Russell Pearce's Cortes Scandal: Tom Ryan Challenges the Media, Lester Pearce Flips Out

Dennis Gilman's video of Ryan's press conference yesterday

Attorney Tom Ryan was in rare form Thursday afternoon as he faced the media with his client, Mary Lou Boettcher, the plaintiff in the lawsuit against sham candidate Olivia Cortes, and his co-counsel H. Micheal Wright. The scene was Mesa's Wright House, owned by Wright's family.

Cortes dropped out of the Legislative District 18 recall race for state Senate earlier in the day, an obvious move to save the hides of the various associates, family members and political operatives who had been subpoenaed to appear in court Friday before Judge Edward Burke. There, they would have had to answer questions under oath about the various illegal acts alleged of them. 

Ryan explained that now that Cortes had withdrawn her candidacy, the Friday hearing would be moot, as the point of the underlying lawsuit had been to force Cortes' withdrawal. Though her name will remain on the ballot, notices will be posted at the polls advising voters that she has withdrawn.

The lawsuit served its purpose, Ryan maintained, and is now over. He stated that he is making the evidence that he and Wright have amassed available to the Maricopa County Attorney's Office, the Arizona Attorney General's Office, and the Arizona Secretary of State, evidence supposedly linking political operative Constantin Querard and Pearce's campaign directly to Cortes' diversionary and fraudulent candidacy.

"We have alleged very serious violations here," Ryan declared. "What we have alleged is that this campaign has engaged in a Class 5 felony. It's now up to the authorities to pursue it. We've done all we can do."

He maintained that the evidence was "very compelling" that Pearce's campaign helped recruit and attempted to recruit not only Cortes, but other potential sham candidates too smart to lend their names to the effort. 

One reporter asked why he thought Cortes had dropped out.

"You presume she dropped out," he replied. "Plain and simple, it's the Pearce forces that realized the jig was up. They did not want this hearing to go forward...they wanted out of this."

Ryan also alleged that the Senator's brother, Justice of the Peace Lester Pearce, had helped solicit signatures for Cortes' nominating petition and campaigned on behalf of his sibling in violation of the state's code of judicial conduct.

"I believe you will find that Lester Pearce was involved in carrying Cortes signs around," he said. "Lester Pearce was involved in taking his nieces around to get petitions signed for Olivia Cortes...He was also involved in meetings in the Russell Pearce campaign to strategize with them. The evidence is very strong in that regard."

(Ryan told me later that he misspoke, and that he meant to say that Lester Pearce had been carrying his brother's signs around. As a judge, Lester Pearce is prohibited from campaigning for anyone other than himself. There is no exception for family members.)

Interestingly, less than hour after the Ryan-Wright press conference, just prior to the debate between Senator Pearce and his now sole foe Jerry Lewis at the East Valley Institute of Technology, videographer Dennis Gilman and I spotted Judge Pearce outside the campus' auditorium.

We approached him, and I asked him about the fact that he'd been subpoenaed to testify at the Friday hearing. The judge turned testy, then advanced on Gilman's camera, grabbing it, and telling him to get it out of his face, though it was the judge that had approached Gilman, not vice versa.

He withdrew a bit, and under questioning, denied that he had helped solicit signatures for Cortes. I told him I wished I could ask him that under oath.

"Okay, it'd be the same answer," he told me. 

Under some prompting by Gilman, the judge finally extended his hand in apology. Gilman said he would not press assault charges, this time. Next time, he warned he would, even if his assailant was a justice of the peace.

But back to Ryan's press conference, where the silver-maned lawyer had a challenge for the local Fourth Estate.

"Your job is not over," he told them. "Your job is to continue to ask the tough questions of the Pearce campaign. You should go out and talk to Mr. Querard. You should go out and talk to [Pearce adviser Chuck Coughlin]. And you should not let Mr. Pearce up for air. Because they know full well what happened here."

He urged them to check out the various independent expenditure committees involved and to stay on Querard like white on rice. He denounced Querard in the strongest terms, pointing out that six years ago, he went to court against Querard on behalf of the Maricopa County Republican Party.

