Maricopa County Craziness

Maricopa County Sues in Federal Court for Refund on Sheriff's Bus; Motor Coach Industries "Illegally" Received Proceeds, Says Suit


Maricopa County quickly followed up on a threat to sue over a $456,000 bus bought by Sheriff Joe Arpaio's office, launching a lawsuit in federal court today.

Yesterday's 4-1 vote by the Board of Supervisors should have given attorneys more time to negotiate with the bus company, Motor Coach Industries, before a suit was filed, according to some reports.

Negotiations have apparently failed.

The suit argues that Arpaio's office acquired the bus -- intended for transporting jail inmates -- without following proper purchasing rules. The county is asking the U.S. District Court to order Motor Coach to take its darned bus back and refund the entire purchase amount.

As we mentioned yesterday, the county hasn't outlined exactly what Motor Coach did wrong, and the motion for declaratory judgment sheds no more light on the subject.

Sure, we get it -- Arpaio's office screwed up. Clearly, Arpaio thinks his minions should be able to spend hundreds of thousands of dollars without any oversight from anyone outside his office.

Yet beyond saying Motor Coach "illegally received" the proceeds of the sale, the motion doesn't expound on the county's theory that the company should have known the Sheriff's Office was acting inappropriately.

The implication is that a secret deal was made between Arpaio's office and the Illinois company. We're eager for more details.



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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.