Mary Rose Wilcox, Janet Napolitano, Maricopa County and Others Sued by Boxer and Trainer; Ed Moriarity Represents Plaintiffs

Speaking of Ed Moriarity, the Montana lawyer recently helped a local boxer and boxing trainer file a lawsuit against Maricopa County Supervisor Mary Rose Wilcox, Janet Napolitano, and a raft of other defendants.

Boxer Luis "Yori Boy" Campas and promoter Joe Diaz filed a $43 million claim against the county back in November alleging numerous corrupt acts that led to their downfall in the local scene. On September 30, with Moriarity's help, they filed a lawsuit targeting the state of Arizona, Maricopa County, Wilcox and her husband, Earl, former Governor and current Homeland Security Secretary Napolitano, former state boxing commission director John Montano, former county attorney Rick Romley, boxing promotion company Top Rank and various Top Rank employees including Peter McKinn.

The thrust of the case involves a bad check for $5,000 that McKinn gave Diaz and Campas in 2004. Campas earned the money in a fight, and McKinn gave them the run-around when the check wouldn't clear, going so far as to forge a fake receipt that showed he'd paid the men in cash.

For his role, McKinn was sentenced in May to five months in county lock-up.

According to the complaint penned by Moriarity, McKinn was aided in the cover-up and in later retaliation against Diaz and Campas by the Wilcoxes and Montano.

Earl Wilcox, while serving as then-Governor Napolitano's special assistant (which is why Napolitano's named in the suit), is alleged to have coerced former Justice of the Peace Carlos Mendoza into dismissing charges against McKinn.

Mary Rose Wilcox, one of five members of the county Board of Supervisors, served as Boxing Commissioner when she and Montano allegedly conspired to strip Diaz and Campas of their licenses to box and train in Arizona.

Wilcox and Montano were supposedly ticked that Diaz and Campas had testified against McKinn during the latter's license renewal hearing. According to the lawsuit, Diaz and Campas also had "records that uncovered a pattern of defrauding Mexican fighters" and other fighters in Arizona.

The Supervisor and commission director conspired to retaliate against Diaz and Campas, the latter pair say, by accusing them of falsely accusing McKinn. Through "sham hearings," Wilcox managed to get Diaz's license revoked, the lawsuit states.

Montano later pulled Campas' boxing license before a fight, leaving him without the ability to continue in the sport for a year.

"Campas lost the opportunity to box in fights during his prime," the lawsuit states. Diaz went without a license for six years.

Moriarity maintains that because the full facts in the case weren't known until McKinn's sentencing in May, the case is timely and the statute of limitations hasn't expired. (If that wasn't the case, Moriarity's clients would have no business going after Napolitano, who's been working in Washington D.C. the last few years.)

The retaliation scheme by Wilcox and the others allegedly "destroyed" the careers of Diaz and Campas and damaged the state's boxing industry as a whole.

"It paved the way to get support from public power brokers intent on making a clear track for their friends and preferred associates," the lawsuit states.

Although Moriarity opens the lawsuit by stating the case isn't about "the ongoing saga of political corruption going on in Maricopa County," it actually does overlap with the rest of the county craziness.

The boxing case was one angle against Wilcox that Sheriff Joe Arpaio and former County Attorney Andrew Thomas investigated with their now-disgraced Maricopa Anti-Corruption Enforcement team. Lisa Aubuchon, who, along with Thomas, is fighting for her bar license in disciplinary hearings this month, worked on the McKinn case for years before the charges stuck.

But Thomas and Arpaio never collected enough evidence against Wilcox to allege that she'd committed a crime. When they finally made their move against Wilcox, it was for alleged corruption regarding business loans and the failure to fill out financial disclosure forms properly -- charges that were later dismissed and discredited.

Thomas Romley (see update below) farmed out the Wilcox component of the case to Gila County Attorney Daisy Flores, who declared after reviewing it that Wilcox had no role in McKinn's criminal case.

Now this mess, like so many others involving current and former Maricopa officials in the last couple of years, is moving to civil court.

UPDATE October 8:
Former County Attorney Rick Romley contacted us today to remind us that he's the one who sent the McKinn case to Gila County, not Thomas. Here's what Romley had to say:
When I was appointed as interim county attorney, I told my chief deputy that we needed to be sure that the office had no conflicts in any way, and, if any were found, we needed to get someone else to handle them.  Paul Ahler identified the Lisa Aubuchon case that involved Mary Rose.  He asked Daisy Flores to assume prosecution of the case and she did.  I was not even aware at the time that Paul had shipped it out and had no involvement at all.
By the time sentencing came up, I was out of office and was suddenly served w/ a subpoena to appear at the sentencing.  I thought there was some mistake so I called Moriarity [sp] and explained that I had no involvement w/ the matter.  Let's just suffice it to say that Mr. Moriarity wouldn't listen.  I then had the county pay for counsel to represent me to quash the subpoena. The court granted my motion.
Now I'm being sued.  Go figure.  Mr. Moriarity is well aware I had no involvement. 
Hope this clarifies things.

Also today, we Web-surfed onto a couple of relevant articles.. One was about a 2007 dismissal of a federal lawsuit by Diaz on the same matters. It'll take more than one knockout to stop this guy, obviously.
The other shows that we were scooped on this story a few days ago by Pedro Fernandez of RingTalk. Fernandez states in his blog post's amusingly long first sentence that Diaz had a heart attack three months ago.

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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.