Erik Ketelaar, Wannabe GOP Bigwig, Under Fire from Clients of His Company Tio Sam Taxes

Erik Ketelaar (third from right) at the GOP gubernatorial forum he recently hosted. (From left, former California Congressman Frank Riggs, Arizona Secretary of State Ken Bennett, unidentified male, Erik Ketelaar, Christine Jones and Arizona Treasurer Doug Ducey.)

Leslie Lara figures Tio Sam Taxes, owned by local Republican bigwig wannabe Erik Ketelaar, owes her about $1,267, the combined amount of her federal tax refunds for 2012 and 2013.

The company, which at one time had six locations in Phoenix and Mesa, heavily marketed its services to Hispanics, advertising on Univision and employing homeless people to dress as "Tio Sam" (Spanish for "Uncle Sam") and twirl signs on street corners.

Bilingual fliers for the business promised: "No charge until you receive your refund," which sounded good to Lara.

"They said they would take their fee when they received a check," she told me recently.

She showed me a copy of her 2013 tax return, which directed that her refund check be sent to a Tio Sam's location near 36th Street and Thomas Road in Phoenix.

More »

Tom Horne in Handcuffs: Bill Montgomery Can and Should Get Arizona's Attorney General

Social Eye Media
Horne: So deserving of a perp-walk...

In Arizona, you've got to get the justice you can when you can get it.

That's because in this state, particularly when it comes to public corruption or the abuse of power, you might as well wait for Godot if you think the wicked will be punished as part of the natural order of things.

Take for example, immigrant-chasin' Sheriff Joe Arpaio, who for all of his misdeeds over the years, richly deserves to be under a prison somewhere.

Consider all the wrongful deaths in Joe's jails, the use of his office to target his critics and political opponents, the violation of the civil rights of others under the color of law (a federal crime, natch), the lies, the cover-ups.

More »

Christine Jones Made Money from Porn, Was Pro­-SOPA, and Forgives Sheriff Paul Babeu's Sex­capades

Christine Jones at a recent event in North Phoenix, and Jones' top border security adviser, Paul "Studboi1" Babeu

Christine Jones and firearms? Sounds like a fine way to spend a Saturday.

Such was my thought when I found out Jones, a contender for the GOP nod for governor, would be at Shooter's Vault, a gun shop in North Phoenix, for a campaign meet­-and-greet.

See, I had a few questions for the 45­-year­-old former corporate attorney for, not the least of which was why she would have anything to do with sleazy Pinal County Sheriff Paul Babeu.

More »

Ralph Heap, "Dr. Hypocrisy," Campaigns Against Medicaid Expansion, But Took $130K in Medicaid Cash

Master and apprentice: Recalled former state Senator Russell Pearce talks with Ralph Heap (right), Pearce's revenge candidate in LD 25, in this photo Heap deleted from his Facebook page

Tall with a buzz cut and a toothy grin, Dr. Ralph Heap is a banjo-pickin' orthopedic surgeon with a handsome family and enough charisma to worry incumbent Bob Worsley in the GOP primary for state senator from deeply red Legislative District 25.

Heap also is a colossal hypocrite -- and the cat's paw of powerful politicians eager to see Worsley ousted for their own ends. But let's address the hypocrisy first.

The centerpiece of Heap's appeal to voters is his opposition to Medicaid expansion, passed in 2013, pushed by Governor Jan Brewer, and despised for ideological reasons by most GOPers in the Legislature.

More »

Doug Ducey and the Stain of Simcox: Sources Say Accused Child Molester Chris Simcox Had Access to Families' Home Movies while Working for iMemories

Gage Skidmore
Doug Ducey has more than $100,000 invested in iMemories and was chairman of the board up till 2012; Simcox (inset) worked there till he was let go, two weeks before he was arrested

More than a year has passed since former Minuteman leader Chris Simcox was arrested on charges that he molested three minors, including one of his own daughters.

Simcox has refused a generous plea deal from the Maricopa County Attorney's Office, and so he bides his time in Sheriff Joe Arpaio's gray-bar hotel awaiting a trial, which may come this fall.

In May, things got worse for the man his enemies once dubbed "the Little Prince" for his imperiousness.

More »

Casting Millstones: Ugliness and Hysteria Has Been the Response of Too Many Americans to the Plight of Migrant Kids

Ken Bennett says if he were governor, he would have ordered DPS and the Arizona National Guard to arrest federal employees transporting kids to a Phoenix bus station, though that "order" would be illegal.