At that time, Querard had been caught sending out thousands of mailers to unsuspecting voters, making it seem as if the mailers were from the county GOP, asking if recipients wanted an early ballot sent to them. The mailers were sent back to Querard's Ahwatukee post office box, and Querard mined them for data, which he then sold to candidates he was representing.

"We got an injunction shutting his process down then," Ryan recalled. "One of the worst things that have come out of this whole clean elections process are people like Mr. Querard who game the system. It's not funny, it's not right, it's not appropriate. And our [state] Constitution mandates the purity of elections."

Indeed, back in 2004, Tom Liddy, then chair of the county GOP, was so incensed by Querard's actions, he criticized them in an e-mail to a fellow Republican, accusing Querard of "utilizing illegal tactics to launder tax-exempt non-profit money into politics."

Though Querard had been forced by the court to turn over the mailers to county elections, he sued Liddy for defamation, and lost, badly.

Indeed, the judge in the defamation case, Mark Aceto, stated the following in his minute entry, ruling against Querard:

"Even if it is assumed for the sake of discussion that the statement in question constitutes libel per se, the Court would still find in favor of Defendant based on the evidence. This is so because of the Court's belief and finding, to the extent it is inferred that the statement relates to Defendant, that the statement is true."

In other words, Querard's a political viper, slithering on his belly like the serpent in the Garden of Eden after the fall. An open Pearce operative, he often brags of his access to Pearce at Republican meetings, as he did at a Legislative District 15 GOP meeting in June of this year.

And yet, Pearce denied his loyal servant three times after the debate, as reporters encircled him, forcing him to answer my questions.

"Constantin Querard is not working on my [behalf]," he responded when I asked. "That I know of."

Totally untrue. Querard has an independent expenditure committee, Arizona Deserves the Best, putting up pro-Pearce signs in Mesa. I pointed out that Querard had challenged signatures in favor of the recall, submitted by Citizens for a Better Arizona.

"I didn't organize that, he may have, you're asking if I know," Pearce shot back as I pressed him.

"Does he have a direct connection to Olivia Cortes?" I asked.

"Ask him, I don't know," Pearce dissembled.

"If laws were broken in the Cortes affair, should they be enforced?" I queried.

"If laws were broke, I'm a believer in the rule of law," he said.

"Even if it involves members of your own family?" I wondered.

"My family didn't break any laws," he replied.

Dennis Welch of the Arizona Guardian wondered if Pearce had asked his family members, his nieces and his brother, why they worked for Cortes.

He avoided the question, even after Welch asked it twice. 

"Senator, answer the question," I ordered.

"When I read it in the paper, I talked to my two nieces, both shed a lot of tears over their involvement," he said, "and [they] were broken hearted because of the games the media plays with them and they thought they did nothing wrong. I wouldn't have done it. I wish they hadn't done it. They did nothing wrong."

"And Franklin B. Ross and the East Valley Tea Party, why were they involved?" I followed up.

He didn't respond. Ross, of course, is the Pearce loyalist who was the plaintiff in the failed lawsuit attempting to stop the recall election. A Tea Party member, Ross also circulated a petition sheet for Cortes.

As for the debate, well, it was mano a mano, sans Cortes, and Lewis was far more aggressive than I expected, taking swings at Pearce, and landing more than one punch. My assessment of Lewis' performance will come in a subsequent blog post.


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158 comments
drs_n0w
drs_n0w

I was on the fence.  Lewis, Pearce.  Pearce, Lewis.  I'm so happy that Russell's douchebag lil wanna-be lawyer/mr. importanto Lester came out to support him.  That basically FORCED me (and mine) to vote for Lewis.

Anon
Anon

Time for people to call/fax/write the MCAO and AG's office to alert them to this: "Ryan said that they are now putting all their evidence in a usable,  easy to follow format,  that violations of ARS 16-1006 have occurred (a class 5 felony),  which they will then turn over to the Secretary of State, who has begun his own investigation, the  County Attorney and Attorney General to give them the opportunity for further investigation of these election law violations. "

032153
032153

Ryan is a personal injury attorney?

