Maricopa County Craziness

How Much Did Public Pay Lisa Aubuchon's Attorney to Tail Colorado Lawyer John Gleason?

Can you believe this nonsense?

First, former County Attorney Andrew Thomas and his deputy, Lisa Aubuchon, claim that county officials misused public funds by sweeping their offices for hidden listening devices.

Then, last month, a high-ranking sheriff's official publicly accuses county officials of a felony related to the sweeps, despite the fact that a grand jury already rejected the charge back in March.

Now, we learn these same characters sat back and let their Aubuchon's county-funded lawyer, Dennis Wilenchik, hire private eyes to tail the man appointed to investigate their own potential abuses of the legal system.

These are people are nothing if not bold.

The Arizona Republic broke this story of double standards, describing how Wilenchik admitted to hiring the private investigators to tail John Gleason, the man appointed by the state Supreme Court to look into allegations of misconduct by Thomas and Aubuchon.

The Republic story doesn't mention how much taxpayers spent on the private investigators.

Bill FitzGerald, spokesman for Interim County Attorney Rick Romley, tells New Times that no bills have been received for the private investigators; nor can Romley determine as of yet how much public money was spent.

Wilenchik did not immediately return an e-mail by New Times.

If public money was spent on tailing Gleason, though, the parallels to the bug-hunt case are worth noting. Recall that Thomas and Sheriff Joe Arpaio wanted

In both cases, there are allegations of county officials (or, in Wilenchik's case, a lawyer working for current officials using countermeasures to learn what they can about an official investigation.

Thomas, candidate for state Atapparently believes it's okay for him his former employee, Aubuchon, to hire people to spy on the public dime, but it's a felony if anyone else does it.

 

CORRECTION: Wilenchik is Aubuchon's lawyer, but doesn't represent Thomas. Thomas used to work for Wilenchik. He also appointed Wilenchik special prosecutor in the case against New Times, which resulted in the arrest -- and later exoneration -- of the newspaper's executives.

  

UPDATE: WHAT THE COUNTY PAID

 

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Ray Stern has worked as a newspaper reporter in Arizona for more than two decades. He's won numerous awards for his reporting, including the Arizona Press Club's Don Bolles Award for Investigative Journalism.