Legal Ethics

Questions Asked About Source of Funds Used by Maricopa County Attorney's Office to Pay 4 Law Firms

A new issue has been raised in the aftermath of a hard-fought political battle between the former Maricopa, Ariz., county attorney Andrew Thomas and the county’s board of supervisors.

Some $127,000 in funds seized as a result of criminal investigations were used to pay law firms representing the county attorney’s office and the sheriff’s office, when the office was still under Thomas’ direction, the Arizona Republic reported.

The money was earmarked to be spent to combat racketeering crimes, the newspaper says.

Thomas didn’t respond to the newspaper’s request for comment. However, his ex-chief deputy, Phil MacDonnell, said the county attorney’s office did what it had to do to deal with budget cuts. “The board was trying to starve us to death, so I was using the funds I could to keep us alive,” he explained.

Most of the $127,000 went to four law firms, the Republic says: Calderón Law Offices; Hinshaw & Culbertson; Ogletree Deakins Nash Smoak and Stewart; and Wilenchik & Bartness.

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