Fishy Fundraiser -- Part Two: Arpaio's Office Goes North to Alaska, Spends County Money, Brings Home Bacon for Joe
A couple of weeks ago, we related how a top official with the Maricopa County Sheriff's Office met with some rich guys during a fishing trip in Alaska three years ago.
As we were told by the lawyer for the rich guys, Grant Woods, the Alaska trip -- which was attended by MCSO Director Larry Black -- supposedly resulted in the raising of $110,000 for the sleazy SCA bank account run by another top Sheriff's Office dude, Captain Joel Fox. (We think there was plenty of follow-up conversation about the donations, but they're sticking to the Alaska story). As you probably know, the money ended up used to help Joe Arpaio's bid for re-election last year.
One of our intrepid readers soon forwarded us a number of credit-card transactions by Sheriff's Office employees involving Alaska or Alaska Airlines. The so-called "p-card" transactions get reimbursed by various public funds.
The Sheriff's Office used to perform out-of-state extraditions for local police agencies, so many of the charges are likely legit. But not all.
for the link to a Microsoft Excel spreadsheet and peruse the Sheriff's Office charges for yourself.
One charge in particular caught our eye, because it came just a few months before the SCA account received its first big check, in April of 2007.
The November 1, 2006 charge is to McClure's Rustic River in Soldotna, Alaska -- a fishing guide service. It's only $204, but... Does this have something to do with the SCA's fishing trip?
One donor to the SCA, WTG Investments of Alaska, is owned by a bloke named Tom Gimple, and Gimple owns a health-services company that has an office in Soldotna, among other places.
Just one problem: McClure's doesn't offer fishing or use of its cabins in November.
We talked to Steve McClure, owner of the guide service, who tells us that sometimes, when a person asks to stay at his cabins during the off-season, he refers him to one of two other local businesses: Fish Magnet or Long Live the Kings, (as in King Salmon).
That's likely what happened here, he says, though he doesn't remember details from the three-year-old transaction. The owners of both of these companies are on vacation right now in Texas, McClure says.
Last week, we asked Sheriff's Office spokeswoman Lisa Allen to give up some details about the charges in the above-linked Excel document -- and especially the McClure's charge. She hasn't gotten back to us.
Quite possibly, the charge was for lodging of deputies on their way to Wildwood prison in Kenai to pick up a prisoner for some reason. Soldotna's on the way, if you're driving from Anchorage.
But until the MCSO can explain this charge, and some of the other alleged extradition charges, we're still concerned about how the Sheriff's Office is spending the public's money.
In another example from the Excel file, Sheriff's Office credit cards were used to buy fuel and rental cars in Alaska on the following days in 2007: June 15, June 18, June 27, June 28, and July 3. It seems a stretch that so many Alaska extraditions took place during that time. Internet news archives don't mention any extraditions from Alaska to Arizona during the period, yet you'd think such expensive undertakings would involve high-profile inmates that make the news.
Another Excel file of p-card transactions obtained by New Times shows out-of-state charges made by the Sheriff's Office in the last three months. Though many, if not most, of these may be appropriate, some are questionable. For instance, check out lines 125 and 126: About $1,700 spent on "DISNEY RSRVTNS/TICKETS" in Orlando, Florida.
Your money at work -- and play.