Feathered Bastard

Joe Arpaio's Pal Paul Babeu Sends Bill To Maricopa County on Munnell Memo Investigation

So we don't yet have Pinal County Sheriff Paul Babeu's report on his department's investigation into allegations contained in the now infamous Munnell memo, but we do have a bill for services rendered.

It totals just over $46K, but the services rendered were not rendered by the Pinal County Sheriff's Office, but by Investigative Research, Inc., a Phoenix-based private eye firm.

Seems Babeu, who took on the inquiry at the request of Sheriff Joe Arpaio, farmed out a lot of the work. Babeu sent three invoices from the company to Maricopa County, but county spokeswoman Cari Gerchick tells me that the county will not pay Investigative Research directly.

Rather, the county has okayed an intergovernmental agreement with Pinal County, and once Pinal signs off on it, Maricopa will pay Pinal, and Pinal will pay the P.I.'s bill.

Gerchick also told me the cost of the investigation will be paid from the county's general fund. that is, not directly from Arpaio's budget for the MCSO.

Did the PCSO do any work on its own? If so, they may be billing more than what IR's asking for.

You can read the invoices for yourself, here, here, and, here. Most of the players mentioned in the Munnell memo are name-checked. Investigators interviewed everyone from Deputy Chief  Frank Munnell himself to MCSO's chief of business operations Loretta Barkell, and Arpaio's top flack Lisa Allen.

And of course, those accused of wrongdoing and corruption by Munnell are questioned at length, including Captain Joel Fox, MCSO director Larry Black, and everyone's favorite county villain, Chief Deputy David Hendershott.

Indeed, Hendershott's interviewed four times, according to the bills, for a total of more than 30 hours.

One person not interviewed was Sheriff Joe himself, which seems to indicate that investigators were not going all the way to the top. Anyone out there smell a whitewash?

In any case, since we the taxpayers have been footing the bill for Herndershott, Black and Fox to kick it on paid administrative leave for several months now, and since we'll be paying for the PCSO's report, which could be out tomorrow for all we know, we deserve to get copies of ALL of the interviews and documents involved.

We'll see if Babeu's willing to cough up the docs. If this $46K leads to recommendations that Black, Fox and Hendershott be fired, it's $46K well spent. If not, someone has some 'splainin' to do. And that someone rocks a chrome dome and a French surname.

KEEP PHOENIX NEW TIMES FREE... Since we started Phoenix New Times, it has been defined as the free, independent voice of Phoenix, and we'd like to keep it that way. With local media under siege, it's more important than ever for us to rally support behind funding our local journalism. You can help by participating in our "I Support" program, allowing us to keep offering readers access to our incisive coverage of local news, food and culture with no paywalls.
Stephen is a former staff writer and columnist at Phoenix New Times.
Contact: Stephen Lemons