Wolfswinkel Family to Get $1.4 Million in County Settlement Over Legal Abuses; $5 Million in Total Payouts Thanks to Andrew Thomas and Joe Arpaio

Keep New Times Free
I Support
  • Local
  • Community
  • Journalism
  • logo

Support the independent voice of Phoenix and help keep the future of New Times free.

Developer Conley Wolfswinkel, his family and company will received $1.4 million in the largest Maricopa County payout yet to victims of the legal abuses of Sheriff Joe Arpaio and former County Attorney Andrew Thomas.

As the county just confirmed, the Wolfswinkels are getting more in this settlement than the $1.27 million that went to former Judge Gary Donahoe, or the still-disputed $975,000 settlement to Supervisor Mary Rose Wilcox.

Corrupt practices by Thomas, Arpaio and some of their overly loyal underlings from 2008-2010 have now cost the county a cool $5 million in taxpayer-funded payouts to victims.

See also: More Fallout From Sheriff Arpaio and Andrew Thomas Corruption: Potential Multi-Million-Dollar Settlement Going to Developer Conley Wolfswinkel and Family

See also: Andrew Thomas, Disbarred and Disgraced Ex-Prosecutor, Is Actually Running for Governor

County spokeswoman Cari Gerchick released this statement from the Board of Supervisors about the settlement:

"The Board voted to settle this case to avoid incurring additional attorneys fees including the possible imposition of plaintiff's attorneys fees at trial.

"The cost to the County of defending this case is significant because there are seven different defendants who each required separate attorneys."

Don Stapley, a former County Supervisor who was in some ways the only slightly suspicious character in the alleged cabal of conspirators targeted by the deranged lawmen, is the only victim whose lawsuit now remains active. In yesterday's blog post, we covered why Wolfswinkel deserves his money: The facts show he and his company were pawns in a plan to smear and prosecute the lawmens' political opponents for a criminal conspiracy that did not exist.

Evidence later came out that seemed to prove a conspiracy was afoot -- but it was one cooked up by Thomas and Arpaio. Their goal at one point in the game, reportedly, was reportedly nothing less than a complete takeover of county leadership. County Supervisor Andrew Kunasek, a board member since 1997 who was re-elected last year, testified during Thomas' disciplinary proceedings last year that Tom Liddy, a deputy county attorney, tipped him off to details of the plan.

Thomas was disbarred following the proceedings. The state Supreme Court disciplinary likened his collaboration with Arpaio to an "unholy collaboration."

Besides Donahoe, the Wolfswinkels and Wilcox, settlements went to victims:

* Supervisor Andrew Kunasek; $123,000.

* Retired Judge Barbara Rodriguez Mundell; $500,000

* Susan Schuerman, executive assistant for former Supervisor Don Stapley; $500,000

* Sandra Dowling, former Maricopa schools superintendent; $250,000

* Retired Judge Anna Baca; $100,000

* Retired Judge Kenneth Fields; $100,000

* Steve Wetzel, Maricopa Chief Information Officer; $75,000

Thomas announced today that he's running for governor.

The state can't afford him.

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.

We use cookies to collect and analyze information on site performance and usage, and to enhance and customize content and advertisements. By clicking 'X' or continuing to use the site, you agree to allow cookies to be placed. To find out more, visit our cookies policy and our privacy policy.


Join the New Times community and help support independent local journalism in Phoenix.


Join the New Times community and help support independent local journalism in Phoenix.