Arizona Capitol

More Tales of State Senator Scott Bundgaard's Checkered Past Surface as Majority Leader Faces Ethics probe

State Senator Scott Bundgaard's roadside domestic violence debacle on February 25 continues to dust up the many blemishes in the majority leader's past. And today, the tale of another jilted love affair involving Bundgaard and a woman are making headlines.

The skeletons in the Peoria Republican's closet are enough to give a guy like John Wayne Gacy a run for his money (to be fair, Gacy had actual skeletons in his closet and Bundgaard's never killed anyone), and information that continues to come out about the senator's past make his life seem more like a really long episode of COPS than that of a statesman.

Back in the 1980s, Bundgaard was popped for burglarizing car stereos from a Smitty's grocery store, where he worked.

The burglary charge was expunged from his record after completing two years of probation, clearing his way to being elected to the state House in 1994.

Today, the Arizona Republic revealed that in 2006, Bundgaard was accused of threatening, intimidating, and committing acts of domestic violence against then-wife Anne Harwell.

Bundgaard and Harwell met on the internet, and were married a few months later at the Paradise Valley estate of Bundgaard's buddy Pierre Falcone.

Of course, that's the Pierre Falcone that is currently serving a six-year prison sentence in France for smuggling weapons.

Regardless, the newlywed Bundgaard and Harwell went to Hawaii for their honeymoon, which didn't go too well.

On April 8, 2006, Harwell called the cops in Hawaii asking for a police escort to their vacation rental so she could get her things and leave.

Harwell flew back to her home in Georgia -- leaving Bundgaard in Hawaii -- and filed for an annulment of their marriage.

Bundgaard tried to fight the annulment, but a judge made it official in June 2008.

According to The Arizona Guardian, Bundgaard went to their office yesterday for an interview.

The senator showed reporters a page of text messages between Harwell and one of her ex-boyfriends, questioning Bundgaard's sexuality.

This, apparently, was Bungaard's proof that she couldn't be trusted.

He told The Guardian questioning his sexuality was "laughable," and evidence of false accusations coming from Harwell.

The Guardian tried to reach Harwell by e-mail, but they say she wrote back that she was afraid she couldn't comment.

"The word 'afraid' was written in bold, capital letters," according to The Guardian.

Then, of course, was the roadside fight with now-ex-girlfriend Aubry Ballard on February 25.

Phoenix police responded to a call that Friday night about a man pulling a woman out of a vehicle next to the median on SR-51 near Cactus Road.

The cops arrived to find Bundgaard and Ballard "showing marks of a physical altercation," and they were both taken into custody.

Bundgaard told police he can't be arrested due to his immunity as a legislator, and he was let go -- while Ballard spent the night in jail.

The charges can still be filed after the legislative session ends -- if he makes it to the end of the session.

Democrats called for Bundgaard to resign from his Senate seat Monday, the same day Demoratic Sen. Leah Landrum Taylor, an Ethics Committee member, sent a formal complaint about Bundgaard to the committee's chairman, Republican Sen. Ron Gould.

Sen. David Schapira, the Senate Minority Leader and also a member of the Ethics Committee, tells New Times his impression from Gould is that an ethics investigation is likely to occur.

Hearings from the ethics committee could include subpoenas and testimony under oath, and votes from the committee could lead to various penalties, including a recommendation for Bundgaard's expulsion.

Even some Senate Republicans want to show Bundgaard the door.

Some believe a vote in the party caucus would oust him from his post as Senate Majority Leader, although Senate President Russell Pearce has called Bundgaard a "victim" in the case.

With the Senate president in his corner, we've got a feeling Bundgaard's not going anywhere. That said, if you're a once-convicted felon, pal around with people involved in organized crime, and don't get involved in too many domestic violence incidents, you might want to start drafting a new resume -- there could be a gig that's perfect for you at the Arizona State Capitol.