David Farca, head of the quasi-governmental Arizona-Mexico Commission, has been fired from the presidency of Arizona's professional soccer team.
Last year, Governor Doug Ducey appointed Farca to a non-salaried post running the Arizona-Mexico Commission, a nonprofit that works to enhance the state's business relationship with Mexico. As president, Farca is the primary international contact for the agency.
While his role at the agency hasn't been questioned, Phoenix New Times revealed last month that Farca has had problems with his Scottsdale interior-design business, ToH Design Studio, including a lawsuit filed by a former friend and tens of thousands of dollars in federal tax liens.
In a statement sent to New Times on Wednesday, the Arizona United Soccer Club cited Farca's "pre-existing business commitments" as a reason for his departure:
"Our aggressive plans for the growth of Arizona United SC require highly focused administrative leadership. David Farca's pre-existing business commitments were distracting him from giving the Club his full attention."
Farca did not respond to an e-mail from New Times requesting comment for this story.
In August, an investors' group led by Berke Bakay, CEO of Kona Grill, appointed Farca president of the United Soccer League team. (The group had recently purchased the majority share of the team from its founder, advertising exec Kyle Eng.) It's unclear whether Farca, who also owns a company called International Business Group, was an investor.
The Arizona United Soccer Club board announced the change in leadership in a statement Tuesday night:
"The Executive Committee of the Arizona United SC Board of Directors unanimously agreed to end Farca's employment as the Club's president yesterday. The Board is very pleased about the progress the Club is making to prepare for the 2017 season. This change was necessary to keep Arizona United SC focused on that path to success.
"Bobby Dulle will continue in his current role as Arizona United SC's chief operations officer and will also assume responsibility for the projects that were led by Farca."
The Internal Revenue Service has filed five liens against ToH and Farca since 2013, in amounts that reached a high of $112,532. County records show that as of April of this year, an unpaid balance of $26,867 remained.
In 2014, Farca entered into a deal to renovate the Cabo San Lucas vacation home of Greg Hoyt, whom he knew through their membership in the Thunderbirds Charities, the group that hosts the Waste Management Phoenix Open golf tournament.
Hoyt claims in the ongoing lawsuit in Maricopa County Superior Court that he paid Farca a total of $202,493 to remodel and furnish the Cabo home but didn't do the work and displayed a "consistent pattern of dishonest conduct."
In an e-mail Farca sent to Hoyt in December, just before Hoyt filed the lawsuit, Farca apologized for the way the deal had transpired:
If you like this story, consider signing up for our email newsletters.
SHOW ME HOW
You have successfully signed up for your selected newsletter(s) - please keep an eye on your mailbox, we're movin' in!
"Please know that it has not been ill-intentioned," Farca wrote in the e-mail which is part of the court file in the case. "I assume the responsibility, as being head of the business I am ultimately responsible for everything. I am embarrassed and ashamed for what happened and want you to know that I will see this through until the last item is delivered and installed. I will also make it up to you and compensate you however you see fit."
Hoyt seeks $400,000 from Farca for his alleged loss and damages for the defendant's "deceptive conduct."
Ducey's office continues to back Farca, noting that whatever may be going on his private life has not spilled over into the good work he has done for the Arizona-Mexico Commission.
"The governor credits Farca with much of the improved relationship that has taken place" between Arizona and Mexico, says Daniel Scarpinato, Ducey's spokesman.