Grand Jury reinstates charges in dog deaths: Flakes excluded

May 7, 2015

Did prosecutor present sculpted facts to new Grand Jury omitting the actual responsible parties?

Hear that prolonged “phew” resonating across the Valley? That’s Maricopa County Attorney Bill Montgomery breathing a deep sigh of relief after a County Grand Jury reinstated animal cruelty charges against the owners of Green Acre Dog Boarding in Gilbert in connection with the agonizing heat related suffocation deaths of nearly two dozen dogs that occurred during the searing summer heat of June 2014.

Todd Hughes, 32, and MaLeisa Hughes, 45, owners of the kennel each face 21 Class 6 felony counts and 7 Class 1 misdemeanor counts of cruelty to animals. Both also face one Class 2 felony count of fraudulent schemes and artifices.

The couple was vacationing in Florida when the deaths occurred last June. They are the expendable mother and stepfather of Logan Flake —- wife of Sen. Jeff Flake’s son Austin —- who were actually in charge of the facility when the dogs were crammed into a small laundry room overnight without air-conditioning, food or water.

Charging the Flakes is what gave Montgomery heartburn. So just before Christmas 2014, when he thought few were paying attention, Montgomery dismissed all felony and misdemeanor charges against Jeff Flake’s son and daughter-in-law. A single fraud charge remained against Todd and MaLeisa Hughes.

It was clear from the June 20 onset, when the dead and dying dogs were found, Bill Montgomery was loath to touch this case. He dillied and dallied, even after Sheriff Joe Arpaio’s extensive three-month examination of facts which included veterinarian performed necropsies. The sheriff’s office recommended numerous felony charges of animal neglect and cruelty in connection with the horrific abuse of the pets. The dogs suffered excruciating pain before dying. When the Flakes found them the next morning, they neglected to even call a veterinarian to aid the not yet dead pets, which they callously hosed down in a vain attempt to cool them. The dead dogs were carted off to a shed where they were stacked like cordwood.

As we noted last September in the post, “Bill Montgomery: Between a Flake and a hard place,” the politically ambitious Montgomery, who endorsed Jeff Flake in his senate race, has career aspirations that are rumored to include the state’s second senate seat, when McCain finally moves on. Obviously how he chose to handle this widely scrutinized case could have had devastating consequences for his ambitions.

This is the latest news release announcing the reinstatement of charges against the Hugheses.  Notice the tempered wording of this May 6 announcement as Montgomery refers to the dead pets as “beloved animals.”  Previously at a Sept. 10, 2014  press conference Montgomery exhibited raw insensitivity to the grieving pet owners as he provided insight 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.”

Without the weight of an indictment, Austin and Logan Flake have moved on. Now that Montgomery has dropped all felony charges against them, they’re suing Maricopa County and Sheriff Joe Arpaio, seeking $8 million to resurrect their formerly pristine reputations, claiming they were targeted by the Sheriff’s office and their sterling characters were ruined by this investigation. 

Maricopa County taxpayers should prepare to dig deep for this legal escapade by two marginal Flakes. Since the lawsuit against the county specifically names Sheriff Arpaio, the daily fish wrap will serve as lead cheerleader as these lightweights attempt to get rich on our backs and the carcasses of the dogs they allowed to suffer and die.

This post, “Bill Montgomery sets Flakes loose on county taxpayers” includes additional background.


Bill Montgomery sets Flakes loose on county taxpayers

February 21, 2015

Imagine you’re Maricopa County Attorney Bill Montgomery. Com’on, you can do it.  You’re full of political vim and aspiration and like a good establishment soldier dutifully await a greater opportunity. The U.S. Senate sounds good. But dang! That old goat McCain is making noises about running again. He’ll be 79 in August and a six-year term would place him at a gnarly 85. Not only will the youthful glow also be off Montgomery’s rose, but playing well with that Flake family is not bringing the hoped for returns.

Rather than repeat the gruesome facts of the case involving Sen. Jeff Flake’s son Austin and daughter-in-law Logan along with her parents Todd and MaLeisa Hughes, and its potential to derail Montgomery‘s ambition, read Bill Montgomery, dead dogs & the Flakes: We got it right the first time.

Now that Montgomery has dropped all felony charges against Austin and Logan they’re suing Maricopa County and Sheriff Joe Arpaio, seeking $8 million to resurrect their formerly pristine reputations, claiming they were targeted by the Sheriff’s office and their characters were ruined by this investigation. 

“The Sheriff has a long history of bringing cases for publicity.  This case to him had everything.  It had publicity, it had a politician’s son, it had pets and the one thing it didn’t have was probable cause,” claimed lawyer Jack Wilenchik. His law partner father Dennis Wilenchik, previously represented Arpaio and cozily lists the “Maricopa County Attorney” as a client.

The Wilenchik’s, publicity seekers extraordinaire, were singing a different tune —- “Vamos Jose!” (Let’s Go, Joe!) —- with Sheriff Joe Arpaio in happier times, as they interviewed him about the “latest county news” on their podcast radio show.

