Bill Montgomery: Between a Flake and a hard place

Career aspirations of political animal run headlong into the carcasses of dead pets causing prosecutor to act like a public defender

So what do you do when you’re the chief prosecutor in the most populous county in Arizona and the country’s most renown and fearless sheriff sends you felony recommendations following a completed investigation?

Maricopa County Sheriff Joe Arpaio did just that recently, forwarding twenty-one charges of animal neglect and cruelty to Maricopa County Attorney Bill Montgomery. The recommendation of charges came after an arduous and professional three-month investigation related to the heinous deaths of dogs supposedly being cared for at a Gilbert kennel bearing the menacingly funereal name Green Acre.  Arpaio, a champion of animals, has had an Animal Crimes Investigations Unit as part of his office for over a decade.

Todd and MaLeisa Hughes, the owners of the kennel, were vacationing in Florida, leaving the  dogs in the care of their daughter Logan and her husband Austin. When they returned, Todd Hughes initially told the pet owners their dogs had all run away.  Later they claimed the deaths of nearly two dozen dogs were the result of an accident when a dog chewed through an air-conditioning electrical cord, disabling the unit. The dogs died an agonizing death, suffocating in the small utility room in which they were crammed together on a searingly hot June day. The dead dogs were then carted out to a storage shed where they were callously dumped.

The veterinarian who performed necropsies on some of the dogs indicated suffocation was the likely cause of death. 

Austin Flake is the son of Arizona Senator Jeff Flake. And this is where things begin to get dicey.

Montgomery has career aspirations that are rumored to include the state’s second senate seat, when McCain finally moves on. Obviously how he chooses to handle this widely scrutinized case could have devastating consequences for his ambitions.

At a recent press conference in which he exhibited raw insensitivity to the grieving pet owners, Montgomery gave more than a few clues (video) as to his bent. “This isn’t to cheapen or minimize the loss of the pets to the families,” Montgomery said. “But we’re not talking about the deaths of 23 children.” 

Oddly, Montgomery used the occasion to slam his predecessor‘s administration, and repeatedly said there are no assurances of convictions, becoming a broken record stating the office standard of a “reasonable likelihood of conviction.”

The harshest punishment Austin and Logan Flake might receive is the inability to ever own an animal in Maricopa County. No joke. The Maricopa County Attorney actually noted that as a potential penalty.

Okay. We get it. When the prosecutor sounds more like a public defender, expressing concerns over what the “impact to someone’s life in the future” might be after being charged with a felony, it becomes all too clear that Montgomery sees his own future looming before him. If it crashes or soars could well depend on 21 dead pups and a couple of rabbits.

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22 Responses to Bill Montgomery: Between a Flake and a hard place

  1. azgary says:

    why should miniflake be held responsible, and why do you care?

    republican politicians in this state repeatedly do worse things to the people of the state and the nation yet they get endorsed for reelection when you know full well they will be doing even worse harm.

    hey, it could be worse, instead of miniflake running a kennel it could be a democrat. so we must protect miniflake at all costs, as the lesser of two evils and keep him the keeper of canines.

    • Gigi says:

      why should miniflake be held responsible, and why do you care?
      here’s your answer JERK… errr AZGARY…. because laws were broken and people are passionate about their animals and consider them as family, not as posessions as they are conmsidered under the law. That said, a whopping twentythree beloved pets died in a room together under the care of Austin and Logan Flake. The way the dogs died is a felony. Everyone should care. EVERYONE SHOULD CARE!! What the hell is the matter with YOU???

  2. Ellsworth says:

    And now the dog owners are fighting back with civil lawsuits against the owners and the Flakes. Since Bill Montgomery is unlikely to ruin his own career over these dead dogs, I hope the pet owners win big! Of course collecting is another story…..

    http://www.azcentral.com/story/news/local/gilbert/2014/09/18/dog-owners-lash-green-acre-boarding-owners-caretakers-civil-suit/15867513/

  3. LD 23 PC says:

    I watched that awful press release video and heard Montgomery’s response when one of the reporters asked him about the high level of public distress over the actions that resulted in the deaths of these pets. He gave it all away when he said, “This is not a version of ’America’s Got Talent.’ You can’t call in and vote for a charge. It won’t work that way.” Then he beat up on Andy Thomas as though he had something to do with this.
    Sheriff Arpaio, obviously the professional here, and not beholden to Jeff McFlake, was quoted as saying “The key issue here is failure to provide food, water and shelter. That’s what we’re basing the felony charges on.”

  4. Kent says:

    The cases are different, but the results of their acts are dead dogs. NFL Pro quarterback Michael Vick was sentenced to 23 months in prison for his part in running a dog fighting ring, killing under performing animals and lying about it. Austin Flake and his wife were in charge of those family pets while his in-laws were away. Their crimes were equally horrible, dogs died and they all lied about them. Of course they deserve to be held accountable.

    BTW, what were Austin and Logan Flake doing during the lengthy time it took the dogs to suffer and die? I’ve never heard. Were they even on the property where they should have been?

    • Nollisa Miller says:

      Kent…..just to correct your otherwise well written comment….
      Vick served NO jail time for fighting/murdering any of the Dogs housed at either of his Fight Training Kennels. His Federal Felony charges (& time served) were for ‘Managing a Gambling Operation’ & ‘Conspiracy’.

      Michael Vick pled guilty to State charges of dog fighting on November 25, 2008 and received a three-year suspended sentence and was ordered to pay restitution of $3,636.97.

