Joe Arpaio and Andrew Thomas' Bullying of County Officials Could Cost Taxpayers More Than $13 Million

America's self-proclaimed "toughest sheriff," Joe Arpaio.
The numbers have been tallied. If county officials get their way, lawsuits filed against Maricopa County over alleged wrongdoing by Sheriff Joe Arpaio and former County Attorney Andrew Thomas will cost taxpayers more than $13 million.

Three of the lawsuits were filed in Maricopa County Superior Court on Tuesday -- two others on November 23 -- by five current and former county officials, all of whom claim they were targeted by Arpaio and Thomas because they opposed the two politically.

Those who filed suit against the sheriff include Judge Gary Donahoe; former judges Barbara Mundell and Anna Baca; Deputy County Manager Sandi Wilson; and Susan Schuerman, executive assistant to Maricopa County Supervisor Don Stapley.

From the Arizona Republic:

- Wilson says Arpaio and Thomas targeted her after she recommended budget cuts to their agencies. She alleges Thomas and Aubuchon continued to defame and harass her even after they left office. She had offered to settle for written apologies or $2 million.

- Donahoe alleges Thomas and Hendershott filed a criminal complaint against him to create a conflict of interest that would force him off cases involving other legal battles between Thomas, Arpaio and other county officials. Donahoe's complaint alleges their investigation into the county's court-tower project "was simply the Trojan Horse for Arpaio and Thomas's assault on their political enemies. The only 'crime' committed by Judge Donahoe was to issue a ruling adverse to Arpaio and Thomas." Among other allegations, Donahoe claims Arpaio and Thomas ignored a grand-jury decision to kill the case against him, continued to publicly portray the judge as the subject of a criminal investigation and chose a man who Donahoe says threatened to kill him as the process server designated to deliver the complaint to him. Donahoe had offered to settle for $4.75 million.

- Former judges Mundell and Baca allege Arpaio and Thomas named them in a "baseless" racketeering lawsuit to "intimidate, harass, discredit and humiliate" them. They also claim Arpaio and Thomas intentionally tarnished their reputations and character through news releases, TV interviews and Internet postings. Each had offered to settle for $4.75 million.

- Schuerman, Stapley's assistant, alleges that prosecutors and investigators tapped her phones, followed her, sent sheriff's deputies to patrol her street and publicly denigrated her to intimidate her into cooperating with their criminal investigation into Stapley. She had offered to settle for $1.75 million.

There you have it taxpayers -- Joe Arpaio's bullying could end up costing you a cool $13 million.

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The math looks offWilson $2M or apologyDonahoe $4.75MMundell $4.75MBaca $4.75MSchuerman $1.75M

Thats 16 or 18 million. I think the respondants would rather the tax payers fork over an extra two mill than they have to apogize for anything.


I heard that Mary Rose Wilcox will drop her lawsuit for an apology from both Arpaio & Andrews. This could save the county a couple of million dollars at least, however what are the chances of that happening?

Concerned Citizen and Taxpayer
Concerned Citizen and Taxpayer

This is the reason to end absolute immunity for prosecutors. The arrogance by these elected officials Andrew Thomas and a sheriff has wasted taxpayers money and put the county and state on the brink of financial disaster not to mention destroyed a once fine place to live. The consequences of their reign of terror will last for years. The social fabric of the community destroyed. A sad day for Arizona, that no amount of PR budget will correct until public officials have outside independent oversight and accountability.



I like what you say. I started writing something like this last night, but I think you said it better than what I planned. To add a couple points:

I don't care about pink underwear, lack of Playboy magazines and coffee, chain gangs, or any of the other things Arpaio does that are "tough." These are nothing but marketing gimmicks. They are not tough. Failling to investigate crime because you have other priorities is not tough. Creating a secondary set of personnel books to conceal that you are stealing money from a restricted fund is not tough. Abusing people is not tough.

Toughness is a character trait, not a series of publicity stunts and thuggish behavior. As Clarity mentions, taking responsibility for one's actions and the actions of one's subordinates is a major part of being tough. Accountability to yourself and to others is paramount. "The Buck Stops Here!" does not exist at MCSO. About a year ago Arpaio sat in a deposition and said, among other things, that he could not take responsibility for the content of his books or the operation of the MCSO. Pretty tough there Joe. Certainly not patterned after a Navy Captain where running a tight ship means the Captain IS responsible for and accountable to the United States for the actions of every person on his boat. If fact, the Captain can be fired because of his crew. Running a tight ship is vital to his career and hence a Captain will be tough.

We talk about our military heros, LE personnel, emergency responders and you will hear the words courage, tough, and others. One of the things we most admire is a person with steely resolve, integrity, and the ability to get the job done. These people never have to hide behind word like, "I am just doing my job." It is always obvious that they are doing their job. They don't have to tell us.

America's Toughest Sheriff is nothing more than an effective marketing myth that we have paid for with a bloated team of cheerleaders (PR group). They keep Arpaio in the news. They keep his campaign contributions coming in. They keep Arpaio traveling around doing speeches all over the place that have zero benefit to the people in Maricopa County. If you listen to Arprio, he does two speeches a day and meets wtih the world media every day. What does that have to do with the job we pay him for. Should he not be charging a fee for speeches that come back to the county? After all we paid for the myth.

Arpaio's PR group is effective and whatever you think about Lisa Allen, you have to admit that she has been very effective at her job with grit and determination to create and grow this myth. I think Lisa is actually tougher and more successful about getting her job done than Arpaio is about getting his job done.

America's Toughest Sheriff? I think not.


Interesting, The Sheriff claims he is America's toughest, yet he does not have the fortitude to apologize for wrong doing he is clearly responsible for, or anything wrong that falls within his purview.

It takes a tough and gutsy person to take responsibility for things that they are clearlyresponsible for, yet the Sheriff will have none of it. Therefor it is clear that the Sheriff is, in fact, NOT, a tough person but an absolute wimp.

And for him to call himself a 'Sheriff' is technically false, and the past few years has proven itself to be patently untrue since he does not act, function or do the things any other Sheriff would do. But instead only does things which are self serving.

A sheriff is supposed to be a person of integrity and a moral compass for the community they serve. What has the "Sheriff" done for the community lately? Or, ever, for that matter?


Yes there are public servants. They serve up the public's money as an economic stimulus program for lawyers..


Those are the suits that are filed to date. There may be more suits to follow the stale claims. Also, the offers to settle claims for which suits have been filed add to $13 M. A jury might see fit to award more depending on the outrageousness of the evidence. Further, the $13 M does not count the $10 M that the county has allocated to pay lawyers. $13 M is a low ball number for sure.


Speaking of Stupid Cops where is Big Dave from MCSO hiding these days ????

Tommy Collins
Tommy Collins

Better yet, Mr. King, per the suggestion of Ajholland it might be time to visit MCSO and PCSO and get an update on the administrative investigation against Hendershott that was handed over from MCSO to PCSO. It seems PCSO has had enough time to not only investigate, but to reinvent the process. With the sudden attempts at transparency that is the current media facade at MCSO someone there might actually tell you what's going on.

Both MCSO and PCSO are enamored with the attention given toward Louie and this means the other investigation is out of sight, and out of mind,

Perhaps a reminder is in order, Mr. King.

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