Soon after becoming head of the Maricopa Anti-Corruption Enforcement team under Sheriff Joe Arpaio, Bill Knight became aware of severe ethical problems with the unit.
A career cop who'd been in narcotics, homicide, and other divisions at the Maricopa County Sheriff's Office, Deputy Chief Knight suddenly found himself in the middle of a classic MCSO vendetta for about four months in late 2008 and early 2009.
Knight had taken over MACE from previous commander Jimmy Miller and was running the unit during an astonishing period of county history, in which Arpaio and former County Attorney Andrew Thomas targeted the Board of Supervisors, with which both politicians had fought over budget and other matters for years.
New Times cover story
In December 2008, Thomas' office persuaded a grand jury to charge Supervisor Don Stapley with 117 misdemeanor and felony counts related to his failure to properly fill out financial-disclosure forms. The charges were bogus, as the public would later learn: It turned out that the disclosure forms weren't legally required.
Worse, the misdemeanor charges concerning Stapley's paperwork — upon which the felonies were based — apparently were filed after the one-year statute of limitations had run out.
Arpaio and Thomas had several motives to go after Stapley, a fellow Republican. One of the strongest was that Stapley, considered a more moderate conservative than the lawmen, had told the press he was actively working behind the scenes to undermine the pair's crusade against illegal immigrants (see "Serving Up Stapley," November 26, 2009).
Knight didn't know all that at the time. As the pages of a newly released investigative report detail, the deputy chief just knew his boss was hell-bent on getting Stapley.
Knight told his story to Pinal County Sheriff Paul Babeu's investigators as part of a six-month-long probe into alleged misconduct in Arpaio's office. Although the probe was an internal investigation requested by Arpaio and whitewashes the sheriff's personal role in the scandal, a 1,022-page summary report and hundreds of pages of supplemental documents detail plenty of evidence that Arpaio was involved in illegal activity.
Arpaio wasn't "concerned with a positive outcome in the [Stapley] case," Knight told investigators. "I think . . . he was more interested in seeing them getting their butts kicked in the media. Them being Stapley in this matter."
About a month after the indictment, MACE raided the offices of an associate of Stapley's, developer Conley Wolfswinkel. The claimed justification was that the Sheriff's Office was looking for evidence of additional crimes that detectives had uncovered in the disclosure-form case.
Knight had reviewed the search warrant before a raid on January 22, 2009, and believed that he had enough evidence based on testimony from Stapley's bookkeeper, Joan Stoops, to carry out the raid. Stoops told detectives that it appeared Wolfswinkel had inked an agreement to pay Stapley hundreds of thousands of dollars in a land deal when Wolfswinkel had business before the Board of Supervisors.
Knight said Sheriff Arpaio reviewed the search warrant personally — and asked Knight why he hadn't included more details about the case in the warrant. Knight, according to the report, told Arpaio that the details weren't necessary to establish probable cause, the legal term for the level of evidence needed to persuade a judge to sign a search warrant.
The report doesn't specify which details Arpaio wanted Knight to add, but it does describe how Arpaio pressed him on the issue, saying he wanted to make sure the warrant would hold up. Knight didn't buy what Arpaio was saying, believing that the sheriff only wanted the extra information so he could sensationalize the case.
"Are we writing a press release or are we writing a search warrant?" Knight said he asked the sheriff. "I just need to be clear on what we're trying to produce here."
The sheriff stared at him and said sternly: "Get the information in there," the report states. Arpaio then got up and walked out.
Knight did as he was told and included the superfluous information. He had the warrant signed and prepared his deputies for the raid on Wolfswinkel's Tempe business office. He recalled that Arpaio's right-hand man, then-Chief Deputy David Hendershott, called Knight numerous times, asking: "Are we in yet?"
Hendershott, Knight stated, told him that as soon as the search warrant was signed, Knight was to go to the nearest Kinko's and fax a copy to sheriff's headquarters.
"So we get in; we secure the place," Knight said to investigators. "I run over to the nearest Kinko's, which is three or four miles away, [and] fax the document over to him.
