Scottsdale schools ex-CFO could’ve used a 20% raise, too

May 15, 2018

Laura Smith indicted on 11 felony charges of fraud, conflicts of interest

It looks like there’s big trouble in the future for Laura Smith, Scottsdale Unified School District’s former chief financial officer. She faces 11 felony charges — two involving fraud and nine stemming from conflicts of interest — tied to a consulting company she previously co-owned and ran, according to the Arizona Attorney General’s Office.

A grand jury indicted Laura Smith on May 8. She is accused of facilitating the district’s employment of Professional Group Public Consulting, a Mesa-based company according to Maricopa County Superior Court documents.

Smith co-owned the consulting firm when she was hired as the district’s CFO in early 2017. Her sister, Caroline Brackley, then took over running the company. Smith failed to disclose the relationship and resigned in January after having been put on administrative leave due to an ongoing conflict of interest investigation.

In its well researched report, The Arizona Daily Independent cites the fact that Laura Smith was a member of the Arizona Association of School Business Officials whose Code of Ethics states, in part, that members should, “Avoid conflict of interest situations by not conducting business with a company or firm in which the official or any member of the official’s family has a vested interest.”

Read the 11 count indictment issued by the AZ Attorney General’s Office charging Smith.

With her yen for appropriated cash and Gov. Doug Ducey’s ability to magically produce $ millions out of thin air “without raising taxes,“ it seems there could have been a better deal in the works for this beleaguered school deceiver.

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AG Jeff Sessions: “People are not going to stampede our border”

May 3, 2018

Trump administration “sending a message worldwide”

U.S. Attorney General Jeff Sessions announced Wednesday the Justice Department will send 35 prosecutors and 18 judges to the southern U.S. border to bolster efforts to prosecute foreign nationals entering the U.S. illegally. Some of these illegals have previously been deported and are reentering the U.S.

Among the assistant attorneys dispatched to the border, 15 will be allocated to Texas, eight to California, six to Arizona and six to New Mexico. Immigration judges will be deployed to adjudicate cases in courts along the U.S-Mexico border in parts of the same states.

Eloy and Florence Arizona will each have immigration courts.

“The American people made very clear their desire to secure our borders and prioritize the public safety and national security of our homeland,” Sessions said in this statement. “Promoting and enforcing the rule of law is essential to our republic. By deploying these additional resources to the Southwest border, the Justice Department and the Trump Administration take yet another step in protecting our nation, its borders, and its citizens. It must be clear that there is no right to demand entry without justification.”

Unveiling the measure at the DOJ, Sessions specifically pointed to a caravan of illegals from Central America — notably Honduras, Guatemala and El Salvador — claiming to seek asylum. The caravan, which made its way through Mexico in recent months, was part of the impetus behind the decision to prosecute violators. They made no effort to stay in Mexico, where they speak the same language and have similar customs.

“We are not going to let this country be overwhelmed,” Sessions said. “People are not going caravan or otherwise stampede our border. We need legality and integrity in the system. People should wait their turn, ask to apply lawfully before they enter our country. So we’re sending a message worldwide.”

 In a welcome move, the Trump administration has cracked down on illegal border crossings, with Sessions unveiling charges against 11 caravan members on Monday as they arrived at the Tijuana/San Diego border. Exhibiting their desire to be good citizens, illegals were openly rebelling against the laws of the country they hoped to enter by defiantly scaling the border wall.


Lacey, Larkin homes raided by FBI. Sex site shut down

April 7, 2018

Although the U.S. Attorney’s Office for the District of Arizona has nothing on its website as yet, other sources are replete with information concerning an FBI raid on the Sedona home of former New Times publisher, Michael Lacey, and the Paradise Valley home of Jim Larkin. The duo co-founded Backpage.com.

Sedona Red Rock News carries the report by Christopher Fox Graham detailing that Backpage.com, ranks second behind craigslist for online classified advertising. But its main products aren’t lawnmowers or toaster ovens. Their stock in trade is prostitution and sex trafficking, often involving underage girls. This 2017 report released by a U.S. Senate subcommittee reveals that 73 percent of the child-trafficking reports are knowingly facilitated by Backpage.com.

