Rodney Glassman Raising Cash for Official Who Could Vote to Appoint Him Assessor

Rodney Glassman, second from left, at the 2018 Legislative Forecast Luncheon in Phoenix.
Rodney Glassman, second from left, at the 2018 Legislative Forecast Luncheon in Phoenix. Gage Skidmore/Flickr
Rodney Glassman is running for Maricopa County Assessor.

Glassman, a former Tucson City Councilman and generally unsuccessful political candidate, also plans to hold a fundraiser for Republican Maricopa County Supervisor Jack Sellers on November 13, according to a copy of an invitation obtained by Phoenix New Times.

Here's why that's a problem:

Sellers could be among the five people voting on the appointment of a new assessor if Paul Petersen, the criminally indicted official currently occupying the role, resigns before 2020. The Maricopa County Board of Supervisors recently suspended Petersen without pay for 120 days after he was arrested for an adoption scheme involving pregnant women from the Marshall Islands. Petersen has resisted bipartisan calls for his resignation.

Since Glassman filed his candidacy for assessor, there's a good chance he would apply for the office should Petersen step down. That would present a conflict of interest for Sellers.

It could also present a conflict of interest for Republican Supervisors Bill Gates, Clint Hickman, and Steve Chucri, three of the other five voting board members. All three are listed as co-hosts on the invitation for the upcoming fundraiser hosted by Glassman and Paul Gilbert, a partner at the law firm Beus Gilbert McGroder.

Elect Jack Sellers campaign
On Monday, neither Sellers nor Glassman responded to text messages seeking request for comment. Read receipts indicated that both men received the messages from Phoenix New Times.

In response to questions, Maricopa County Communications Director Fields Mosley emailed a statement: "In this specific situation, there is no vacancy of office and therefore no plans by the Board of Supervisors to appoint an assessor. Supervisor Sellers and other members of the Board are always cautious to make sure they are within the law regarding conflicts of interest."

According to the invitation, the fundraiser is planned for November 13 at Gilbert's law office.

The minimum contribution to attend is $100, but the invite notes that the maximum allowable individual political contribution is $6,450. In addition to Sellers and his three Republican Supervisor colleagues, the invitation also lists the following public officials as guests: Corporation Commissioner Boyd Dunn, State Representative Jeff Weninger, Mesa Mayor John Giles, Chandler Mayor Kevin Hartke, Gilbert Mayor Jenn Daniels, and Queen Creek Mayor Gail Barney.

It's not certain that the Board of Supervisors will appoint a new assessor before 2020. Under state law, county supervisors do not have the power to directly remove an elected official under their jurisdiction. But the assessor position could still open up soon if Petersen resigns or is convicted of a felony, in which case he could be removed.

Glassman, a perennial candidate who has run for numerous offices in Arizona, including Corporation Commission and the U.S. Senate, also applied for Maricopa County Attorney when former county prosecutor Bill Montgomery left his seat for the State Supreme Court bench.

Glassman did not get the job. The Board of Supervisors voted unanimously to appoint Alister Adel, who became the first woman to hold the position. Twenty-two days later, Glassman filed his candidacy for Maricopa County Assessor.
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Steven Hsieh was a staff writer for Phoenix New Times from August 2018 to April 2020.
Contact: Steven Hsieh