"By the time I get back to Conley's business, I've already got a news helicopter flying overhead."
Knight found out later that the search warrant had been handed to the media in conjunction with a press release.
A news conference was under way before Knight got back to his office.
Arpaio also tailored his public statement to emphasize the shocking revelation that Stapley and Wolfswinkel were being investigated in an alleged "bribery" scheme.
Most of the news media ran with the story in earnest.
Knight's team spent 11 hours going through Wolfswinkel's office. But the Babeu report says when Knight mentioned to Hendershott that it would take his MACE crew a long time to go through all the boxes of documents and other items seized, Hendershott told him not to worry about it, that MACE needed to "hit someplace next week [in the Stapley investigation because] we need to keep this rolling in the media."
As it happened, Stoops soon recanted her testimony: The deal between Stapley and Wolfswinkel hadn't occurred when she thought it had, which destroyed the already weak "bribery" theory. A judge later ruled that the search warrant didn't demonstrate the required probable cause.
The Wolfswinkel family filed suit against the county for unlawful search and seizure and pressed the Sheriff's Office to return what was taken.
Attorney Grant Woods, who's representing the family in the suit, told New Times last year that when the MCSO returned the boxes of records, he and the Wolfswinkels saw that very little of the material was touched.
It was the crowning reason to believe that Knight's suspicions about Arpaio's real motives were on point.
Sheriff Joe Arpaio wants to play victim.
A few weeks ago, the public heard "America's toughest sheriff" claim he was "fooled" by David Hendershott.
Arpaio needs voters — and federal investigators looking into a wide range of alleged criminal activity within his office — to believe he had no idea that Hendershott was an unscrupulous second-in-command.
If anyone doctored search warrants, bullied underlings into violating ethical principles, or worked closely with a reckless prosecutor's office — all in pursuit of criminal investigations targeting Arpaio's political enemies — it was Hendershott, according to the five-term sheriff.
Abuse-of-power allegations against Hendershott are among the most damning in a tell-all memo by Deputy Chief Frank Munnell, which was made public six months ago. It was the revelations in the memo that made it necessary for Arpaio to call for an outside investigation of his office's internal machinations. Naturally, he chose a political ally to handle the probe: Sheriff Paul Babeu, another ambitious Republican who sought and received Arpaio's endorsement in 2008.
The Munnell memo is self-serving in that it was written to Arpaio and feigns ignorance of the sheriff's knowledge of the dirty deeds detailed. For instance, Munnell tells Arpaio that nine MACE supervisors were "removed" because of "intense pressure, continual interference, and [the] absolute political nature of the investigations initiated by Hendershott."
Despite Munnell's respectful treatment of Arpaio, it's now clearer than ever that Hendershott simply was doing the boss' bidding.
When it came to taking vengeance on his political enemies and keeping his name intensely before the public while doing it, the sheriff took a deep and personal interest.
Arpaio is shown in investigation records to be nothing less than a micro-manager of important aspects of tainted investigations — and the driving force behind some of his office's most appalling tactics.
He conferred closely on MACE matters with both Hendershott and the other lead character in MACE vendettas, former County Attorney Andrew Thomas — who's scheduled for a hearing before the Arizona State Bar by October over the MACE-involved scandal. It could result in his disbarment.
Documents show that when underlings told Arpaio there were legal and ethical problems with what MACE was doing, the sheriff brushed aside their concerns and sometimes sent Hendershott to keep dissenters in line.
Besides reviewing a key MACE search warrant, the sheriff also decided there was probable cause for the September 21, 2009, arrest of County Supervisor Stapley, and regularly attended MACE meetings.
Nearly his entire MACE staff fretted over the ethical and legal implications of what they were doing, the Babeu report shows, yet Arpaio ignored the advice of lawyers who told him his office's actions were over the top.
Arpaio has been accused many times over the years of targeting political enemies ("Enemies' List," November 29, 2007), but the recently released documents shed new light on the depth of his witch-hunts.
In addition to abusing the criminal-justice system with tainted "corruption" investigations of his enemies, the Sheriff's Office misspent $84 million from a voter-approved jail-tax fund, a county audit completed last year shows. Another $11.5 million was raided from the profits of jail vending machines.
