Maricopa County Craziness

Mary Rose Wilcox's Attempt to Force $975,000 Settlement From County to Be Heard by Judge Next Month

Lawyers for Maricopa County and Supervisor Mary Rose Wilcox have agreed on a schedule to present their court arguments for why the county should pay Wilcox a $975,000 settlement.

As one of the targets of failed investigations by Sheriff Joe Arpaio and former County Attorney Andrew Thomas, Wilcox is suing the sheriff and Maricopa County along with retired Judge Gary Donahoe, Supervisor Don Stapley, and others. Several settlements already have been made in the consolidated federal lawsuit, including $500,000 payouts to retired Judge Barbara Mundell and Stapley's executive assistant, Susan Schuerman.

Wilcox managed to negotiate the $975,000 settlement for herself, and it was approved by County Manager David Smith.

But County Attorney Bill Montgomery says that state law requires the county treasurer and at least one county supervisor to approve the settlement.

That doesn't look like it's going to happen, so Wilcox is asking U.S. District Court Judge Neil Wake to enforce the settlement.

Today, lawyers filed a brief agree to have Wilcox's argument and the response by the county filed no later than May 9, and agreed to have Wake set a hearing on the matter after that.

Wilcox, who's running for re-election, claims the legal fight that included felony charges of failing to disclose financial information -- which were later dismissed -- ruined her Mexican-restaurant business and caused emotional distress.

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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.