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Arpaio investigating Maricopa County supervisor

A Maricopa County supervisor and frequent critic of Sheriff Joe Arpaio is under criminal investigation by the Sheriff’s Office.

The Arizona Republic reports the Maricopa County Sheriff’s Office has filed a public-records request with Phoenix officials, looking for information on Mary Rose Wilcox and her husband, former state lawmaker Earl Wilcox.

Arpaio told the Republic the probe is a straightforward criminal investigation.

“This has to do with information we received on her and we’re just conducting an investigation,” Arpaio said.

Wilcox says it’s all a move to intimidate her.

“The sheriff has a vendetta and he’s just throwing a big net out and he’s doing it to scare me,” Wilcox. “I have a legitimate disagreement with him on the way he’s enforcing immigration, and instead of sitting down with me to hear the community’s concerns, he’s just trying to scare me.”

Wilcox is the second county supervisor involved in a criminal investigation by the Sheriff’s Office.

The Sheriff’s Office also was involved in a criminal investigation into Supervisor Don Stapley, who was indicted in December related to possible misstatements and omissions in his financial-disclosure forms.

In the request for information about the Wilcoxes, the Sheriff’s Office asked the Phoenix Aviation Department for documents related to the process that awarded a concession lease/contract to the couple and their businesses. The Wilcoxes run the El Portal restaurants and Chili’s Too at Terminal 4 at Sky Harbor International Airport.

The request came about a month after the Sheriff’s Office filed requests with the county asking for Wilcoxes’ financial-disclosure records dating to 1992, information related to her involvement with local non-profits and her and her husband’s involvement with the state Boxing Commission and the state racing department.

Phoenix Mayor Phil Gordon said the requests by the Sheriff’s Office are “a waste of thousands of taxpayer dollars to go on fishing expeditions that hurt his opponents, including the city of Phoenix, and myself. If it’s a criminal investigation, he should be going to a court for an indictment or a grand jury, which would save everybody the time and effort and get exactly what he wants. Does he really expect the city to search through millions and millions of records to find 20 years worth of documents?”

Arpaio said the investigation “has no connection with our disagreement on illegal immigration whatsoever, and I would hope that Mayor Gordon cooperates with my investigators.”

City officials believe the requests are too broad and plan to ask the Sheriff’s Office to narrow them.

Copyright 2014 The Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten, or redistributed.

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