Nick Hentoff
Nick Hentoff

If the purpose of the sham candidacy was to fraudulently dilute the vote, and Cortes only withdrew after the deadline for printing new ballots without her name on them, how is the lawsuit moot?  The lawsuit should have continued, the hearing held, and the requested remedy changed to an order requiring that the ballots be reprinted without Cortes' name on them.

Wake up Arizona!
Wake up Arizona!

The integrity of Arizona's top officials is being tested now. They do nothing, it will only confirm how corrupt the state is. 

Tina
Tina

Good grief!  I just read the mailing from Clean Elections sent to all LD 18 voters.  The fraud is on BIG TIME.  It includes statements from Lewis, Pearce AND dippy-dopey, semi-literate Olivia Cortes who, during her testimony in court, didn't know the meaning of the word "incumbent" much less "intellectual property." She had no idea who paid for her "Si, se puede" signs, her paid petition circulators, her suddenly appearing website OR her lawyer, whom she just met for the first time the day of the court hearing,  She had contact with only ONE person, one Greg Western, and ALL the people (except Western) who circulated her nominating petitions had never even met the woman.  

By "her" statement, however,  written in the first person, a voter would be conned into believing that Olivia has magically turned into an intellectual.  Get this:"It's time to stop the bickering and demagoguery and partisan Politics. .....I am...the only candidate qualified to solve Arizona's multifaceted immigration problem.  My diverse background experience qualifies me to see all the issues from multiple perspectives."  And on and on and on. Talk about voter fraud!   And although her candidacy was withdrawn by her handlers who were about to be exposed in court the following day, the name OLIVIA CORTES remains on our ballot as a candidate for state senate.    

PDALewis
PDALewis

so, any idea when SteppedOn Lemon and Gilman will be investigating Lewis past shady "multi level marketing' business dealings ?

Shady business dealings, shell companies, off shore china dealings, and eventually, bankruptcy leaving investors wiped out

Tommy Collins
Tommy Collins

["I wouldn't have done it. I wish they hadn't done it. They did nothing wrong."]

This statement alone characterizes pearce. He says he wouldn't have done it, wishes they wouldn't have done it, but they did nothing wrong. If there was nothing wrong with what they did then why are you trying to wash this all away, Mr. senator?

Goodness, the guy lies when there is no need for untruthfulness.

Seedy Ward
Seedy Ward

After the debate it was hand to hand? Let's hear more about that!

WilliamRichardsonMesa
WilliamRichardsonMesa

Mr. Lemmons.  Arizona owes you a debt of gratitude for your efforts to expose this fraud.  Well done and more well doing to come, we hope,

Bobby
Bobby

Update: Just read that old Russel kicked Lewis's butt in the debate. Bring out the next opponent. Pearce is back.

Anon
Anon

Tom Ryan, You are the best!  Also heard you at the "Lawyers' protest" - great courage.

Tina
Tina

Tom Ryan, the lead attorney for Mary Lou Boettcher, was interviewed on tonight's Horizon program (KAET, channel 8, Mon. 10/10) for about 10 minutes. The broadcast is available for viewing now on Horizon's KAET website. This is the time-line of what I understood occurred, the way Ryan explained it.  That first hearing was on Thursday, Sept. 29 (for which defendant Olivia Cortes as well as Greg Western, Dan Grimm, Pat Oldroyd, Suzanne Dreher and Franklin Ross had been subpoenaed to testify.)   Two days before that scheduled 9/29 evidentiary hearing, Ryan said he and co-counsel Wright offered the Cortes lawyer (Anthony Tsontakis) a "deal" that they would drop the lawsuit if Cortes would withdraw her candidacy, but Tsontakis refused the offer.  Hence, the all-day hearing proceeded as scheduled on 9/29 with that parade of witnesses testifying under oath.  The judge said he would have his ruling on Mon. 10/3.  

