Joe Arpaio and Andrew Thomas' Bullying of County Officials Could Cost Taxpayers More Than $13 Million

The numbers have been tallied. If county officials get their way, lawsuits filed against Maricopa County over alleged wrongdoing by Sheriff Joe Arpaio and former County Attorney Andrew Thomas will cost taxpayers more than $13 million.

Three of the lawsuits were filed in Maricopa County Superior Court on Tuesday -- two others on November 23 -- by five current and former county officials, all of whom claim they were targeted by Arpaio and Thomas because they opposed the two politically.

Those who filed suit against the sheriff include Judge Gary Donahoe; former judges Barbara Mundell and Anna Baca; Deputy County Manager Sandi Wilson; and Susan Schuerman, executive assistant to Maricopa County Supervisor Don Stapley.

From the Arizona Republic:

- Wilson says Arpaio and Thomas targeted her after she recommended budget cuts to their agencies. She alleges Thomas and Aubuchon continued to defame and harass her even after they left office. She had offered to settle for written apologies or $2 million.

- Donahoe alleges Thomas and Hendershott filed a criminal complaint against him to create a conflict of interest that would force him off cases involving other legal battles between Thomas, Arpaio and other county officials. Donahoe's complaint alleges their investigation into the county's court-tower project "was simply the Trojan Horse for Arpaio and Thomas's assault on their political enemies. The only 'crime' committed by Judge Donahoe was to issue a ruling adverse to Arpaio and Thomas." Among other allegations, Donahoe claims Arpaio and Thomas ignored a grand-jury decision to kill the case against him, continued to publicly portray the judge as the subject of a criminal investigation and chose a man who Donahoe says threatened to kill him as the process server designated to deliver the complaint to him. Donahoe had offered to settle for $4.75 million.

- Former judges Mundell and Baca allege Arpaio and Thomas named them in a "baseless" racketeering lawsuit to "intimidate, harass, discredit and humiliate" them. They also claim Arpaio and Thomas intentionally tarnished their reputations and character through news releases, TV interviews and Internet postings. Each had offered to settle for $4.75 million.

- Schuerman, Stapley's assistant, alleges that prosecutors and investigators tapped her phones, followed her, sent sheriff's deputies to patrol her street and publicly denigrated her to intimidate her into cooperating with their criminal investigation into Stapley. She had offered to settle for $1.75 million.

There you have it taxpayers -- Joe Arpaio's bullying could end up costing you a cool $13 million.

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