows, racked up a nearly $5 million bill on the company's credit card over a 10-year period by doing things like picking up the $1,200 tab at a strip club for a Maricopa County Sheriff's Office lieutenant, holding a $33,000 Pebble Beach birthday party for himself, and spending $110,000 at a charity auction for a golf trip -- all on the company's dime.

Read the full report on Junker here.

Many Valley politicos benefited from Junker's (ahem) generosity with the Fiesta Bowl's money -- including Junker's best customer, former Senate President Russell Pearce, who took nearly $44,000 from the organization in trips and tickets to sporting events..

Below are the names of elected officials who allegedly reaped the benefits of Junker's misdeeds.

Republican state Senator Carolyn Allen, the Arizona Republican Party, AZ Wins, Secretary of State Ken Bennett, Governor Jan Brewer, state Senator Scott Bundgaard, one-time candidate for treasurer Ted Carpenter, former state Senator Christopher Cummiskey, Congressman Jeff Flake, former state Representative Mike Gardner, former TV pitchman JD Hayworth, former state Representative Laura Knaperek, Maricopa County Supervisor Andrew Kunasek, Senator Jon Kyl, Scottsdale Mayor Jim Lane, former Scottsdale Mayor Mary Manross, Phil Martin, Senator John McCain, former Congressman Harry Mitchell, Navarro for City Council, former state Senate President Russell Pearce, Pete Rios, former Congressman John Shadegg, state Representative James Weiers, and Maricopa County Supervisor Mary Rose Wilcox.

It's also alleged that Natalie Wisneski, the former chief operating officer for the Fiesta Bowl, tried to cover up illegal campaign contributions by bowl employees, and that she filed false financial records.

According to a nine-count federal indictment, Wisneski solicited campaign contributions from Fiesta Bowl employees for various federal, state, and local political candidates. She then reimbursed the employees with Fiesta Bowl money.

Wisneski's also accused of filing false tax returns on behalf of the Fiesta Bowl when she denied that the organization had any lobbying or political expenditures.

The county attorney says this morning's announcement will be about a "criminal investigation of elected officials" who benefited from the alleged Fiesta Bowl scandal -- so some Valley politicos could potentially be in some hot water.

We'll be at Monty's press conference to get all the details -- check back for updates.

Keep Phoenix New Times Free... Since we started Phoenix New Times, it has been defined as the free, independent voice of Phoenix, and we would like to keep it that way. Offering our readers free access to incisive coverage of local news, food and culture. Producing stories on everything from political scandals to the hottest new bands, with gutsy reporting, stylish writing, and staffers who've won everything from the Society of Professional Journalists' Sigma Delta Chi feature-writing award to the Casey Medal for Meritorious Journalism. But with local journalism's existence under siege and advertising revenue setbacks having a larger impact, it is important now more than ever for us to rally support behind funding our local journalism. You can help by participating in our "I Support" membership program, allowing us to keep covering Phoenix with no paywalls.

We use cookies to collect and analyze information on site performance and usage, and to enhance and customize content and advertisements. By clicking 'X' or continuing to use the site, you agree to allow cookies to be placed. To find out more, visit our cookies policy and our privacy policy.


Join the New Times community and help support independent local journalism in Phoenix.


Join the New Times community and help support independent local journalism in Phoenix.