A sort of moral sickness has gripped this country in the face of the unprecedented number of minors crossing the border in Texas, one that manifests itself in panic, falsehoods, sheer stupidity, and knee-jerk nativist hatred.

In Lawrenceville, Virginia (population 1,300), residents recently pitched a fit when they found out the federal government contracted with a small, shuttered college there to house 500 of the more than 52,000 migrant kids who have been taken into custody by the feds since October.

Never mind that the plan would have pumped much-needed revenue into the town, the residents didn't want any of them dang "illegals" housed nearby their homesteads, so the feds nixed the plan.

I'll remember this should some disaster ever befall that burg so I have an excuse not to contribute to the relief effort.

More »

Suffer the Children? They Certainly Would if Certain Idiot Arizona Politicians Had Their Druthers

Tom Tingle/Arizona Republic
Horne, exploiting the fate of innocent kids in a pathetic attempt to save his sorry hide.
What did Arizona's political leaders learn from the debacle over Arizona's ethnic-cleansing legislation, Senate Bill 1070?

They learned that hysteria, misinformation, and grandstanding work, as far as garnering attention, and that saying the dumbest thing you can is often surest route to getting your mug on Fox News.

But wait, what if you end up scapegoating children and their moms? What if the solutions you offer are at best deleterious and at worst impossible?

No biggie. There are enough haters from the redneck persuasion out there -- especially among Republican primary voters -- that any ludicrous suggestion tinged with fear-mongering will win you some votes.

So when it comes to the humanitarian crisis of refugees from Central America crossing the U.S.-Mexico border, is it any surprise that the lowest of the low, embattled Attorney General Tom Horne, would take a pause from breaking campaign finance laws and dodging the FBI to stick his sagging beak into the crisis?

More »

Joe Arpaio's Investigating Federal Judge G. Murray Snow, DOJ, Sources Say, and Using a Seattle Scammer To Do It

AP Photo/Matt York
Sheriff Joe Arpaio, during a 2012 press conference about his ludicrous birther investigation
The most revealing part of Phoenix filmmaker Randy Murray's recent documentary The Joe Show was a strategy meeting during Sheriff Joe Arpaio's 2012 re-election campaign that included Arpaio, his top flack, Lisa Allen, Chief Deputy Jerry Sheridan, and campaign manager Chad Willems.

The group huddled in the back of a Fountain Hills restaurant to discuss how to spin Joe's negatives -- the misspending of more than $100 million, the deaths in the jails, the scores of millions in lawsuit payouts -- for the public.

More »

Tom Horne, "General Lawbreaker," Is So Guilty Even His Denials Sound Like Admissions

Arizona Attorney General Tom Horne (a.k.a. "General Lawbreaker")
Sitting across from me in the office of her attorney, Tom Ryan, Sarah Beattie relates the details of her work for Arizona Attorney General Tom Horne in "constituent services," which really amounted to working on the AG's re-election campaign, creating documents, and, most importantly, raising money.

In fact, according to Beattie's sworn affidavit and more than 146 pages of exhibits that back up her statement, Horne and several members of the AG's Office spent much, if not most, of their time not working for the people who pay them -- taxpayers -- but on behalf of Horne's re-election effort.

"The AG's executive office is the campaign headquarters [for Horne]," Beattie, 26, told me in an interview published last week on New Times' Valley Fever blog.

Since then, Ryan, working Beattie's case pro bono, has filed a complaint with the Arizona Secretary of State's Office and the Arizona Citizens Clean Elections Commission.
Now, everyone in the local press corps is getting a piece of the action.

More »

Tom Horne's Zombieland Amusement Park Dive-Bombed by the Irish Wolfhound

Tom Tingle/Arizona Republic/Pool Photo
Head zombie in charge: Arizona Attorney General Tom Horne

Describing Arizona Attorney General Tom Horne's scandal-a-second administration, Horne's Republican primary foe, former Arizona Department of Gaming director Mark Brnovich recently referenced the '60s bard born Robert Zimmerman.

"If you've ever listened to the song 'Desolation Row' by Bob Dylan, every day 'the circus is in town' when Tom Horne is attorney general," he cracked as we discussed some of the latest allegations of impropriety in the AG's Office.

He ain't kiddin'.

More »

Now Trending

From the Vault