Maricopa County Craziness

Lisa Aubuchon Files $10 Million Claim Vs. County; Prosecutor Says Her Reputation is Damaged

The deputy county attorney who helped former Maricopa County Attorney Andrew Thomas with his most controversial cases has filed a claim against the county for $10 million.

Lisa Aubuchon states in a lengthy claim letter that her reputation has been damaged and future earnings prospects in doubt after smears by Interim County Attorney Rick Romley and others.

By now you're aware of the big news from yesterday about Romley and the release of documents including transcripts of grand jury proceedings, none of which cast Aubuchon and Thomas in a positive light.

Aubuchon says she's been fired from the County Attorney's office improperly, and as retaliation by Romley for attempting to prosecute the same county officials who appointed him to his current position. An investigation into her alleged abuses as a deputy county attorney, plus the public statements about her made by Romley and others, have hurt her mental health, slandered her, and shattered some friendships with co-workers, she claims.

Although she says that evidence shows she's already been fired, former Thomas aide Barnett Lotstein says that's not true -- she's still employed by the office and collecting a paycheck, as far as he knows. (Unlike Lotstein, who really was fired).

Aubuchon's claim targets another former Thomas aide, Phil MacDonnell, (also dismissed soon after Romley took office), the entire Board of Supervisors, County Manager David Smith and others. The claim takes on the feel of a diatribe at times as Aubuchon rehashes aspects of the cases against Supervisors Mary Rose Wilcox and Don Stapley, and her gut feeling that a conspiracy must be afloat permeates her explanation of the various conflicts of interest involved.

But Aubuchon's letter also -- inadvertently -- gives a critical reader a sense of schadenfreude. The double standard is astonishing. For instance, Aubuchon cries out that "professional decency" should prevent Romley from talking to the news media about allegations against her.

But, in following the plans of Thomas and Sheriff Joe Arpaio's chief deputy, Dave Hendershott, did Aubuchon ever once stop to worry about professional decency? If she had, maybe Judge Gary Donahoe -- once the subject of a bogus criminal investigation led by Aubuchon -- wouldn't be filing a multi-million claim of his own against the county.

Lotstein, who's helping Thomas' campaign for state Attorney General, describes Aubuchon as a "good soldier," adding that he doesn't think she did anything improper.

As a deputy prosecutor, Aubuchon's immune from prosecution for anything she did in her official capacity. Maybe she ought to leave well enough alone.

That being said, it'll be interesting to see if Aubuchon joins the county settlement process so reviled by Hendershott and Thomas or negotiates a separate settlement.

Our take: She doesn't believe in her own BS enough to demand a jury trial.

Aubuchon Notice of Claim