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Officials criticize $99M repayment plan for Arpaio

Maricopa, Ariz.  Sheriff Joe Arpaio prepares to speak to a crowd in the East Room on the grounds of the Nixon Presidential Library & Museum in Yorba Linda, Calif. on Tuesday, Feb. 8, 2011.  (AP Photo/The Orange County Register , Kevin Sullivan)

Sheriff Joe Arpaio (AP Photo/The Orange County Register , Kevin Sullivan)

County officials leveled tough criticism Monday at a proposal specifying how Maricopa County would pay back $99 million that budget analysts say was inappropriately spent by Sheriff Joe Arpaio’s office.

Three of the five Maricopa County supervisors said they’d like to see alternatives rather than sign off on a proposal that would use a combination of county funds for repayment.

“To the average taxpayer of Maricopa County, this way of doing it appears that we are just trying to cover up a really serious problem,” Supervisor Don Stapley said.

No alternative plan was proposed Monday. County officials hadn’t yet voted on the plan by mid-afternoon Monday.

The $99 million spent by Arpaio’s office came from restricted jail funds and was used to pay for other operations, such as some costs for immigration patrols and unsuccessful criminal investigations against county officials. Nearly $85 million came from a sales tax dedicated to running jails. Another $14 million came from a fund for inmates to buy household items and make phone calls.

The county’s findings have been sent to prosecutors who were already investigating Arpaio on abuse of power allegations. Arpaio’s office said the $99 million figure is accurate, but that there was nothing criminal about the mistake that it blames on an outdated payroll system.

Under the repayment proposal, $73 million would have been paid back through a surplus of funds that the county contributed over several years to a detention fund. The county would pay the remainder and repay itself by tapping several unrestricted funds for the sheriff’s office.

Arpaio, who didn’t attend a budget hearing Monday where the repayment was discussed, expressed disappointment in the criticism the measure was facing.

“This could have been settled today,” Arpaio said.

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 This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten, or redistributed.

4 comments

  1. Again, Joe Arpaio did not have enough “manhood” to face the Board of Supervisors or the public. Calling the misappropriation (read – embezzlement/theft by false pretenses) a payroll problem is like calling a tornado a breeze. Let’s face it, Arpaio has never been known to “undersell” anything.

    “Because of a computer problem in the last eight years, we were using some of the money from the jail for our patrol, but taxpayers were still getting their money’s worth,” Arpaio told KGUN9 News. Eight years and no one noticed — come on Joe how can we believe this? Oh yeah, you didn’t know about Hendershott, either.

    “This job is exciting for one reason only – that I’m elected, that I have the freedom to speak out, that I have the freedom to talk to you,” Arpaio said. “I report to only the 4 million people who live in this county. I don’t report to any media, bureaucrat, governor or politician. I report to the people, which makes this the best job I’ve ever had.” Well if this was true he would have responded “to the people” who want accountability for the 99.5 MILLION DOLLAR “error”.

    Joe Arpaio has outlived his usefulness. He has cost the county over 50 million dollars in lawsuits, and then 99.5 million misused monies of the people. Immigration, abuse of power, and Hendershott besides; hasn’t he cost us enough?

    Sheriff Arpaio, be a man —- be a leader (for once) —-RESIGN!

  2. Sheriff Joke… a legend in his own mind.

  3. The citizens of Maricopa County need to hold Sheriff Arpaio. Susan said it best, hasn’t he cost us enough? I think he should be recalled if he doesn’t resign. I can only hope that the citizens will be stronger next election and take the Sheriff out of office, he is a criminal and should be charged like one!!

  4. In any other business, in any other down, Arpaio would be fired. Why are the County Supervisors letting this go.

    Why do we, the taxpayers, have to pay for his MISTAKES and MISUSES? We already paid the extra tax for the jail improvements and now we’re paying for them again. I don’t like paying taxes once much less twice for the same thing.

    Joe Arpaio is, if not a CROOK, a very poor manager; he needs to go.

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