Jeffery Hendershott Among Employees in Alleged Nepotism Scheme by Father, Former MCSO Chief Deputy Dave Hendershott

Jeffery Hendershott, the son of former Maricopa County Sheriff's Office Chief Deputy David Hendershott, was among several people named in a recent probe of questionable hiring practices at the office.

Hendershott, a 29-year-old who was arrested yesterday on suspicion of DUI and hit-and-run, worked for the sheriff's office as a communications dispatcher for about a year starting in 2005. He was one of eight family members or friends of David Hendershott who were hired at the request of the former chief deputy, according to an investigative report.

The allegation of nepotism were made by MCSO Deputy Chief Frank Munnell in his well-publicized memo and investigated by the Pinal County Sheriff's Office at the request of Sheriff Joe Arpaio. Loretta Barkell, former MCSO chief financial officer, told investigators that it was common to refer to the hires as "FODs," or "Friends of Dave."

Barkell said she and the Human Resources director at the time, MaryEllen Sheppard, were repeatedly approached by David Hendershott and asked to find a way to "quickly" hire the friends and relatives.

Hendershott wouldn't specify which position to put the people in, but would insist that they get the position "that could get the person the most money," Barkell told Pinal investigators. Most of the employees were hired on a temporary basis, which required less paperwork. Many were then moved to full-time positions.

In the 1,022-page Munnell Memo investigative report released in May, Deputy Chief Steve Werner states that he briefly supervised Jeffery Hendershott during his one-year stint in dispatch.

During that time, Werner received several complaints from supervisors that "Jeffery was a poor employee who came to work in basketball shorts and tank tops and bragged about his father's wealth."

Judging from the mug shot from yesterday's arrest, Jeffery Hendershott still enjoys basketball attire.

The "wealth" part might raise the ire of taxpayers, considering David Hendershott was a longtime government employee who was richly rewarded by Arpaio at public expense. Hendershott was an infamous double-dipper who pulled in about $267,000 annually in recent years due to his combined salary and pension. He moved into a posh, 5,700-square-foot rental home last year, apparently after walking away from his foreclosed former estate.

David Hendershott was fired in April by Arpaio after the Munnell Memo investigation revealed evidence of numerous policy violations and potential crimes.

One thing the investigation didn't support was that Hendershott had violated county policies barring nepotism in hiring. Yet it's clear from the Pinal County report that investigators thought something untoward was going on, even if it didn't rise to the level of a policy violation.

At David Hendershott's request, according to witness statements in the report, MCSO hired:

* Michael Rayball, Hendershott's sister-in-law's husband.
* David Hendershott, Jr.
* Jeffery Hendershott.
* Adam Vecchi, Hendershott Jr's high-school friend.
* Forrest Mark Anderson, Hendershott Jr's friend.
* Lyzandra Ovist, who had worked for a school district under Hendershott's wife.
* Gary Cress, the father of a woman who dated Hendershott Jr.
* Patricia Cordova, Hendershott's wife's sister.

The report states that Werner told Lisa Allen, Arpaio's spokeswoman, that Jeffery Hendershott was having problems as an employee.

After Allen related the news to another employee, Hendershott "would yell at Lisa Allen and others and never recognized that it was his son who was the problem," Werner told investigators. "Eventually, Jeffery resigned and told others that his father was going to find him a job elsewhere."

In several other cases, MCSO employees believed that the "Friends of Dave" were less experience or qualified than others who could have been placed in the positions.

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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.

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