Emails Reveal Complete Contempt For Public By Pima County Officials

Pima County Facebook photo

Emails reveal that the Pima County Communications Department was busy just prior to the ruling by Pima County Superior Court Judge Catherine Woods in the Goldwater Institute’s lawsuit involving World View Enterprises. Crack Communication Director Mark Evans anticipated every possible scenario as he crafted attacks on taxpayers and Goldwater.

On August 22, Woods ruled against the County’s motion to dismiss the case brought by Goldwater over a multi-million-dollar sweetheart deal it made with the tourism balloon company. Woods had previously denied three of the County’s four requests to dismiss the case.

In its suit, Goldwater alleged that the deal violated Arizona’s Gift Clause and violated procurement laws when the County entered into secret negotiations for a no bid contract. In the deal, the County agreed to and has begun building the company its 120,000-square-foot headquarters.

The County’s effort to hide the deal from the public before the supervisors rubber-stamped it, clearly showed that officials knew it would meet with opposition. Once the deal became public, County spinmeisters did all they could though local media outlets to demonize the deal’s biggest opponent, Supervisor Ally Miller, and the plaintiffs in the case.

That PR approach did not stop even after Wood’s first ruling. Emails between Chuck Huckelberry and Evans, and eventually Supervisor Sharon Bronson show that the crew was ready to double down:

From: Maura Kwiatkowski
To: Sharon Bronson
Cc: Kiki Navarro
Subject: FW: CHH and SB quotes for WV PR
Date: Monday, August 22, 2016 1:51:26 PM

Hello, Sharon.
Can you please read the quotes below for you (given various possible scenarios) and let me know if you are okay with these? Thanks.

From: Mark Evans <mark.b.evans@pima.gov>
Date: Friday, August 19, 2016 at 6:37 PM
To: Chuck Huckelberry <Chuck.Huckelberry@pima.gov>, Jan Lesher <Jan.Lesher@pima.gov>
Subject: FW: Comm plan for World View suit Monday

For your review in advance of Monday’s hearing.
We can amend them for specifics once we have the ruling.
ME

Mark B. Evans

Quotes for approval:

1. Statement from Chuck if Woods rejects our petition and lets the case proceed as filed.

“We remain confident that after all the evidence has been presented it will be apparent that Pima County acted fully under the authority of state law and within the discretion of the Board of Supervisors. These allegations, hurled at Pima County from afar by a political activist group, will be exposed as little more than an ideologically motivated campaign to damage Pima County’s efforts to grow our economy and bring good-paying jobs to our community.” [emphasis added]
-Pima County Administrator Chuck Huckelberry

2. Quotes from Chuck and Sharon for split the baby – judge dismisses some, lets others proceed.

“While I’m disappointed Judge Woods did not throw out the Goldwater Institute’s case in its entirety, I’m confident that once all the evidence has been presented and the facts analyzed, the right and proper actions of Pima County will be vindicated.”
– Sharon Bronson, Chair, Pima County Board of Supervisors

“The Goldwater Institute’s specious arguments about …… were rightly thrown out by Judge Woods. We look forward to successfully defending Pima County’s economic development agreement with World View against the conservative organization’s remaining ideologically motivated accusations.”
-Pima County Administrator Chuck Huckelberry

3. Quotes from Chuck and Sharon if it’s a total wipeout – whole thing gets tossed.

“It was obvious from the start that the Goldwater Institute’s losing case against Pima County was little more than an ideological witch-hunt. While Pima County is accustomed to politically motivated attacks, it’s unfortunate that a great, innovative local company like World View had its reputation dragged through the mud by the Goldwater Institute and its hypocritical enablers in our own community.”
– Sharon Bronson, Chair, Pima County Board of Supervisors

“We’re glad Judge Woods saw through the Goldwater Institute’s specious arguments. Its ideologically motivated and cynical case was a blatant political attack as evidenced by the fact they ignored nearly identical economic development agreements approved by governments in their own backyard in Maricopa County. We look forward to seeing our lease agreement with World View through as the company grows and adds high paying jobs to our county. ”
-Pima County Administrator Chuck Huckelberry

A Tucson Sentinel piece on Wood’s ruling focused for the most part on its continuing attack on Miller, but quoted Huckelberry’s statement. The article read in part:

Noting that the county recently prevailed in a lawsuit over state funding for schools, Huckelberry said that “we remain confident that after all the evidence has been presented, it will be apparent that Pima County acted fully under the authority of state law and within the discretion of the Board of Supervisors. These allegations will be exposed as little more than an ideologically motivated campaign to damage Pima County’s efforts to grow our economy and bring good-paying jobs to our community.” [emphasis added]

After reviewing the emails, Goldwater Institute attorney Jim Manley told the ADI, “We have only one concern in this—and every—lawsuit we file: enforcing the law to protect individual rights. We have fought for taxpayer rights and against cronyism in Phoenix, Tempe, Peoria, Glendale, and many other cities across the country. We couldn’t care less about the drama of Pima County politics.”

About ADI Staff Reporter 15734 Articles
Under the leadership of Editor-in -Chief Huey Freeman, our team of staff reporters bring accurate,timely, and complete news coverage.