      As for where the Flakes were while 23 dogs suffocated in a small room?? Only they know for sure, but I do recall a radio interview with MaLiar where she, while back-stepping the interviewers question, said; “when they got there at 5:30 that morning, that’s when they saw the dead dogs & started trying to save the ones that were still alive.” It’s a KTAR radio interview that aired within a week of the killings. It was actually listed as a ‘Part 2’ though almost every word was exactly as they were in ‘Part 1′.

      It’s my theory that the Flakes were with the Hughes’ younger children in a posh Hotel for at least 2 days prior to those dogs suffocated in that room.
      The neighbors have reported that they saw NO dogs & heard NO barking to indicate that there were any more animals on that property 3-4 days prior to the finding of the dead dogs, that what lived on the property.

  5. Kathryn Kobor says:

    This case must be prosecuted. It would be an abomination and a total failure with regard to our beloved animals if nothing is done.
    We must always stand for those who have no voice. We must stand for what is humane and what represents our humanity.

  6. goodyearconservative says:

    This is why I like Joe Arpaio, he does not let his political ambitions intertwine with justice. I find cowardly that McMontgomery was willing to bring Tom Horne’s career to the dust just to help a McCain crony yet he does not have the guts to do something that could bring Jeff McFlake’s chances of running for another senate term.

    Let’s pray that Montgomery does not sell his soul to the McEstablishment and press those felony charges again Logan and Austin Flake. Those pet owners consider those dogs like a family member for Pete’s sake.

  7. Army Of One says:

    Bill Montgomery has issued warnings about leaving pets unattended in hot cars. How about jammed into a small room in the middle of summer with no air conditioning? Regardless of his protestations to the contrary, it looks as if his ultimate decision in this horrible case of wanton animal abuse will depend on the last name of the perpetrators.

    I’m betting the Flake’s walk. since Montgomery wants so badly to run.

  8. jojo says:

    Seems the whole family fits the name.

  9. MacBeth says:

    Here’s the scenario as I see it. I agree, Montgomery wants the senate seat.

    Although Joe Arpaio campaigned for him and helped him raise money to win the seat he now holds, Montgomery views him as a has-been, while he’s on his way up. That’s why Montgomery glibly eviscerated Joe as he begged Don Stapley for the appointment to the County Attorney’s post (Stapley’s such an upright guy to pimp yourself to!!) Stapley, as much as a lowlife as Montgomery, one-upped him and secretly ran a tape recorder of their conversation. While on that fool’s mission to get an appointment that would never happen, he took the opportunity to knock Arpaio, telling Stapley that talking with the sheriff was like visiting in an Alzheimer’s ward. Classy guy, that Montgomery!
    The Phoenix New Times has the entire tape, which is a revealing look at Montgomery. His “in confidence” conversation is at the bottom of this link.
    http://blogs.phoenixnewtimes.com/valleyfever/2010/04/bill_montgomery_arpaio-backed.php

    The upshot is that regardless of what Arpaio has done to assist Montgomery, he’s a throw away to the oily Montgomery now. His eyes are on a much bigger prize than being County Attorney, and he has no concern about throwing anyone under the bus on his way to the top. Trust this guy at your own peril.

    His new best friends are Jon Kyl, John McCain and Jeff Flake. Given that pack of pals, it’s a sure bet he won’t alienate junior senator Flake by charging his son, wife and her parents with a crime. It will NEVER happen.

  10. Arizona Conservative Guy says:

    I’ve come to the same conclusion regarding Bill Montgomery. His wild ambition is evidenced in his about face on illegal immigration and his joining with Jon Kyl and lobbyist Steve Twist in the recruitment of yet another lobbyist, Brewer’s gambling overseer Mark Brnovich for Attorney General. Montgomery has aped his McMentors by indiscriminately handing out endorsements that he will call back in when he runs. I’m suspicious of any incumbent or candidate claiming to be a conservative who has readily taken his “gift.” Brnovich hasn’t seen the inside of a courtroom in years and will lose to the Dem, and for that we can thank all of these establishment types.

    IAs to the Flake/dog deaths….there is no question there will be no charges in that case. I also watched Montgomery’s press conference. He said as much there. His ambition leaves no room for integrity.

  11. azgary says:

    off topic, but more efforts of the gop/rnc to take away the voice of the voter:
    “Possible rules change by House GOP could punish Boehner’s enemies”

    ““There’s a real concern that there’s between 30 and 40 people that would vote against the speaker on the House floor, so they’re trying to change the conference rules to make sure that doesn’t happen,” said a GOP member familiar with the proposal.”
    http://hotair.com/headlines/archives/2014/09/20/possible-rules-change-could-punish-boehner-dissidents/

    and republicans will cheer. the party disgusts me more everyday.

    as an example, at the very state meeting where we gathered signatures to censure McCain, bruce ash stood up and spoke of how az was going to have to make its presidential primary vote much later (taking away ANY power we have as a state during the nomination process and giving it to establishment states) or be punished, and also announcing how wonderful it was that he put together the republican amnesty surrender, the drones in the audience applauded wildly.

    is there any wonder they know they can screw us and we go along like trained monkeys, repeating the mantra ” we must vote for the (R) next to the name on a ballot or it will be worse”

    it cannot get worse.

  12. jojo says:

    It can and will get worse. Republicans are unteachable.

  13. GOP PC says:

    Expect no action, but lots of smooth talk, from the sly Bill Montgomery. The Flake’s will be exonerated over this “accident.” Montgomery has no intention of jeopardizing his political future over a few dead dogs.

  14. Sherrie Beth says:

    If AZ is dumb enough to vote for him, you’re going to get exactly what you deserve.

  15. Gigi says:

    Go figure. All those ambitious Republican morons up in Phoenix. Phoenix=Politics as usual. Flake is gonna walk and Im pissed