Arpaio agrees that his office misspent the $99.5 million over the past eight years, but he blames the situation on a "computer glitch."
The office's recently retired chief financial officer, Loretta Barkell, says she told Arpaio repeatedly over the years that he couldn't legally use the jail-tax fund money for law enforcement purposes.
County leaders say the misuse of the money, which now must be paid back to the fund, is criminal.
Another area for possible criminal charges against Arpaio and current or former employees stems from alleged campaign crimes during the 2008 election season.
Last month, New Times detailed the findings of a state Attorney General's Office investigation into the Sheriff's Command Association campaign-finance scandal involving Hendershott, former Deputy Chief Larry Black, and Captain Joel Fox ("Love Connection," April 14). The title of the article refers to the apparent love affair between Black and Fox, who were at the heart of the SCA's high jinks, expressed in e-mails between the two.
The state AG's report on the SCA explains how Sheriff's Office commanders collected funds from each other and from several wealthy admirers of Arpaio's, placed the money in a secret fund, and then used it to make an illegal campaign contribution to the state Republican Party. The donation was made with the understanding that it would be used for a TV ad targeting Arpaio's opponent in the 2008 election, Dan Saban.
AG's investigators found that several campaign-finance laws were broken in the bankrolling of the slimy ad (which accused Saban of raping his adoptive mother and masturbating on duty): earmarking donations to a political candidate, making donations that exceeded individual spending limits, and using corporate money to help a campaign.
Arpaio has refused to explain what he knew about the illicit fundraising project (or, in fact, answer any specific questions for this article). Though the SCA scandal was broken in press reports in late 2008 ("The AZ GOP Slandered Dan Saban and Used Funny Money for Sheriff Joe," October 23, 2008), the sheriff put Hendershott and Black on administrative leave only last September with the release of the Munnell memo. The two were fired last month, while Fox remains on leave as he appeals his termination order.
The SCA criminal investigation, started by former Attorney General Terry Goddard, was considered ongoing when current AG Tom Horne took office in January. Horne promptly referred it to the Arizona U.S. Attorney's Office, the agency overseeing the federal probe of alleged criminal wrongdoing by Arpaio and his office.
The federal probe has continued without any sign of a result for going on 2 1/2 years.
U.S. Attorney Dennis Burke's excuse for inaction, according to federal sources, is that the case is complex and prosecutors don't want to be accused of using the same tactics as Arpaio — namely, throwing the book at targets without clear-cut evidence.
Burke, who wouldn't comment directly for this article, certainly has plenty of fodder for criminal indictments.
The worst allegations and the most damning testimony against the sheriff and his top commanders have come from current or former employees, who finally chose to break their silence. From Munnell to Barkell, Arpaio's retired chief financial officer, the sheriff's people have blabbed to the press, to FBI agents, and to a federal grand jury.
Forget for a moment the horrendous jail conditions that the sheriff imposes on thousands of inmates and his sweeps for illegal immigrants that also have nabbed American citizens and legal residents. It seems clear that it's not just members of Arpaio's command staff who have broken the law. It's Arpaio himself.
In 2009, Arpaio and Thomas' war with county officials was in full swing.
The feud over budgets and lawsuits had turned gravely serious. That year, Arpaio had three of the five Maricopa County supervisors under investigation by his MACE team:
• Stapley — Besides the alleged financial-disclosure violation charges that ultimately got tossed out, Stapley was accused of fraud in a second criminal investigation. There were supposed misdealings with Wolfswinkel, plus he had raised tens of thousands of dollars from donors for his campaign for president of the National Association of Counties but spent much of it on himself. On Friday, September 18, 2009, the financial-disclosure case was dismissed because of the aforementioned problem that he had done nothing illegal. That Monday, Arpaio ordered his arrest on the fraud premise, a move that shocked the legal community because it looked like blatant retaliation.
• Mary Rose Wilcox — The lone Democrat on the board was accused by the MCSO of taking out loans with the lending arm of Chicanos por la Causa, a social-services organization, and then returning the favor by passing — along with the other four supervisors — a measure giving federal grant money to the group.
