Arizona Capitol

Scott Bundgaard Drops $10M Lawsuit Against City of Phoenix and David Leibowitz

Former Arizona lawmaker Scott Bundgaard has dropped the $10 million lawsuit he filed against the city of Phoenix following his 2011 fight with an ex-girlfriend.

In a statement released to New Times and other media outlets, Bundgaard says that dropping the lawsuit without being awarded a dime is, somehow, "vindication."

That prompted his nemesis, PR man and former mayoral spokesman David Leibowitz, to send out his own statement today blasting Bundgaard as an exaggerator.

See also: -Scott Bundgaard Files $10 Million Notice of Claim Against Phoenix -Scott Bundgaard's Police Report: Bundgaard Invoked Immunity

The reputation of the right-wing former lawmaker hadn't exactly been sterling before the February 2011 fight with ex-girlfriend Aubry Ballard, which left both of them with cuts and bruises.

Bundgaard wasn't qualified to run for office until after he'd had his rights restored following a felony conviction as a teen for stealing car stereos from his employer. Northwest Valley voters forgave him, electing him three times over the years to the state House and Senate. He's known in part for sponsoring a successful bill in 2000 that created the Arizona Sports and Tourism Authority, which created a financing scheme to build a stadium for the Arizona Cardinals.

The in-vehicle fight between Bundgaard and Ballard ensued as the couple drove home from a dance competition. When police arrived at the scene, Bundgaard cried legislative immunity to avoid being taken to jail.

Bundgaard resigned from the state Senate in early 2012 just minutes before he was scheduled to face grilling from the ethics committee over the incident.

In his lawsuit, filed in July 2012, he claimed that police should have labeled him the victim in the fight and that city officials conspired to smear him for political purposes.

Records show that Ballard was dismissed from the case in January of this year.

Bundgaard now says he reached a "confidential settlement" with her. Court records state that Ballard and Bundgaard agreed to bear their own attorneys' fees and costs. It seems likely that Ballard didn't agree to pay Bundgaard anything in the settlement -- just as he's receiving nothing from the city.

Yet the failure to collect jury awards or settlement cash from the city isn't stopping Bundgaard from declaring himself the winner.

"After two years of litigation, I've achieved vindication," Bundgaard wrote in his statement. "We achieved what we set out to prove as we got access to documents that show the collusion and cover up was worse than we suspected. The city mayor and his paid publicist used these distortions to destroy my reputation purely for political purposes . . ."

Leibowitz, who'd worked as a spokesman for former Mayor Phil Gordon, provided New Times with correspondence between his and Bundgaard's attorney, revealing that Bundgaard offered this month to settle the case against Leibowitz for $50,000.

The lawsuit was dropped three days after Leibowitz's lawyer told Bundgaard to pound sand.

"I want to congratulate (Bundgaard) for his historic win, along the lines of Napoleon's victory at Waterloo . . ." Leibowitz wrote in his own statement.

Indeed, Bundgaard's statement about "vindication" is reminiscent of the nonsense uttered by Sheriff Joe Arpaio and former County Attorney Andrew Thomas, when they declared "victory" in dropping their ridiculous racketeering lawsuit against Maricopa County leaders.

Bundgaard got married last year to a different woman and now works as a business consultant, according to his website.

Got a tip? Send it to: Ray Stern.

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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.