Thursday, September 16, 2010

New investigation into MCSO "misconduct and mismanagement"

Something tells me that perhaps someone feels that the feds are getting close...

In what is probably the first in a string of public occurrences of Maricopa County Sheriff Joe Arpaio throwing someone under the PR bus, a memo written by one of his senior aides accusing another senior aide of "misconduct and mismanagement" was made public yesterday.

From the Arizona Republic -
A top aide to Maricopa County Sheriff Joe Arpaio has requested an investigation of the sheriff's second-in-command, Chief Deputy David Hendershott, and two of his allies, signaling growing concern among the sheriff's top hierarchy about the agency's management.

A memo written by Deputy Chief Frank Munnell and recently delivered to Arpaio alleges years of misconduct and mismanagement by Hendershott, who has directed day-to-day operations of the Sheriff's Office since 2008 and has been in the department's top echelon since the mid-1990s.


Munnell asked Arpaio to place Hendershott and two of his close allies, Deputy Chief Larry Black and Capt. Joel Fox, on administrative leave pending an independent investigation by the Arizona Department of Public Safety.

Instead, Arpaio confirmed Wednesday, the sheriff sent the investigation to Pinal County Sheriff Paul Babeu, a close political ally.

"I decide who to send investigations to if it's necessary," Arpaio said, declining to comment further on the allegations. "This has been given by me to another agency. It wouldn't be appropriate for me to discuss it."
When describing the relationship between Arpaio and Babeu, "close political ally" is an understatement.  In many ways, Babeu could be best described as an "Arpaio in training."  I expect that his involvement with the case may actually be less to protect Black and Fox than to make sure any "investigation" doesn't go beyond those two.

All this comes on this week's $154K fine for Arpaio's illegal "in kind" contribution to the recent County Attorney campaign of another political ally, Bill Montgomery.  Arpaio funded a "hit piece" against Rick Romley, a long-time adversary and the other candidate for Maricopa County Attorney.

Note: some long-time or Arizona-based readers may recognize the name "Joel Fox."  Fox was the front man/fall guy in the one of the most brazen and tawdry illegal campaign finance schemes ever associated with Arizona politics.


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