• Andy Kunasek — The current chair of the Board of Supervisors was accused of misusing $14,000 in county funds because he allegedly ordered the supervisors' offices swept for hidden electronic-listening devices that were suspected to have been placed by the Sheriff's Office as part of its investigations. The reality was that the MCSO never planted any bugs. A grand jury later discredited the case and tossed it out.
A central figure in these cases turned out to be Yavapai County Attorney Sheila Polk. After Thomas was warned by a judge about his conflicts of interest regarding the Stapley case (a lawyer in Thomas' office had once helped Stapley prepare the same disclosure forms that Stapley was accused of flouting), Thomas asked Polk to review it and the Wilcox case.
Polk rejected the Wilcox investigation outright, telling Arpaio and Thomas no crime had been committed.
The week before Arpaio ordered Stapley's arrest, she had told him and Thomas that the fraud case wasn't ready to move forward.
Then, days after Stapley was taken into custody and perp-walked to jail before TV news cameras, Polk complained to Arpaio that he shouldn't have arrested the supervisor.
Arpaio went off on her, she wrote in her notes at the time, yelling that he had probable cause for the arrest and that nobody could tell him differently.
Arpaio and Thomas, not happy with her opinions and clearly worried about the media attention, pressured her to give the cases back to Thomas, which she did. That December, Thomas persuaded grand juries to indict Stapley — again — and Wilcox.
The grand juries were never told about Polk's opinions.
Just before the announcement of the Stapley and Wilcox indictments, on December 1, 2009, Arpaio and Thomas informed the public that they had filed a RICO suit against the Board of Supervisors, judges, and other county officials. Arpaio called the leaders "corrupt," but little about the convoluted conspiracy alleged by the lawmen made sense (see "The Court Tower Conspiracy," February 18, 2010). For instance, one of the allegations of a conspiracy to commit illegal activity was that one of Stapley's attorneys had "laughed" at Thomas' lead prosecutor, Lisa Aubuchon, during a court hearing.
A week later, on December 9, Superior Court Judge Gary Donahoe was charged with bribery, among other things, yet Thomas never produced evidence that such a crime had occurred. Arpaio and Thomas' critics suspected something more sinister — that Thomas had used the charges against Donahoe to stop a hearing the judge had planned for that afternoon. The hearing concerned Thomas' plan to hire special prosecutors to aid Arpaio's MACE investigations.
A MACE deputy told an investigator with the State Bar that, according to Hendershott, it was Arpaio's idea to charge the judge. The revelation is contained in the bar's findings that Thomas and Aubuchon acted unethically in the MACE cases and, in the Donahoe matter, had no legal basis for the charges against the judge.
All the charges fell apart in the next two years: The Wilcox and Donahoe cases were tossed by a Tucson judge in February 2010, following Polk's testimony about the outrageous behavior she had witnessed on the parts of Arpaio and Thomas.
The RICO suit later was withdrawn by Arpaio and Thomas. Just this month, Gila County Attorney Daisy Flores declined to prosecute the one case that was hanging by a thread, the fraud case against Stapley.
Flores wrote in a 47-page briefing sent to current County Attorney Bill Montgomery that the actions of Arpaio's office were "egregious."
She clarified her position recently to New Times, saying that if Arpaio ordered the arrest of Stapley (which he did, according to Arpaio), then the sheriff himself committed an "egregious" act.
Aubuchon will appear with Thomas this fall for the scheduled hearings by the State Bar's discipline judge regarding whether the pair will lose their law licenses over all this.
Methods for the wide-ranging, trumped-up criminal investigations against Maricopa County leaders included spreading fear and intimidation among their employees.
Deputies were sent to the homes of dozens of county workers during 2009, supposedly to gather information for the investigations. The move turned out to be a major blunder by Arpaio.
Some county employees took notes on who had visited them. County officials, apparently believing the best defense was a good offense, compared the names of the deputies with county payroll information. They discovered that some of the deputies bothering employees had been paid by a fund set up by voters in 1998 and, then, extended by them in 2002.
