Mary Rose Wilcox finally got her million dollars from taxpayers.
The only question now is how the former County Supervisor, who's running for Congress, will spend the money.
We left a message with Wilcox's husband, Earl, today, and left a message with her congressional campaign yesterday. We haven't heard back from either. We'd like to know if she's picked out a sports car, established a college fund, or what.
In a statement on June 2, Wilcox said she and her husband "owe hundreds of thousands of dollars to banks, and hundreds of thousands of dollars to lawyers" because of the unethical criminal cases. However, we're pretty sure that still leaves her with "hundreds of thousands" to play with. She's refused our previous offers to describe precisely where the money will go.
The settlement check comes a couple of years after the former Maricopa County Supervisor sued the county over the legal abuse she suffered at the hands of Sheriff Joe Arpaio and ex-County Attorney Andrew Thomas.
By presenting bogus evidence to grand juries, Arpaio and Thomas were able to get Wilcox indicted twice on a raft of felonies and misdemeanors related to her non-disclosure of loans in public filings. The garbage cases were dropped by former Gila County Attorney Daisy Flores, whose office determined there was an "utter lack of motive or evidence" for the alleged criminal counts.
Back in 2011, former County Manager David Smith signed off on a $975,000 settlement for Wilcox that had been negotiated through a mediator. A federal judge upheld the settlement in April of 2012. But the county kept stubbornly trying to keep the money from her, even after paying off former Supervisor Don Stapley and current Supervisor Andy Kunasek. As of January, the county had spent nearly $400,000 to keep Wilcox from getting her hands on the approved settlement.
The U.S. Ninth Circuit Court of Appeals affirmed on June 2 that Wilcox should get the money. But still the county did not cut a check.
Last Wednesday, County Attorney Bill Montgomery told reporters that it was unlikely the county would appeal the latest ruling, and he saw no obstacles to Wilcox obtaining her cash. The county cut the check the same day, and notified New Times about it on Monday.
The above check for $1,007,594.74 was actually one of two cut for the settlement -- the second was for $78,803.08. The checks include not just the $975,000, but extra money for attorney's fees, and interest accrued since the federal court's 2012 ruling.
Wilcox deserved something for the bad acts committed against her by Arpaio and Thomas.
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In August's primary election, the people of Arizona's Congressional District 7 can decide for themselves if Wilcox asked for too much -- and vote accordingly.
Got a tip? Send it to: Ray Stern.