Former Arizona attorney general Tom Horne, and former assistant attorney General Chuck Johnson filed a lawsuit on behalf of former Department of Economic Security Director Timothy Jeffries and former DES Chief Law Enforcement against the State of Arizona for libel. The lawsuit addresses false statements contained in the Arizona Department of Public Safety (DPS) Firearms Program Audit of Arizona DES released on July 7, 2017.
Jeffries and Loftus do not specify damages in the lawsuit, But their pre- filing settlement demands against the state were $5.2 million and 2.1 million, respectively. The lawsuit alleges that the audit contained false information that caused “considerable damage” to their professional reputations and future employment opportunities.
The lawsuit reads in part:
• False Statements as to plaintiff Jeffries:
• The report stated that Jeffries carried a gun on state property. That was false.
• The report stated the Jeffries wanted to arm every DES employee. That was false.
• The report stated the Jeffries wanted to create his own police force and control it. That was false.
• The report stated that Jeffries was involved in ammunition planning procurement and storage. That was false.
• The report stated that Jeffries regularly took ammunition from the DES inventory. That was false.
• The report stated that Jeffries went to a gun range on a weekly basis. That was false.
• The report stated the Jeffries would leave work early to go to a gun range. That was false.
• The report stated Jeffries openly proclaimed to be going to the shooting range to shoot DES inventory. That was false.
• False Statements as to plaintiff Loftus:
• The Report falsely states that the amount of ammunition purchased under his supervision was excessive.
• The Report falsely states that the ammunition was not secured.
• The Report falsely states that the records concerning access to and usage of the ammunition did not exist.
• The Report placed him in a false light by reporting that: “it was stated…Charlie Loftus utilized DES ammunition for personal use at a private shooting range…”
• The Report falsely states that 4,050 rounds of ammunition are “missing from the DES inventory.
• The Report placed him in a false light by reporting that ammunition was purchased from a non-authorized vendor.
• The Report falsely states that ammunition was purchased in violation of the Arizona Procurement Code.
• The Report falsely states that he purchased ammunition for personal use for which he was reimbursed by the State.
• The Report falsely states that he issued State firearms to unauthorized employees such as Tim Jeffries and Clark Collier.
• The Report falsely states that he purchased Beretta pistols for unauthorized employees.
• The Report falsely states that employees failed to adhere to and follow State policies.
• The Report falsely states that proper training records were not kept.
• The Report falsely states that no training outlines were kept.
• The Report falsely states that he went to a gun range weekly with Tim Jeffries.
• The Report falsely states that he told Luebkin that Tim Jeffries wanted to start his own police force.
• The Report falsely states that DES OIG and Security Services personnel did not receive adequate training.
• The Report falsely states that improvements were made after he was fired, which improvements were made by him before being fired.
• The Report falsely states that before he was fired the Security Services training program, firearms program and ammunition management program were rife with disorganization and inefficiency.
• The Report falsely states that training records and accounting of ammunition disbursements and ammunition security were absent and non-existent.
The lawsuit concludes: “As evidence of defendants’ malice, other libelous statements were made at or shortly after the time of the termination, which are not part of this cause of action, but which are evidence of malice by the relevant state employees and agents. As an example, and without limiting the generality of the foregoing, the state gave to newspapers a statement that about 50 guns and 80,000 rounds of ammunition were seized at the D.E.S. on the day plaintiffs were “ousted.” In fact, on Tuesday, November 29, D.P.S. staff stated clearly that the ammunition was “normal (and) on the light side.”
The Arizona Daily Independent reported earlier this year, that “nearly 7 months after DES interim Inspector General Dennis Young advised multiple people that the audit was complete and found the claims to be baseless,” yet the audit “included the finding that ammunition was purchased in violation of state law and an “excessive” amount of ammunition had been procured.”