In a publicity pamphlet for the 2002 election, Arpaio blathered about the need for the one-fifth-cent addition to sales tax that would supply this fund for the following 20 years.
"While I am reluctant to further burden taxpayers, morally and ethically, I feel I must support this tax extension [to maintain and improve county jails]," Arpaio stated in 2002. "Extending the jail tax makes good sense for the future of this county."
Arpaio's office illegally dipped into the fund time and again over the past decade to finance deputy salaries that the MCSO's budget wouldn't otherwise have covered.
Arpaio assigned many, if not most, of the improperly funded deputies to his pet projects: a human-smuggling task force, a separate unit to help comply with a law that denies bail to illegal immigrants, and the now-discredited MACE unit.
The extra millions allowed a no-holds-barred approach to MACE investigations, which demanded obscene amounts of time by the office. In one particularly flagrant example, 13 deputies were assigned to sift through more than 120,000 of Supervisor Wilcox's e-mails in a fishing expedition for criminal activity. Nothing was discovered in the e-mails, but each deputy racked up about $12,000 in overtime, the Babeu report details.
To hide what it was up to, the MCSO employed an elaborate shell game, county officials say, that made it difficult for county auditors to discern what was going on.
For example, a deputy would be assigned to transport inmates to court for a few days, explains county spokeswoman Cari Gerchick, and then be assigned to help investigate an alleged crime against one of Arpaio's enemies. The former would be a legitimate use of the jail-tax fund, but not the latter.
Arpaio's office doesn't dispute the estimate that $99.5 million was misspent, Gerchick says.
The big question — how much Arpaio knew about this misspending — was answered recently by his retired CFO, Loretta Barkell.
Barkell, in a recent TV interview, said she was tired of hearing from her former boss that others were to blame. Arpaio, not just his underlings, was involved directly in "decisions on where to place personnel" and was told "several times a year" that he was using the jail-tax fund illegally.
"The sheriff waved his hand and said he was not allowing the bean counters to manage his operations," Barkell said. She didn't return phone calls from New Times for this article.
Arpaio responded by basically calling Barkell a liar, denying she had brought up the issue at all until county officials discovered the discrepancies. He bragged that she has no documentation to back up her claim about what he knew.
But how could the sheriff not have been aware? She is referring to nearly $100 million.
To get its hands on the detention-fund money, Gerchick says, Arpaio's office had to ask the county to release what he needed each year. The Sheriff's Office always justified the request by stating officially that the money would be used for jail-related purposes, she says.
Taking the money, according to Gerchick, was the only way Arpaio could pay all his deputies — notably the ones carrying out his political witch-hunts and those working on his anti-immigrant sweeps.
"If all of these officers had been paid correctly, the sheriff would have been over his budget every single year," she says.
County Manager David Smith sent a letter to U.S. Attorney Burke in October thanking his office for looking into misspending of the jail-tax fund and citing several laws Smith believes were broken, including theft, dereliction of duty by a public servant, destroying records, and forgery.
Smith announced recently that the fund will be paid back with $73.6 million in "excess" general funds and $25.9 million from jail-related funds.
So far, Gerchick says, the feds haven't subpoenaed financial data on the jail-tax fund misspending possessed by the Sheriff's Office — which could show "intent" to misuse the fund.
Sheriff Paul Babeu fully backs the notion that Arpaio was kept in the dark about his command staff's nefarious deeds.
Arpaio didn't closely manage his office and was "deceived" by Hendershott, Babeu said in a news conference on the day the massive report on his investigation was partially released.
Deputy Chief Jack MacIntyre, who counsels the sheriff on legal matters, said in Babeu's probe report that Hendershott had a "Svengali effect" on Arpaio.
But statements in the Babeu report and other documents directly contradict the assertion that Hendershott in any way had Arpaio under his control. In fact, it appears quite the contrary.
Deputy Chief Paul Chagolla, for instance, told Babeu's investigators that private talks between Hendershott and Arpaio "occurred on a regular basis and frequently occurred after everybody left the building."