In the interim -- between Thurs. and Mon. -- due to all the publicity about the case, a number of other people contacted the lawyers and volunteered additional meaningful information for their cause. Hence, apparently on Monday they filed an emergency motion for relief with the court.  The judge's Mon.  ruling said it was clear that those who assisted Cortes did so to divert votes from Lewis for Pearce's benefit, but allowed Cortes to remain on the ballot.  A number of other people were then subpoenaed by the lawyers and a continued evidentiary hearing was scheduled for Fri. 10/7 with the witnesses who were subpoenaed.  Ryan said that the day before, on Thurs. 10/6, Cortes' lawyer contacted him, apparently reminding him of his previous offer, and now offered to have Cortes withdraw her candidacy in exchange for canceling the Fri. hearing.  I don't know if Ryan had an ethical choice in the matter, i.e., to refuse Tsontakis' proposition, but that was what  they agreed to: Cortes withdraws, hearing is cancelled.   Although the ballots have been printed with Cortes' name, with 102 of them already mailed out of the country and to military personnel (with at least three electors having already voted), the remaining early ballots aren't scheduled  to be mailed to voters until Thurs. 10/13.  Director of Elections Karen Osborne has stated there's no intention to officially notify those early voters that Cortes is not a candidate, but signs will be posted in polling places for those who wait until Nov. 8 to vote.  

Ryan said that they are now putting all their evidence in a usable,  easy to follow format,  that violations of ARS 16-1006 have occurred (a class 5 felony),  which they will then turn over to the Secretary of State, who has begun his own investigation, the  County Attorney and Attorney General to give them the opportunity for further investigation of these election law violations.  

Ryan was asked if he had some connection with Jerry Lewis.  Ryan said he's never met or spoken with Lewis, hasn't contributed to his campaign, etc. and expanded on his own commitment to his oath of office as a lawyer and the need for the purity of elections.  When asked, Ryan also said he's never had any contact with Russell Pearce.  

Anon
Anon

Very disturbing.

US War Veteran
US War Veteran

The plan all along, are we really surprised, corruption goes from top to bottom, from the Governors office, though the Attorney Generals office, MCSO, the Senate, all the way down to pearce nieces collecting signatures for a fake candidate to help out uncle rusty.

Dennis Gilman
Dennis Gilman

There is no "there" there and you know it. But I'm listening to a Pearce clip from last May were he tells a Tea Partier to contact Mr. Querard to help with the recall.  

Jason
Jason

More Pearce supporter cockroaches, eh?

You simply don't like the fact that unlike that mentally sick, corrupt, stupid old man, Pearce, Lewis is far superior.

Get over yourself. Pearce will be booted out on his sorry corrupt ass in 28 days and LD18 will welcome Jerry Lewis as their new state senator.

Tina
Tina

At a mostly-Tea Party meeting I attended a few weeks ago, when someone asked him about the Cortes candidacy, he defended it, saying, "She has a constitutional right to run."

US War Veteran
US War Veteran

Yes, exaclty what I thought as soon as I heard the idiot say it, if they did nothing wrong than why do you wish they hadn't done it.   Kinda like when they asked him if he knew Olivia Cortes and he replied, "I dont know her and I have nothing to do with IT".   "it" what Mr. Rule of Law? the scam?  are you saying you have nothing to do with the scam even before the reporter asked the question, so you know there is a scam going on dont you?

It must be hard for the mumbling idiot to keep track of his lies at this point.

Anon
Anon

WRM, Well said.

Tommy Collins
Tommy Collins

Bobby, cite your sources. I would like to read the information.

Jason
Jason

Where was he? On some far away planet in a far away galaxy? Pearce was never here, brainiac. He has never been here. He is a failure.

US War Veteran
US War Veteran

LOL dream on, I watched the entire thing, Rus-SELL Pearce came off as he always does, a mumbling idiot that talks like he has a cock in his mouth, no new ideas, no plan, NOTHING but a one trick pony.

29 days left until judgement day.  tic-toc, tic-toc...........

