A Maricopa County supervisor has sued the county, claiming he was wrongfully targeted for criminal investigations and lawsuits without merit by Sheriff Joe Arpaio and former County Attorney Andrew Thomas.
Don Stapley joins five former and present Superior Court judges and county officials who also have sued, claiming Arpaio and Thomas wrongfully targeted them to retaliate for court rulings and budget cuts.
Among the allegations in Stapley’s lawsuit filed last week in Superior Court are claims of false and wrongful arrest, malicious prosecution, defamation, gross negligence and violations of civil rights.
The other suits were filed by Judge Gary Donahoe; former judges Barbara Mundell and Anna Baca; Deputy County Manager Sandi Wilson; and Susan Schuerman, executive assistant to Stapley.
Stapley’s suit seeks unspecified punitive and other damages plus attorneys’ fees and also asks that the case go to trial.
Calls to Arpaio and Thomas seeking comment on the suit were not immediately Tuesday.
Stapley and his wife previously filed a claim against the county, saying they would settle their case for $10 million. Stapley now claims his legal fees have cost nearly $1.6 million, the Arizona Republic reported Tuesday.
Arpaio, Thomas and their employees are under federal grand jury investigation involving allegations that they abused the powers of their offices.
Thomas, Lisa Aubuchon, a former prosecutor in Thomas’ office, and the sheriff’s office have denied any wrongdoing.
In November 2008, a grand jury indicted Stapley on 118 counts related to his personal financial-disclosure forms. In August 2009, a judge dismissed many of the counts, and prosecutors later dismissed the rest in mid-September.
Stapley was indicted in December 2009 on 22 felony charges including theft, fraud, perjury and forgery — all largely related to his fundraising efforts for the National Association of Counties.
Thomas filed a motion to dismiss the Stapley allegations because of legal problems.