Chagolla knew this because sometimes he would be called to such meetings and asked to answer a few questions before getting dismissed."So as to whether [the sheriff is] left out of the loop, or not, you know, I find that hard to believe," Chagolla stated.
Hendershott told Babeu's investigators that he had near-daily meetings with Arpaio — and that Arpaio gave him direction on sensitive cases.
"Well, I think you'd be surprised what the sheriff knows," Hendershott said. "I keep the sheriff well informed."
The Babeu report shows that Arpaio often didn't need anyone to tell him what was going on. He got plenty of information firsthand.
According to Hendershott's interview with Babeu, Arpaio told Hendershott in late 2006 that he and Andy Thomas had come up with the idea to form a special unit to go after high-profile public corruption cases.
Hendershott told investigators that after MACE was formed in December 2006, Arpaio had breakfast meetings with County Attorney Thomas about MACE issues once or twice a month — after which he would inform his second-in-command what was discussed.
Hendershott said Arpaio would announce to him the targets of various investigations, and he would relay the information to MACE staff.
One of the first targets was Stapley, whose financial-disclosure forms were reviewed by Thomas' staff as early as January 2007, the State Bar investigation against the former county attorney would later show.
Representatives of the Sheriff's and County Attorney's offices had two- or three-hour MACE meetings on Wednesdays, and Arpaio and Thomas attended many of the meetings, statements by two former MACE supervisors, Sergeant Brandon Luth and retired Captain Jimmy Miller, confirm.
Another early investigation looked into whether then-AG Terry Goddard, a Democrat, had made an improper deal with former state Treasurer David Peterson, who had pleaded guilty to fraud and campaign-finance violations.
Because Goddard had reduced Peterson's felony charges to misdemeanors months after Peterson transferred $1.9 million from the Treasurer's Office to Goddard's office, the sheriff decided something illegal had occurred.
Yet the deal wasn't really suspicious: The money was the AG's cut of a $5.3 million settlement due the Treasurer's Office because of losses incurred from a bad investment the state made with a company found in 2002 to have acted fraudulently. The AG's Office, which had performed legal services to help obtain the settlement, was entitled to 35 percent of the money under state law.
Though the case went nowhere because there was never any evidence of wrongdoing, it remained open.
Sergeant Luth told Babeu's investigators that he believed the MCSO was using the Goddard investigation as "a way of having leverage over the AG's Office," which was in a position to investigate Arpaio's office — and did so in the SCA case.
As the MACE team built its cases, Arpaio was among those making suggestions during the weekly meetings "about the tactics to be used," former Captain Miller told investigators.
Miller related that he and veteran prosecutor Tony Novitsky, assigned to MACE by Thomas' office, often kvetched that the methods Arpaio, Thomas, and Thomas' staff proposed were legally questionable.
Novitsky tried to "sway them from making us do some crazy, outlandish things," Miller stated to investigators. "Well, eventually that got old. They didn't like hearing, you know, their ideas shot down, so Novitsky gets removed."
By mid-2008, Aubuchon had been assigned to MACE by Thomas.
Arpaio and Thomas stopped attending regular MACE meetings soon thereafter, Miller said.
But Arpaio didn't cede control of MACE to Hendershott, as Munnell and Babeu claim, or stop going to MACE meetings entirely. As discussed, the sheriff dictated the terms of a MACE search warrant in early 2009. And he argued with Yavapai County Attorney Polk that there had been probable cause following Stapley's arrest on September 21, 2009. Plus, the Babeu report details how Arpaio reviewed supposed evidence in the Goddard case as late as 2009.
Deputy Chief Jack MacIntyre told Babeu that he attended a MACE meeting in 2009 with the sheriff, Hendershott, Aubuchon, and lawyer Clarisse McCormick.
During the meeting, MacIntyre explained, Aubuchon happened to bring up some of her legal theories for the barely active Goddard-Peterson investigation. MacIntyre stated to investigators that he told the group Aubuchon was in error — that they had no legal grounds to continue pursuing the case.
MacIntyre subsequently was cut out of the conversation about MACE cases. He claimed to Babeu's investigators that he thought Arpaio trusted too much in Hendershott and didn't pay attention to "the intricacies of legal issues."