This is the indictment.  (Click link to open.)

The website has been removed. It has been replaced with a screenshot overlayed with law enforcement insignias and a notice stating: “Backpage.com and affiliated websites have been seized as part of an enforcement action by the Federal Bureau of Investigation, the U.S. Postal Inspection Service, and the Internal Revenue Service Criminal Investigation Division, with analytical assistance from the Joint Regional Intelligence Center.”

Although the Department of Justice said it will issue a press release after the charges are unsealed, CBS News reports that an indictment had been unsealed against seven people allegedly involved in running Backpage, containing 93 criminal counts including money laundering and running a website to facilitate prostitution. The indictment, which was filed in Arizona where Backpage is maintained, reportedly names 17 victims who were trafficked, both adults and children. The site is alleged to have earned more than $500 million in revenue since it was founded in 2004. Law enforcement officials have called it “the world’s top online brothel.”

A year ago, before he departed to work for the hate-mongering Southern Poverty Law Center (SPLC), Stephen Lemons, still writing his “Feathered Bastard” column for the free-of-charge, far left Phoenix New Times, opined that Lacey and Larkin — his former bosses —  were being treated unfairly for “donating to powerless Democrats.” Even a man of Lemons’ low caliber knew there was far more going on, but chose to try imitating Houdini and misdirect our attention.  It didn’t work then. It clearly doesn’t work now.

Focusing on Mike Lacey, co-founder and former owner of Phoenix New Times, Lemons characterized him as “still battling for freedom of speech despite being slimed by Backpage’s foes.”

With this critical thinking, Lemons couldn’t have found a more accommodating place to land than the equally dishonest SPLC.


Supremes give AZ supremely foolish silent treatment

March 20, 2018

Without even trying to rationalize its decision, the U.S. Supreme Court rejected Arizona Attorney General Mark Brnovich’s efforts to uphold a 6-year old executive order issued by then-Gov. Jan Brewer, which denied driver’s licenses to those known as DACA recipients — Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals. Though characterized as children brought to the United States by their illegal alien parents, there is no means of verifying the claims. Those who have signed up for DACA are shielded from deportation, allowed driver’s licenses and given work permits.

They need only affirm they were 16 years of age or younger when they initially entered the United States and are currently 35 years of age or younger. They have to declare that they have been persons of good moral character since initially being brought to the U.S. as children by their parents — illegally. Authenticating how many came as babes in arms or ably propelled themselves over the border last year at age 34 is impossible to substantiate. As we’ve previously pointed out many of these “kids” could actually be grandparents. 

“Our case has always been about more than just driver’s licenses,” Attorney General Brnovich said in a statement. “It’s about the separation of powers and whether the president, any president, can unilaterally act and bypass Congress to create new laws.”

This ongoing legal issue was precipitated by Barack Obama and was stopped dead in its tracks on Monday. Read the May 22, 2017 petition to the Ninth Circuit U.S. Court of Appeals, which begins with the “Question Presented“ and ends with the “Conclusion” which authorized the denial, stating it did “not warrant the Court‘s consideration.”

That is exactly what occurred yesterday at the U.S. Supreme Court.

For the U.S. Supreme Court to remain silent on this crucial issue is shameful.


Traumatized teens marching against guns target wrong culprit

February 20, 2018

Blame and threaten Pres. Trump, NRA rather than gun free zones

Statistics point to the fact that it is guns in the hands of the wrong people — psychotic shooters in gun free zones — who are the actual culprits.

This National Review article,A Look at the Facts on Gun-Free Zones,” was published over two years ago, prior to the carnage perpetrated by an expelled student charged with  killing at least 17 classmates and wounding more than a dozen others at his former high school in Parkland, Florida. The LA Times provides an overview of the shooter.

