See also: Lester Pearce Submits Public Records Request About Ethics Complaint Against Him See also: Russell Pearce's Bro Lester Pearce, Busted See also: Russell Pearce's Brother, Judge Lester Pearce, Stumped for Brother at LD 19 Meeting See also: Russell Pearce's Supporters in LD 19 Outed as Olivia Cortes Petition Gatherers, while LD 18 Stays Neutral (w/Update)
Sometimes I think recalled, disgraced former state Senate President Russell Pearce is running as a team with his ex-Justice of the Peace brother Lester to make himself look smarter by comparison.
Russ, as you know, is running for state Senate in Legislative District 25; Lester, for county supervisor from District 2. But Lester is also under investigation by the Arizona Commission on Judicial Conduct, which is looking into Lester's stumping for his brother during the 2011 recall.
In October of last year, I reported that Lester spoke on behalf of his brother at a GOP LD 19 meeting. Phoenix videographer Dennis Gilman and I were actually at that meeting, but we missed Lester's speech.
Later I posted minutes of the LD 19 meeting as evidence of Lester's flagrant scofflaw-ing.
Lester's since retired as a judge to run for supervisor, entirely self-funding his campaign with a $100,000 loan to himself.
(One of his mailers boasts that he doesn't accept donations from lobbyists. Know why? Because no sane lobbyist would write a check to this hick.)
The CJC may get him yet, as it can still reprimand Lester and it could choose to bar him from running for JP again.
Don't know about you, but I opt for the latter.
Yesterday, I reported on a kerfuffle Lester caused at the county building when he ambushed county spokeswoman Cari Gerchick, personally serving her with a public records request and demanding to know when he would receive all documents related to a protective order the CJC had issued to the county.
Today, Gerchick, who is in all ways a class act, sent over this statement concerning the incident, which upset her as Lester had somehow gained entree to a secure area, waiting for her to arrive, when he could have just left the letter with the receptionist.
"By appearing at my office and demanding in person that I violate a Court Order issued by the Commission on Judicial Conduct, Mr. Pearce asked me, an attorney and Officer of the Court, to commit an unethical act. I value and respect the Rules of Professional Conduct for attorneys and had I acquiesced to Pearce's demand, I would have violated my oath to uphold the law.
"Equally awkward was that the person who asked me to commit this breach of the rule of law, is one of two candidates running for a contested position on the governing body by whom I am employed and with whose members I work on a daily basis. Without question, I would not and did not violate a court order as Mr. Pearce inappropriately asked me to do. I hope that no county employee is ever again put in the kind of Hobbesian position that I experienced."
If you read Lester's letter, you'll see he actually wanted to keep his public records request secret.
"Since the information relates only to myself, the Protective Order would apply to everyone except myself," Lester writes.
Nice, try, Les.
The letter also featured this garbled passage:
"We were also advised that the Commission had released a Confidential Protective Order relating to the Commission's business, which may have been in direct violation of the Commission's order."
Huh? Next time get Constantin to proof these for you, Lester, before you plop them into the public domain. Of course, since CQ had trouble with "eduction," he may not be the best copyeditor out there.
Apparently, Lester needed this info in a real hurry because there was a "proceeding scheduled for later this week."
But Lester didn't score much of a haul. Save for a couple of e-mails from the media looking for info, and the CJC's protective order itself, he got this response from Gerchick:
From: Cari Gerchick - CAOX Sent: Thursday, August 09, 2012 2:01 PM To: [REDACTED] Attachments: COJC Protective Order July 10 2012.pdf; Requests for Pearce August 10 2012.pdf Importance: High 8/9/2012 2:00 PM Mr. Pearce, Pursuant to your public records request filed on August 8, 2012, based on advice from the Maricopa County Attorney's Office, I am providing you with the following information. Item number 1: please see the attached Protective Order issued by the Commission on Judicial Conduct on July 10, 2012.
Your request for "records of telephone conversations" is a request to search all county phone records for any contact with the commission; This request is overbroad and as such, will not be provided.
Items 2,3,4: there are no documents responsive to these items.
Item 5: asks for ... "documents that the Commission provided to the County... or to the News Media" to which I refer you to the Protective Order issued by the Commission.
Item 6: asks for "any public information requested record made to Maricopa County for any of the above referred to documents." I have attached public information records that are responsive to your request but do not violate the Commission's Protective Order issued on July 10, 2012.
Cari Gerchick Communications Director Maricopa County
The CJC's protective order restricts the release of certain info concerning the CJC's inquiry, specifically, "all e-mail exchanges with potential witnesses...unless such exchanges become a part of formal proceedings."
Lester did ask for copies of other public records requests related to the same matter, but he seemed most concerned with who's been talking to the CJC and what's being said.
Every day that passes brings Lester and Russ closer to their inevitable co-defeat on August 28.
We Believe Local Journalism is Critical to the Life of a City
Engaging with our readers is essential to Phoenix New Times's mission. Make a financial contribution or sign up for a newsletter, and help us keep telling Phoenix's stories with no paywalls.
Support Our Journalism
Currently, Lester has about 18 days left to convince people that he will "restore integrity and confidence to Maricopa County government," as the mailer shown on page one states.
Talk about unintended irony.
(Question: Does Les have a current rating/endorsement from the NRA, as is suggested by his A+ rating on the mailer shown on page one? Take a look at the NRA's endorsement page. Nothing there. I've tried contacting the NRA, but have yet to hear back.)
UPDATE 8/11/12: On Lester's campaign website, under his "short bio" section, he lists the NRA A+ rating as something he received "as a state Senator." So I reckon that answers that question. Once you give an endorsement or a rating to one of the Pearce bros, you give it for life.