But Arpaio wasn't hearing about such "intricacies" from Hendershott. He was hearing about them directly from Aubuchon during at least one MACE meeting.
The bottom line is, the sheriff appeared to decide for himself whether MACE tactics were sound. He didn't need help from Hendershott.
Far from Hendershott's playing Svengali to a hapless Arpaio, the two had a boss/subordinate relationship.
The sheriff let it be known to his staff that Hendershott was carrying out his wishes and brushed aside many complaints about his second-in-command.
Hendershott was hired by the MCSO in 1978, while Arpaio was still in the federal Drug Enforcement Agency. Not long after Arpaio first was elected in 1992, he began to see Hendershott as his main ally in the office.
Until then, Hendershott was considered an average deputy. "Outstanding" was rarely checked off on his evaluation forms. Mostly, he was just deemed "satisfactory." After Arpaio took office, his evaluations were replete with "excellent" to "outstanding" marks.
"Since September 1, 1993, Captain David Hendershott, as director of the community services division, has reported directly to me," Arpaio wrote in a 1994 performance appraisal. "I have had many opportunities to observe his work and have found him to be outstanding in the community relations field."
Arpaio promoted Hendershott to deputy chief that year and made him chief deputy in 1999. During election seasons, Arpaio relied on Hendershott to raise funds and manage campaigns. Naturally, the sheriff put him in day-to-day charge of MACE, Arpaio's most sensitive project.
The worst moment for MACE came in March 2009, Munnell wrote in his memo, when Hendershott removed Knight and other supervisors from the unit because they wouldn't authorize an "illegal" search of county supervisors' offices in the discredited Andy Kunasek "bug sweep" investigation.
Lieutenant Rich Burden, who worked as a MACE supervisor under Knight after Miller retired, described to Babeu's investigators how Hendershott phoned him, repeatedly, demanding that the search warrant be on his desk by 7 a.m.
Burden said he and others on the MACE staff knew the investigation was a sham, and the warrant Hendershott wanted cobbled together was proof. He said the chief deputy wanted the warrant to say that investigators sought to find deactivated or destroyed listening devices — despite the fact that Hendershott knew none had ever been placed.
The issue led to a war of words between Hendershott and Burden. The next day, Burden, Knight, and three other supervisors were transferred out of MACE.
Hendershott told Babeu's investigators that he subsequently talked to Sheriff Arpaio about the transfers. He said he told Arpaio the deputies' "work was substandard."
It's clear from the Babeu investigation of the MCSO that Arpaio trusted Hendershott to carry out his orders.
"The sheriff totally and completely had absolute faith in David Hendershott. And that everything that David Hendershott was doing was for the good of the sheriff," Loretta Barkell told Babeu's investigators. "You could not move his loyalty away from [Hendershott]."
Current and former MCSO higher-ups state in the Babeu report that they talked to Arpaio about MCSO problems attributable to Hendershott, but the sheriff didn't seem to care.
Soon after such conversations with the sheriff about his right-hand man, critics typically would receive an unpleasant visit from Hendershott.
As the years went by at the MCSO, Deputy Chief Scott Freeman told investigators, everyone knew there was no point in complaining about Hendershott.
"The sheriff [said] repeatedly, in staff meetings, in conversations, 'Dave is my guy. I'm going to support him, no matter what,'" Freeman stated.
Arpaio knew full well that Hendershott could be an intimidating and irrational bully — not only because he'd heard plenty of stories about Hendershott's behavior but because he'd witnessed it, too.
The sheriff didn't care, for example, that Hendershott bullied his longtime press officer, Lisa Allen. Or how the bullying got started.
Allen, in interviews with Babeu's investigators, described that she had learned of an instance of Hendershott's bad behavior in the early 2000s.
Hendershott's son, Dave Jr., who works in computer forensics at the MCSO, had blabbed to a female employee that his dad had a number of deputy chiefs help install a flagstone terrace and plant 65 trees in the chief deputy's huge backyard.