The nation’s sympathies are with the survivors of the horrific bloodbath and the families of those who were mowed down by the manic assailant, who mysteriously slipped through the hands of law enforcement, though the FBI was pre-warned about him in January. Students, encouraged by anti-Second Amendment activists, have called on their peers around the country to demand action. The National School Walkout on March 14 and the March for Our Lives on March 24 are scheduled. With no understanding of the Second Amendment, they are calling for its repeal as they blame the NRA and President Trump for the actions of a former classmate many described as odd and troubled. That would be analogous to banning cars for highway deaths or bread knives for fatal stabbings.

“We’re marching because it’s not just schools. It’s movie theaters, it’s concerts, it’s nightclubs,” student Alex Wind when appearing on NBC’s “Meet the Press.”

“This kind of stuff can’t just happen. You know, we are marching for our lives, we’re marching for the 17 lives we lost. And we’re marching for our children’s lives and our children’s children and their children.”

“These people who are being funded by the NRA are not going to be allowed to remain in office when midterm elections roll around,” student Emma Gonzalez declared. “They’re going to be voted out of office. Incumbency rates are going to drop.”

Mute when 14 mass shootings occurred during Barack Obama‘s presidency, they obviously have been well coached to blame President Trump. Student David Hogg, called the president “disgusting” for questioning a lack of action by Democrats when they controlled both houses of Congress and the White House.

Ignoring Obama, whose gun-controlled hometown of Chicago rivals a battlefield, Hogg stated, “You are in that exact position right now, and you want to look back on our history and blame the Democrats? That’s disgusting, You’re the President. You’re supposed to bring this nation together, not divide us. How dare you!  Children are dying, and their blood is on your hands because of that. Please take action. Stop going on vacation in Mar-a-Lago. Take action. Work with Congress.”

What they don’t understand is that “gun free zones” are tantamount to issuing an invitation to would-be assassins, alerting them to the fact that there’s no security.

There is no question that our culture has made violence an entertainment staple for decades, from violence in cartoons watched by toddlers to video games favored by preteens and their older siblings, willingly purchased by their obliging parents who slough off the mind numbing effects. Movies and song lyrics contribute to desensitization to violence.

The Second Amendment was placed immediately after the First enshrining freedom of speech for a reason. Our Founders regarded gun ownership as that important.  Not only for hunting, but to provide a means of defense against an over-zealous government.


Suspended lawyer attacks AZ AG in Republic editorial & UPDATE

December 17, 2017

Serial suer has filed hundreds of lawsuits, been suspended by State Bar

The Opinion page at the daily newspaper consists of a one-sided view of events and individuals. There hasn’t been an Op-Ed page in years — one challenging the editorial page rife with leftist spew. At one time the now-failing Arizona Republic occasionally ran syndicated conservative columnists, whose opinion pieces it had to purchase. Now it relies on “My Turn” activists with a grudge to bolster its radical editorial board’s distorted views.

 The irrational headline, “Why does Brnovich hate the disabled,” is a case in point. Brnovich is Arizona’s Attorney General Mark Brnovich. The absurd “hate” charge is leveled by lawyer Peter Strojnik, a legal gadfly who has made a career of filing specious Americans with Disabilities Act lawsuits.  In 2012, Peter Stojnik, was reinstated as a member of the State Bar of Arizona  after being suspended for 30 days.

 The lack of ethics are hereditary. In December 2016, Strojnik’s same named lawyer son was suspended by the State Bar of Arizona for attempting to “publicly shame” a business into settlement. Peter K. Strojnik was suspended for 30 days and ordered to serve a two-year probation period, which included undergoing chemical dependency treatment and  psychological evaluation.

 ABC15 News Investigative reporter Dave Biscobing provides the background on the elder Peter Stojnik’s ongoing legal battles with the Federal Court and Attorney General Mark Brnovich. Hundreds of questionable accessibility lawsuits have been filed against Valley businesses without prior notification.

 The bizarre newspaper article features a boldfaced question below the vulgar headline claiming Brnovich hates the disabled: “Courts have repeatedly slapped down the Arizona attorney general’s efforts to fight the rights of the disabled. Why is he still at it?”

That the Arizona Republic would print this factually incorrect information tells more about the lack of judgment of Phil Boas, the newspaper’s editorial director, than it does about the repeatedly sanctioned, provocateur lawyer who wrote the preposterous article and deals in deceit.