Chem Trail Karen
Chem Trail Karen

THATS RIGHT BOOBY! PEARCE KICKED HIS ASS! 

THIS PROVES THAT THERE IS NOTHING WRONG WITH HAVING FREINDS WHO ARE NAZIS OR TAKING GIFTS OR RUNNING SHAM CANDIDATES.

ITS OUR PATRIOT DUTY TO SUPPORT PEARCE!

Tommy Collins
Tommy Collins

["Director of Elections Karen Osborne has stated there's no intention to officially notify those early voters that Cortes is not a candidate, but signs will be posted in polling places for those who wait until Nov. 8 to vote."]

This seems to smack of 'elections engineering'. It this were a candidate from another party I would guess the elections staff would be VERY busy crossing out or labeling over that name. This seems to be Osborne's way of saying, "I did all I legally could for you, Russell, But you lost anyway".

Somewhat like Mrs. Brewer, it appears Mrs. Osborne is doing nothing more than what is legally obligated... True Maricopa County Republicans, they are...

US War Veteran
US War Veteran

Great news, now let's see with the "AG" office does with that information.

Jason
Jason

I'm not at all surprised. I expected this kind of bullshit from Pearce and his gang of odious cretins.

Tina
Tina

That sounds like something that ultimately needs to be shared with the public, particularly LD 18 voters.  

PDALewis
PDALewis

really?

Quorum International Ltd., once touted in Fortune magazine's "News/Trends," filed for Chapter 11 reorganization last week as it appeals a $1.7 million court judgment.

"This bankruptcy is the weirdest $3 bill I've ever seen in my life," said Rosner, attorney with San Diego-based Rosner Law & McGee.

More difficult to unravel is Quorum International's corporate structure, said Rosner. The company's roots trace back to Hong Kong-based Applied International Holdings, he said.

http://www.bizjournals.com/pho...

Name: Jerry Lewis.

Age: 55.

Hometown: Mesa.

Educational, professional and political experience:

- BS and MS - Accounting, Brigham Young University, 1982.

- Senior manager - Deloitte and Touche.

- COO - Quorum International.

- Teacher - CES.

- CEO - TJ Development.

- Assistant superintendent - Sequoia Schools.

US War Veteran
US War Veteran

And she does, if she had actually "RAN" her own campaing, gotten her own signatures, and her own contributions, she does not have a constitutional right to be a sham candidate and a plant by the pearce tea party traitors.

Tommy Collins
Tommy Collins

Vet, I'm sure you're aware that pathological liars don't feel the need to keep track of their lies, because they simply don't care about the truth. They just make up something that sounds good to them at that second in time and then believe what they just said... and in the case of pearce, he expects those around him to be stupid enough to take everything he says as being gospel. I think the CBA folks should erect campaign signs around Mesa, in English and Spanish, that says" pearce thinks Mesa voters are stupid. How does that make YOU feel?". Nuff said..

Jason
Jason

Kinda reminds me of the MCSO shurf.

"It must be hard for the mumbling idiot to keep track of his lies at this point."

US War Veteran
US War Veteran

Rachel Alexander wrote on her bullshit blog a letter proclaiming a victory for the mumbling idiot, I read it somewhere, nothing but bullshit and lies coming out of a disgraced assistant AG.

Jason
Jason

Yes indeed.

I mentioned that Pearce was squirming and looked really nervous. He must know he is finished in Arizona politics.  

All Pearce does is babble, rather incoherently. Just like mbsanchez, Bobby and Chem Trail Karen.

Jason
Jason

Actually it is a Class 5 felony for putting a sham candidate in an election. Tom Ryan was about to expose Pearce for the criminal cockroach that he is.

US War Veteran
US War Veteran

And it is my AMERICAN DUTY to fight pearce, his nazi friends, and bitch slap crack heads when they get in my way.

US War Veteran
US War Veteran

I'm willing to donate a couple of black Sharpie marker boxes so they can be issued to the voter poll volunteers so every time they hand a ballot to a voter they can just black out the sham candidate off of it.

