There's no other way to say it: Maricopa County is wack.
Sure, everyone's up in arms about the several thousands of dollars spent on Sheriff Joe Arpaio's laughable birther investigation. But let's be real, that's peanuts compared to the $100 million Arpaio's swiped from voter-protected funds so he could pursue two of his fave projects: chasin' Mexicans and ginning up false charges on his political enemies.
Then there are all the lawsuits for wrongful deaths and injuries in his medieval jails, totaling more than $50 million, and counting. Because with each new eruption of murderous cruelty by Joe's gendarmes, that dollar figure grows.
Truly, we should have a version of Manhattan's national debt clock installed outside downtown Phoenix's Wells Fargo Tower, where Arpaio keeps his tony executive offices, just so we know how much Arpaio's costing county taxpayers, day by day.
Thursday marks the beginning of the big ACLU racial-profiling lawsuit Melendres v. Arpaio, another colossal waste of cash brought on by Arpaio's Hispanic-hunting sweeps and raids.
You know, there are law enforcement agencies in the Valley and elsewhere that do not engage in a pattern and practice of discriminatory policing, which is illegal under the 14th Amendment to the U.S. Constitution, by the way. But the Maricopa County Sheriff's Office is not one of them.
How much will the tab be this go-around? Hard to predict, but I can tell you what Melendres has cost the county to defend so far: $834,577.08 through June 12, 2012. This, according to Maricopa County spokeswoman Cari Gerchick.
Of that total, $754,541.58 has been paid to Arpaio-attorney Tim Casey's firm Schmitt Schneck Smyth Casey & Even, P.C.; and $80,035.50, has been doled out to the firm Ogletree, Deakins, Nash, Smoak and Stewart.
Ogletree is no longer a part of the Melendres case (in fact, the county is in court with the law firm over its billing practices), leaving Casey and the Maricopa County Attorney's Office as co-counsels on behalf of Arpaio.
Oddly, Casey's only billed twice since April, according to the county.
That was the last time I blogged about the bank Casey's been making off this case and others resulting from Arpaio's malfeasance and misdeeds. Back then, Casey's total for Melendres was $735K.
Why hasn't Casey billed more in the last few months? 'Tis a mystery. But one would expect the month before trial to be hella expensive. Ditto the trial itself. Meaning that after Casey's finished billing the county for Melendres, he may be able to purchase his own South Pacific island, complete with natives to serve him pina coladas and fan him with palm fronds.
Ah the good life. Casey must experience the same satisfaction in his work as do mob lawyers, seeing that the MCSO could handily qualify as a crime family, with Nickel Bag Joe as Sand Land's version of the Don of Dons
Casey's a classy fella as well, and enjoys performing his own brand of street theater. When I caught his act in March, he was miming a cross between Richard Pryor and Marcel Marceau outside the Sandra Day O'Connor U.S. Courthouse.
But back to Maricopa County's denizens, who have compliantly swallowed the outlandish costs associated with having a clown as their sheriff for lo these 20 years.
Why do they put up with it and keep re-electing this third-rate wannabe mafioso? As I said, this county is wack. Which is why it would not surprise me a-tall if Arpaio, despite all of his baggage and stupidity and inhumanity (not to mention his price tag), were to be reelected yet again, for an unprecedented sixth term in office.
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