Feathered Bastard

Joe Arpaio's David Hendershott, Now Licensed Private Investigator

Sheriff Joe Arpaio's disgraced former enforcer David Hendershott may no longer be the sheriff's chief deputy, he may stand accused of all manner of misconduct and ill-deeds during his tenure at the MCSO, but he was still able to score a license to be a private investigator from the Arizona Department of Public Safety.

DPS's web page on state shamuses shows that Hendershott's PI number is1621092, which expires 11/21/13. A spokesperson for DPS confirmed that this is indeed the same David Hendershott fired by Arpaio back in April of 2011.

Hendershott's license was issued in November of this year, and he has his own firm, called, ironically, "Discreet Investigations," which he advertises on the site Manta.com with an address in north Phoenix. 

Thing is, I'm not exactly sure how "discreet" a blustery, power-addicted top cop who once threatened to "machine-gun" recalcitrant deputies for refusing to deliver search warrants on the sheriff's enemies can be. 

The erstwhile county kingpin is listed as "owner" in the ad. The "products and services" offered include "child abduction recovery," "video and photographic surveillance," and "cheating spouse."

That "child abduction recovery" line is particularly rich considering that an audit by the Pinal County Sheriff's Department into MCSO improprieties slammed Hendershott for, among other things, halting an internal probe into the MCSO's failure to investigate sex crime cases in El Mirage.

The issue is described in the PCSO's report as, "Inappropriate termination by David Hendershott of an internal affairs investigation related to the adequacy of sex crimes or other investigations performed by MCSO for the El Mirage Police Department."

It goes on to describe how Hendershott, concerning the sex-crimes internal review, instructed the lead MCSO detective on the investigation to, "Put it on your back burner, don't touch it. Put it away."

Well, you could call that a kind of "discretion," I suppose. Albeit, the wrong kind.

Not all of the allegations against Hendershott were sustained by the PCSO report, but this one concerning the sex crimes was.

Discreet Investigation's trade name is registered with the Arizona Secretary of State, and is owned by a company called Global Business Links Management LLC. 

The Arizona Corporation Commission lists Hendershott as the statutory agent for GBLM and notes that it is a "foreign" or out-of-state LLC, with an address in Delaware.

The domestic address for the LLC and the address listed for Discreet Investigations on the SOS's website is the same as Hendershott's 5,700 square-foot "Tuscan Estate" rental home in Desert Hills, which my colleague Ray Stern blogged about last year

The realtor has a YouTube video online, giving viewers a virtual tour of the five bedroom, five bath house, with its basement billiard room and a plush mini-cinema. 

I have no idea if Hendershott still lives there, but you'll recall Hendershott's foreclosure problems on another property in Peoria, on which he'd taken out a $774,000 second mortgage. He and his wife have reportedly filed for bankruptcy at least twice.

The phone number listed on the SOS's site for Hendershott's PI firm is active. When I called, a man with a sonorous voice acknowledged that the number was for Discreet Investigations and that he was, indeed, David Hendershott. 

When I identified myself, Hendershott hung up.

The six month probe of shenanigans in the county sheriff's office, fronted by Pinal County sheriff and now-Congressional candidate Paul Babeu, revealed layers of alleged corruption, and implicated Hendershott and former MCSO top dogs Larry Black and Joel Fox in various unethical and allegedly criminal activities.

State statutes govern the qualifications and requirements for private investigators, and conviction or an indictment for a felony offense would disqualify someone from garnering or keeping a PI license. DPS' licensing unit is charged with keeping an eye on the gumshoes and investigating complaints against them.

But no indictments have ever resulted from the allegations against Hendershott, so Arpaio's ex-henchman is free to ply his new trade...as a private dick. 

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Stephen is a former staff writer and columnist at Phoenix New Times.
Contact: Stephen Lemons