Allen said she told one of the deputy chiefs that Hendershott Jr.'s tale was just the kind of story that New Times might discover and turn into a scandal. Word got back to Hendershott that Allen was complaining about his son, and he summoned her to his office.
"He basically said to me, 'Don't ever fuck with my family. You fuck with my family, you fuck with me," Allen told investigators. "He's one scary man . . . about the scariest man I've ever met."
She said she tried to explain to Hendershott that she was trying to protect him and the office, but "he didn't hear that."
Allen said she mentioned her "scary" incident with Hendershott to the sheriff, who took no action.
In a well-documented incident in 2009, Hendershott blew up at Allen in front of Arpaio, former County Attorney Thomas, and others.
Jerry Sheridan, named Arpaio's new chief deputy after Hendershott was fired, told investigators that he had never seen anything like it. Allen described how Hendershott's face grew red and spit flew from his mouth as he verbally assaulted her. Allen's crime: She hadn't kept a TV reporter Arpaio hated away from Sheriff's Office headquarters on the 19th floor of the Wells Fargo Building.
Arpaio usually slings his propaganda from the hip, but on May 3, in a large classroom at the Sheriff's Office training center at 35th Avenue and Lower Buckeye, he read from a prepared statement.
His typical bluster was toned way down as he explained how Dave Hendershott and others under his command had betrayed him. In responding to Babeu's findings, he confessed to unnamed "mistakes" he had made.
In a somber tone, standing next to high-ranking commanders, including his new second-in-command, Sheridan, Arpaio described how he plans to reorganize his office so that nothing like the Hendershott debacle ever happens again.
Different as it was, this Arpaio news conference shared something with so many that had come before: It was a farce.
If not obvious from the start, the absurdity of the event became clear during its question-and-answer period.
The first twist was that Arpaio released the investigative case file produced by Babeu's office only after the news conference was finished.
One part of the report dealing with Hendershott had been released the previous Thursday, but it wasn't in context. A third of the summary report —the part dealing with the SCA scandal and Captain Joel Fox — was blacked out.
All this kept embarrassing questions for Arpaio to a bare minimum.
Most of an anticipated 20,000 pages of supplemental documents on the Babeu investigation of the Munnell memo still haven't been released by Arpaio's office. The office has been doling them out in dribs and drabs, and much of what has been released is heavily redacted.
That is, there are many questions about what has been released — such as whether those trees of Hendershott's were planted on county time.
Meanwhile, investigators under the U.S. Attorney's Office have entered their 30th month of gathering evidence in its criminal investigation of Arpaio and his command staff. As apparent as it is that plenty of evidence already is in, word from a source inside the office is that Burke's team still has a long way to go before any indictments are handed down.
The first question at the news conference a few weeks ago was why the sheriff didn't order an internal investigation of Captain Joel Fox in late 2008, when news broke that Fox and the SCA were tied to an illegal campaign donation to the state GOP.
"I'm not going to talk about the SCA," Arpaio hissed.
A TV news reporter asked whether Arpaio would resign. That brought out the Arpaio everyone knew, the one who points out how popular he is with "the people." Of course he wasn't going to resign, he snapped.
Despite his assertion that he was hoodwinked, Arpaio refused to specify a single thing he thought his second-in-command, Hendershott, had done wrong.
"Read the report!" he said.
At the time, the report hadn't been fully released. But now, New Times has read much of the material — and Arpaio still won't answer the paper's questions about it.
Keep Phoenix New Times Free... Since we started Phoenix New Times, it has been defined as the free, independent voice of Phoenix, and we would like to keep it that way. Offering our readers free access to incisive coverage of local news, food and culture. Producing stories on everything from political scandals to the hottest new bands, with gutsy reporting, stylish writing, and staffers who've won everything from the Society of Professional Journalists' Sigma Delta Chi feature-writing award to the Casey Medal for Meritorious Journalism. But with local journalism's existence under siege and advertising revenue setbacks having a larger impact, it is important now more than ever for us to rally support behind funding our local journalism. You can help by participating in our "I Support" membership program, allowing us to keep covering Phoenix with no paywalls.