December 19, 2017  UPDATE:

Mea Culpa from Phil Boas

 Boas: We need to set the record straight on ADA-lawsuit guest column

Using the royal “We” Phil Boas, the Arizona Republic’s Editorial Page director admits his mistake in giving credibility to repeatedly sanctioned gadfly lawyer Peter Strojnik.

Strojnik, who makes his living filing hundreds of bogus lawsuits under the guise of the Americans with Disability Act, was provided a platform and despicable headline to slander Arizona Attorney General Mark Brnovich.

The failing newspaper has begun resorting to obviously unvetted My Turn “guest columns” since they cost nothing and  it is in neither a mental mode nor financial position to purchase actual Op-Eds challenging the liberal vantage point of the Hillary endorsing daily, which claimed to be conservative as they made the preposterous recommendation.  Arizonans who still read their spew overwhelmingly rejected the advice. Many cancelled their subscriptions.

It’s not surprising that within just two years of being brought on as president of the Arizona Republic, Mi-Ai Parrish is resigning the post she took to much acclaim — irrationally based on her ethnic minority status.  What more appropriate spot to move on to than the Walter Cronkite School of Journalism at ASU where students who should value the First Amendment, shut down the free speech of invited guest, then-Maricopa County sheriff Joe Arpaio, by rudely singing over him at the mistakenly named First Amendment Forum, until it was shut down.

 


Jeff Flake’s son, ex-wife lose: Jury decides in favor of Arpaio & taxpayers

December 16, 2017

During a federal civil court trial in which Austin Flake and his now-ex wife Logan Brown were suing the taxpayers of Maricopa County for $8 million in a malicious prosecution case, their attempts to play on the sympathies of the jurors fell flat with Thursday’s verdict.

 The duo were the caretakers for nearly two dozen dogs who died excruciating heat related deaths at a Gilbert kennel owned by Brown’s vacationing parents. They claimed former Maricopa County Sheriff Joe Arpaio brought charges against them in order to embarrass Flake’s father, Sen. Jeff Flake — so out of step with Arizona Republicans, he does a fine job of discrediting himself without any outside assist. Papa Flake’s polling numbers sunk so low that he has opted not to seek reelection. After writing a 140-page anti-Trump diatribe masquerading as a book and with a title stolen from Barry Goldwater‘s iconic, “Conscience of a Conservative,” he was unable to resuscitate his career. Arizona is not the place to deride Pres. Trump. He won Arizona’s GOP primary by more than 20 percentage points before carrying the state in the general election. Among the president’s most ardent supporters, the feeling of betrayal is particularly intense.

After a six-day trial, the jury was unmoved by Flake and Brown’s claims of fear, distrust of the criminal justice system and depression requiring therapy and medication, resulting in “bickering” that ended their marriage. Austin Flake testified that he was forced to quit BYU until the matter was resolved — and gasp! — he had to get a job. Jurors refused to award them damages in the animal cruelty case that riveted Valley residents in 2014. The shocking account revolved around the boarded dogs being locked in a small utility room, without food, water or cooling in the scorching summer heat. After initially alleging the dogs bit through the electrical wires, they later claimed the air-conditioning unit malfunctioned. A Maricopa County Grand Jury indicted the Flake’s and Logan’s parents Todd and MaLeisa Hughes.

After the divorce, whiney Austin testified he got a dog for emotional support. Had he won, the millions of dollars the twosome originally claimed they deserved, the greenbacks would not have licked his face, but would likely have calmed him considerably.

Deputies from the Maricopa County Sheriff’s Office found dead dogs piled like cordwood in a nearby shed after the couple’s crude attempts to revive the still dying pets with a garden hose failed.  Austin and Logan admitted they never called a veterinarian, when they first saw the horrific condition of the family pets left in what their owners believed was optimum care.

Seeing Red AZ wrote numerous accounts of the then-ongoing saga that took unexpected twists and turns, exemplified by Logan’s mother and stepfather who were not even in the state at the time of the atrocity serving 23 days jail time. This single post provides a broad overview.