ARE TAXPAYERS BEING BILKED?
by Sharon Rondeau
(Jun. 17, 2015) — On May 5, U.S. District Court Judge G. Murray Snow issued an order pertaining to the case of Melendres, et al v. Arpaio, et al to Maricopa County, AZ Deputy County Manager Sandi Wilson to approve for payment an April 2015 invoice from Robert Warshaw, the court-appointed monitor assigned to oversee that the Maricopa County Sheriff’s Office complies with the court’s 2013 findings of racial discrimination.
Snow appointed the monitor, who was the choice of the plaintiffs, early last year, and an agreement on the conditions of how and under what conditions payment would be issued was reached in May 2014.
Warshaw and his associates have provided monitoring services to the cities of Niagara Falls, NY; Oakland, CA; and Detroit, MI. In 2013, a Niagara Falls reporter quoted Warshaw’s monthly invoices as $10,000. Contracts are negotiated in the millions of dollars and tend to span a number of years.
The Post & Email was told by a business partner of Warshaw’s, Chief Charles Reynolds, that Warshaw does not give interviews.
According to Wilson’s counsel, Katherine E. Baker, Snow’s order is “contrary to County policy” and “requires Wilson to take an action inconsistent with her job duties, i.e., approve payment of an invoice without regard to whether it is reasonable, and without review of necessary documentation.”
Melendres Wilson Monitor April Invoice
Wilson’s filing with the court, dated June 8, indicated her “objections” to having been directed to order the county treasurer to pay the April invoice without her customary ability to review it first. Wilson had previously been observing an arrangement with the court to review Warshaw’s invoices on a given day each month “in camera,” meaning in the judge’s chambers.
Neither of Wilson’s attorneys whose names appear on the filing could be reached for comment for this article. Page 4 of their filing states that the contract agreed by Maricopa County and Warshaw “requires that bills with receipts and other ‘reasonable documentation’ be provided for the County’s review” before they are paid.
While maintaining that her client was put “between a rock and a hard place,” Wilson approved the invoice without seeing the backup documentation so as to comply with Snow’s order.
On page 6, Baker indicated that on May 6, Snow ordered that Wilson’s in-camera review be “at least temporarily suspended.”
Further, Baker wrote:
The Court offered no explanation of how the Monitor’s exceedingly large April, 2015 bill would be audited, and ordered that, “Ms. Wilson is directed to authorize payment of the Monitor’s April invoice.” [Emphasis original]
In footnote 3 on page 6, Baker expounded on former Maricopa County Attorney Doug Irish’s ideas expressed last year as to how the bills could be scrutinized:
In a letter to the court dated May 7, 2014, Mr. Irish offered several suggested methods for oversight of the Monitor’s bills, none of which had yet approached the huge sums charged in the April, 2015 bill. Mr. Irish suggested the court could conduct the review, or a Special Master or Magistrate Judge could be used. He emphasized that County Management is a fiduciary for the taxpayer funds entrusted to it, and cited statutory requirements for ensuring that any disbursement of public money is made in accordance with the law.
Baker also suggested “That any future Orders for Monitor bill approval, where Maricopa County has not been access to backup documentation, indicate that the Court has reviewed the detailed billing backup and has determined the charges are reasonable and related to the injunctive order.”
On June 15, Snow issued an Order stating that he had examined Warshaw’s invoice for May dated June 2, 2015. “The Court finds the invoice and charges to be reasonable and directs Maricopa County to authorize payment of the Monitor’s invoice.”
Melendres 06-15-15 Monitor Invoice Order
Last month, through counsel, Maricopa County Sheriff Joseph M. Arpaio and his chief deputy, Jerry Sheridan, asked that Snow recuse himself after comments his wife had reportedly made characterizing her husband’s negative view of Arpaio and his alleged wish to see that Arpaio was not reelected came to light during court testimony on April 24 and 25.
Snow has not yet ruled on that request. The plaintiffs’ lead attorney, Cecillia Wang of the ACLU, strongly objected to Arpaio and Sheridan’s request, filing a motion of her own in opposition. An accompanying filing by New York law professor Stephen Gillers attempted to discredit Arpaio’s attorneys’ claims regarding Snow’s inability to remain impartial given that members of his family had become part of his line of questioning in April.
“Judges can ask leading questions,” Gillers wrote on page 5 of his brief.
Melendres Motion Opposing Recusal
Melendres Stephen Gillers Affidavit
Arpaio is the only sheriff in the country who has undertaken a criminal investigation into the long-form birth certificate image posted on the White House website on April 27, 2011, which was immediately denounced by experts as a forgery. The nearly-four-year investigation conducted by the Maricopa County Cold Case Posse led to a second criminal probe conducted by Arpaio’s office beginning in the fall of 2013.