Maricopa County Sheriff Joe Arpaio, a champion of animals, who has had an Animal Crimes Investigations Unit as part of his office for over a decade forwarded twenty-one charges of animal neglect and cruelty to Montgomery, recommending numerous felony charges of animal neglect and cruelty in connection with horrific abuse resulting in the deaths of nearly two dozen family pets.

On Oct. 15, a Maricopa County Grand Jury indicted both couples. At the time, Montgomery solemnly stated, “Today’s indictment is the result of a thorough review of the extensive investigation into this incident and a decision to seek charges based on objective facts. We now look forward to the next step in seeing that justice is served in this case,” he said. But God knows he wanted the hot potato to go away.

If these marginal Flakes are successful in their outrageous lawsuit, Maricopa County taxpayers will be the ones paying out millions, and that includes the families who lost their beloved pets to the Flake’s obscene neglect.

It was clear from the June 20 onset, when the dead and dying family pets were found, Bill Montgomery was loath to touch this case.  He finally dropped it Dec. 22, 2014.

Background on this case can be read in these links:

Dec. 24, 2014:  Bill Montgomery, dead dogs & the Flakes: We got it right the first time

Dec. 13, 2014: Flake kin beg for cash to aid in dead dog defense

Nov. 14, 2014: Austin, Logan Flake plead not guilty in dog deaths

Oct. 16, 2014: Indicted! Austin & Logan Flake, Todd & MaLeisa Hughes

Oct. 13, 2014: Bill Montgomery: Focus of daily’s sarcastic jab remains inert

Sept. 29, 2014: Still awaiting Montgomery’s Flake decision

Sept. 19, 2014: Bill Montgomery: Between a Flake and a hard place

July 17, 2014: 21 dead dogs inconsequential as Flake connection gets cover-up

June 27, 2014: AZ Republic uses dead dogs to bash Arpaio, give pass to Flake & Update


Bill Montgomery slams victims of Flake’s deadly negligence

January 15, 2015

Nearly two dozen dead dogs — and now their owners —- kicked to the curb by ambitious Maricopa County Attorney

In an obviously benevolent mood just days before Christmas, Maricopa County Attorney Bill Montgomery dismissed charges of animal cruelty against the caretakers at Green Acre Boarding Facility. It was in the unrelenting swelter of late June when twenty-three dogs suffered horrific, heat-related suffocation deaths at the kennel. The dogs were crammed in a small laundry room overnight without air conditioning, food or water.

Montgomery’s December media release was awash with legal double talk as he struggled to defend the indefensible.

Fast forward to last week when Montgomery, the suddenly publicity-shy county attorney cancelled his scheduled meeting with representatives of the larger group of pet owners and their attorney, John Schill —- reportedly due to media hype surrounding the meeting. Montgomery’s office has yet to release a statement on the abrupt cancellation. The owners were expecting to meet with him to discuss his decision to dismiss the animal cruelty charges against the owners and caretakers of the boarding facility.

But don’t mistake his reticence. It was merely the calm before the storm that he exhibited in a press conference in which he snarled at the families who lost their beloved dogs.

“This is just an effort to further their civil suit and identify deep pockets. I’m not going to contribute to that kind of hysteria,” Montgomery huffed. “They’re parading children in front of cameras with framed pictures of their pets, I don’t see that in gruesome criminal cases.” He added, “If my goal was to pander to a particular group of people, or pander to a particular group of victims, it would be very easy to sit back and let a court tell us what to do,” said Montgomery. 

He was no doubt referring to the October 15, 2014 indictment handed down by a Maricopa County Grand Jury.

Keep in mind these were not just run-of-the-mill defendants. Austin and Logan Flake, the son and daughter-in-law of U.S. Sen. Jeff Flake, were each originally charged with 21 felony counts and 7 misdemeanor counts of cruelty to animals —- now all dropped. Only a single count of fraud remains against Todd and MaLeisa Hughes, Logan Flake‘s parents. The Hughes were vacationing and left the incompetent Flake’s in charge of their home-based pet boarding business.

The politically ambitious Bill Montgomery is cunning but still exhibited raw insensitivity to the grieving pet owners as he provided insight as to his bent during a Sept. 10 press conference. “This isn’t to cheapen or minimize the loss of the pets to the families,” Montgomery said at the time. “But we’re not talking about the deaths of 23 children.”

In September we prophetically posted “Bill Montgomery: Between a Flake and a hard place.”  We were right then.

We were correct again when, for the first time since the June 2007 launch of Seeing Red AZ we were moved to use the term, “what a load of horse pucky,” in “Bill Montgomery, dead dogs & the Flakes: We got it right the first time.” In that post we pointed out the negative impact bringing this case to trial would have on Montgomery’s lofty political aspirations. He will deflect and obfuscate, but don’t expect integrity.


