Motor Coach Industries Lawsuit OK'd by Maricopa County, but Officials Still Won't State Allegations


The Maricopa County Board of Supervisors has authorized a lawsuit against a company that sold Sheriff Joe Arpaio's office a $465,000 bus

But county officials still aren't stating any precise allegations against the company, Motor Coach Industries.

The company appears to be little more than a pawn in the ongoing fight between county leaders and Arpaio. The county says Arpaio broke county policy in buying the bus and that Motor Coach should have known better than to sell it.

That seems like a weak legal theory on which to sue the bus company, although maybe Motor Coach did do something wrong here. Representatives of the company refuse to return our call.

Cari Gerchick, spokeswoman for the county, pointed us to an Arizona law that requires counties to buy goods and services under a strict procurement process. That law, however, says nothing about the obligation of the companies providing those things.

Supervisor Fulton Brock, who represents the county's District 1, was the only one of five board members to vote "no" on the lawsuit approval. He didn't return our call, either, but told the Arizona Republic he hoped there was a "better way" to handle the squabble than to sue.

The county's been trying to force Motor Coach to refund the purchase price, to no avail. Today's decision by the board is probably intended to turn up the heat in the negotiations. At the least, to our non-lawyerly mind, Motor Coach ought to be able to deduct a few dollars for depreciation.

The bus, meanwhile, which Arpaio's office wanted to use to transport jail inmates, is collecting dust without any registration or license plates.

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