In 2011, then-prospective presidential candidate Donald Trump pressured the White House to release Obama’s more detailed birth certificate containing the name of the hospital, physician, a registrar’s stamp and raised seal, and other details not available on the “short-form” released at The Daily KOS by an unknown party on June 12, 2008, now also posted at whitehouse.gov.
Trump is now a declared presidential candidate who last spring reminded an audience at the National Press Club that he had offered Obama $50 million for a charity of his choice if he released his college application forms which Obama ignored. Trump stated that he believes that Obama either was born in the United States but falsely represented himself as a foreign student to obtain funds set aside for that population or that Obama truthfully applied as a foreign student and received those funds to attend U.S. universities.
The birth certificate image, which now resides on its own page linked to from whitehouse.gov, was determined by the posse to be a “computer-generated forgery,” along with Obama’s Selective Service registration form.
During their April testimony, Sheridan and Arpaio answered questions from Snow not only about the comments his wife was alleged to have made, but also about an investigation Arpaio had been pursuing involving a former CIA and NSA contractor, Dennis Montgomery. Snow demanded all of the information Montgomery had given to Arpaio to be collected and provided to Warshaw and him, despite the fact that that investigation was not germane to the racial profiling case for which Arpaio, Sheridan and others are on trial for civil contempt.
Snow has already pledged to award the plaintiff class relief on its claims, whether it be broad or “limited” based on Arpaio’s admission that his office did not fully adhere to the monitor’s direction. In March, Snow declined Arpaio’s offer made through his attorneys to forfeit one years salary to pay the plaintiff class and avoid extended litigation.
During Sheridan’s testimony on Friday, April 24, Snow himself suggested that Montgomery’s findings might have shown “collusion” between Snow and the Department of Justice, something which neither Sheridan nor Arpaio had raised. Arpaio stated at the time that although Montgomery’s information was largely deemed by him to be “junk,” it had indicated that the email accounts of several federal judges, including Snow; Arpaio’s attorneys in the DOJ case; certain MCSO phone lines and bank accounts of tens of thousands of Maricopa County residents had been breached by “someone.”
In a separate case, the US Department of Justice filed suit against Arpaio in May 2012 for alleged discrimination involving Latinos involved in “raids” in workplaces, in their homes, and within Arpaio’s jails. The nexus between the DOJ and Melendres cases is that Latinos were unfairly targeted during traffic stops.
On Monday, U.S. District Court Judge Roslyn Silver agreed with Snow that Arpaio had violated the civil rights of Latinos during traffic stops. The DOJ’s claims of political retaliation against Arpaio’s opponents was also upheld.
An attorney who resigned from the Department of Justice early in Obama’s first term reported that the decision not to prosecute members of the New Black Panthers for voter intimidation on November 4, 2008 outside a Philadelphia polling location was one of political expediency. A report in The Weekly Standard states that then-DOJ Civil Rights Division head Thomas Perez “testified untruthfully” to members of Congress and the Commission on Civil Rights. Perez reportedly was “allowed” to testify in place of “at least one of the individuals who had factual and legal familiarity with the case.”
In a September 2, 2010 lawsuit filed against Arpaio for alleged Title VI violations, Perez wrote:
Accountability for taxpayer funds is a fundamental element of Title VI, its implementing regulations, and the contractual assurance agreements that all recipients sign as a condition of receiving federal assistance. As recipients of federal financial assistance, Defendants are required by law, regulation, and contract to provide the United States with access to documents, other sources of information, and facilities in connection with Title VI investigations or compliance reviews.
An entry at the bottom of Snow’s Wikipedia page suggests that Snow was chosen to preside over the case. The link leads to a blank page with the url intact.
A screenshot from the case as maintained on PACER indicates that Snow was the assigned judge and that the Justice Department moved to dismiss the case on June 6, 2011 after coming to a formal agreement. After a 60-day period ensued, the court ordered that the case be dismissed “without prejudice” because, according to a filing from Perez and the other DOJ attorneys, “The United States has determined that MCSO is in substantial compliance with its obligations under the Agreement” consummated on June 2, 2011.
In late August 2012, the DOJ ceased its probe without explanation into whether or not Arpaio had engaged in a criminal abuse of power.
Obama’s current attorney general, Loretta Lynch, believes “that the right and the obligation to work is one that’s shared by everyone in this country regardless of how they came here.” The Obama regime has issued work permits to tens of thousands of illegal aliens, accounting for many “new jobs” as reported in both 2012 and 2014. Arpaio has taken a strong stance against illegal aliens’ presence in the country, and specifically in Maricopa County, which is close to the border with Mexico.
The attorney representing Arpaio in a legal challenge to Obama’s executive actions which would have allowed millions of illegals to remain in the country, obtain work permits and Social Security numbers, and government benefits, Larry Klayman, has suggested that Obama is himself an illegal alien who should be deported.
The Post & Email has observed that with the only two documents Obama has made public having been declared fraudulent, he appears to be “undocumented.”
Arpaio has announced that he intends to seek a seventh consecutive term in November 2016.