AZ Federal judge protects illegals using stolen ID

January 7, 2015

Judicial overreaches reach new low

In a news article in which the headline is nearly as large as the report itself, the Periódico de la República de Arizona (Arizona Republic) enthusiastically treats readers to the latest in outrageous judicial actions. The report states, U.S. District Court Judge David Campbell “issued a preliminary injunction blocking Maricopa County Sheriff Joe Arpaio and Maricopa County Attorney Bill Montgomery from enforcing two state laws that make it a felony for undocumented immigrants to use stolen identities to obtain work.”

Gnaw on that bit of preposterousness.  According to a federal judge illegal aliens have as much right to your identity as you do —- and neither law enforcement nor prosecutors are able to take legal action against the thieves. Children are viewed as especially attractive targets since their stolen identities usually go undetected for years.

Previously, when found, arrested and turned over to federal immigration officials, the identity thieves were deported. But, alas, those pesky felony convictions hindered their chances of returning to the U.S. legally. Now using legal contrivances reminiscent of George Orwell’s “1984” Newspeak, a federal judge rules that disallowing criminals free access to our county and the personal identity of American citizens is repressive.

Under court imposed pressure, Arpaio has announced plans to disband his work-site enforcement unit within the next two months, following completion of an ongoing investigation.

Campbell said the state laws that criminalize the act of identify theft for the purpose of obtaining employment are likely unconstitutional because they are preempted by federal law.

Jack MacIntyre, a lawyer and deputy chief with the Maricopa County Sheriff’s Office, correctly noted the ruling is “a little bit of an exercise in futility if you eliminate and declare a state law unconstitutional because of federal preemption with a wink and a nod to the reality that the federal government shows no interest in enforcing that area of immigration law.”

The Maricopa County Attorney’s Office is reviewing an appeal of the preliminary injunction.  Bill Montgomery said the ruling “underscores yet again the consequences of federal inaction and the Obama administration’s indifference to the effects of unlawful immigration practices. While pretending to address the concerns of people admittedly violating the law, the victims of identity theft are deprived of the state of Arizona’s protection.”

As expected, left-wing organizations including the ACLU and Hispanic advocacy groups, praised the contemptible ruling.


Surprising new AZ GOP slate announced at EGC

December 5, 2014

The Executive Guidance Committee of the Maricopa County Republican Committee (EGC) met for its usual first Thursday of the month meeting last night at the state Republican headquarters, 3501 N. 24th St., Phoenix.  A surprise announcement was the formation of a new slate for the party’s state officers:

AZ GOP chairman:  Lori Marsh Urban

1st Vice Chairman: A. J. LaFaro

2nd Vice Chairman: Gabriela Saucedo Mercer

Secretary: Lynne Bryer

Current AZ GOP chairman Robert Graham, who is waging an intense campaign for reelection, was not in attendance. Also MIA was Vernon Parker, the only newly elected Legislative District Chairman out of 20 Maricopa County districts who didn’t bother to show up.

The State Republican Organizational Meeting is January 24, 2015.


Maricopa County GOP Chairman A.J. LaFaro’s letter

November 7, 2014

In this open letter* to Arizona Republicans, Maricopa County Republican Committee (MCRC) Chairman A.J. LaFaro announces his intention not to seek reelection to the post he has ably held for the past two years.  His strong, conservative leadership skills will be missed

AJLaFaro_letter_to_Republicans

*Click letter to enlarge


Dem PC shows ethical road to wayward GOP PCs

October 30, 2014

The Arizona Daily Independent reports on the actions of the ethically challenged elected Republican Precinct Committeemen who misuse their offices, publicly making cross party endorsements.

Always dedicated to the far-left position irrespective of the specified duties of precinct committeeman, an Arizona Republic editorial mischaracterizes the actions of Maricopa County Republican chairman A.J.. LaFaro as ‘stifling dissent.” The Republican-loathing newspaper hypocritically advises LaFaro to “take heed from national party stalwart Haley Barbour, who warned his team earlier this year that enforcing ideological purity “is the enemy of victory.”

It’s no surprise the Republic would swoon over Barbour, who long ago lost his creds with conservatives.

Mark Stegeman, the Democrat described in the Daily Independent report, stepped down from his post, honoring his party’s bylaw relating to the role of precinct committeemen. He demonstrated integrity.

Squish Republican Grant Woods and his cohorts, who lost their voting privileges, could learn a thing or two from the example set by Tucson Unified School District Governing Board member Stegeman.

Chairman LaFaro’s comments can be read in the Sept. 25, 2014  issue of Maricopa County Republican Briefs. Scroll down to “Message From MCRC Chairman A.J. LaFaro: Republicans Indorsing Non-Republicans.”

Read Article VI, Section 5, Sub-section, B, Page 18. which clearly statesNo member of the Maricopa County Republican Committee shall lend an endorsement to a non-Republican candidate in any election. Should a MCRC member endorse a non-Republican, that MCRC member will lose his voting privileges, including proxies, for the rest of his term.

 Those who run for this office, do so to represent the Republican Party and work to elect Republican candidates.

The concept is a simple one. If you care enough to be involved in the political process to run for precinct committeeman, it should be to assist rather than attack, candidates of your own party. 


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