Jason
Jason

It could've been worse. Candy Andy could be Arizona AG.

I agree that Horne needs to go. That's why I supported Rotellini in 2010 and will support her again in 2014.

GED Jan can't run again (thank God).

The MCSO shurf will be indicted as soon as the U.S. Attorney decides there's enough evidence (the Candy Andy ethics hearings transcripts will make excellent fodder.)

Monty gets booted out next year.

Huppenthal is an idiot and needs to be booted.  

Anon
Anon

Nothing like raiding the pot stores to redirect attention off of this serious situation. 

US War Veteran
US War Veteran

Exactly, and yes horne needs to go, there is absolutely no point on having the top law enforcement official in the state protecting criminals except to continue the corruption.

Bnbk
Bnbk

Nothing ,he'll claim a conflict of interest because he came out in support of the corrupt criminal RuSSell Pearce. That's something isn't it ? Our AG protecting & supporting a criminal. If Horne does nothing about this ,he should be the next target of a recall ,impeachment or whatever it takes to remove him from office.

Jason
Jason

Unfortunately. Pearce is nothing but a complete embarrassment and failure. That's why I support Lewis. And I live in LD19 in East Mesa.

Bnbk
Bnbk

Yea , I caught the show also,I wish they would have covered it more in depth but at least it's starting to get press nationally.

Tina
Tina

Last night the whole matter of what's happening here in Arizona (Recalled Russell Pearce and sham candidate Olivia Cortes) was exposed in full and reported accurately on MSNBC's Rachel Maddow's show.   More humiliation for our state and city.  

US War Veteran
US War Veteran

So what has this Quorum International Ltd. have anything to do with Mr. Jerry Lewis, the soon be the new Arizona Senator?  I read the article of the link you posted, no mention of him what so ever, or did you think we were not going to read it.

Jason
Jason

Indeed. I don't think he can stand watching Pearce lose to Lewis.

Tina
Tina

Boy, you sure are desperate.  

US War Veteran
US War Veteran

Yeah, but they knew she was going to withdraw before that, as soon as the ballots were printed to be exact, so they figured there was no need to worry about that.

Tina
Tina

Yes, USWV, and since she declared herself her own campaign manager and treasurer, and campaign financing data of revenues & expenditures needing to by filed by Oct. 27, all the expenditures for her signs, her paid petitioners, her last minute website, AND her lawyer would have to be disclosed.   And this irresponsible dipshit who was in on the scheme with Western from its inception testified in court that she had paid for none of it and didn't know who did.   Lordy, she's lived and worked in this country for 40 years.  

The collusion between the Pearce & Cortez campaigns would have been revealed by those required campaign financing statements. 

US War Veteran
US War Veteran

" pearce thinks Mesa voters are stupid. How does that make YOU feel? "

Excellent idea Tommy. 

Wake up Arizona!
Wake up Arizona!

Maricopa County is a busy place -- trying to juggle between the Thomas/Aubuchon/Alexander abuse of power hearing (for possible disbarment) and all the action in the LD18 Campaign to elect Jerry Lewis!

Arizona Supreme Court -Presiding Disciplinary Judge > Video Pagehttp://www.azcourts.gov/pd...

Jason
Jason

All right! Thanks. Now let's work on getting Pearce outta office.

Jason
Jason

She worked in the AG's Office for awhile, and then started working for that corrupt coward Candy Andy. I read in today's Arizona Republic she was blogging about Judge Donahoe's retirement, calling it a "disgraceful resignation."

News flash Rachel: YOU are a disgrace, just like that coward Candy Andy. Pearce is a coward too. And you are a coward for supporting both of these mumbling, bumbling idiots. You should just surrender your Bar license, bitch. Freaking coward...

Jason
Jason

Yep. The corruption and cowardice continues...

US War Veteran
US War Veteran

Exactly, so the scurried back into the roach hole they came out of instead.

Jason
Jason

And it is my American duty to boot out mentally sick and corrupt politicians like Pearce, the MCSO shurf, Horne, Candy Andy, etc.

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