Shooter lawsuit filled with salacious details, accusations

justice court
(Photo by Tim Evanson/Creative Commons)

PHOENIX —  Former Arizona State Rep. Don Shooter, who was expelled from the State House last year because of sexual harassment allegations filed a lawsuit against the state.

The lawsuit, filed in Maricopa County Superior Court, is filled with accusations against members of Governor Doug Ducey’s top staff members.

In the lawsuit, Shooter, a Republican, alleges he was denied due process because the case regarding his expulsion wasn’t heard by the House Ethics Committee.

Last week, Rep. Kelly Townsend, a Republican who supported Shooter’s expulsion, said she believed he had been denied due process.

Shooter is requesting a jury trial and is seeking an unspecified amount in monetary damages to be determined at trial.

A summary of the brief of Shooter’s lawsuit:

“Don Shooter, as Appropriations Chairman in the Arizona Legislature, discovered serious corruption in the Governor’s office and was about to make it public. Kirk Adams, the Governor’s Chief of Staff, had to destroy Mr. Shooter’s credibility in order to cover up the corruption.

Adams’ close aid, Brian Townsend (no relation to Kelly), was also engaged to Ugenti-Rita. Ugenti-Rita became the agent to carry out Adams’ plan to destroy Mr. Shooter’s credibility, in order to cover up corruption.

The purpose of the illegitimate method of discipline created by (State Sen. J.D.) Mesnard was for the sole purpose of expelling him in order to keep him from exposing corruption.”

• Sues for violation of due process when expelled without first receiving constitutionally required due process;

o DENIED ETHICS COMMITTEE HEARING – the opportunity to refute and respond to each charge and address factual inaccuracies described in report, the report should have been the first step – in a fair process – not the LAST step;

o NEVER ADOPTED – Strict, “zero-tolerance” policy unilaterally applied without vote approving the new policy by the members as required under House rule;

o ONLY APPLIED TO MR. SHOOTER – Strict policy was only applied to Mr. Shooter by the independent investigators though they were paid to investigate allegations at the same time of Representatives Ugenti-Rita and Rios;

o RETROACTIVELY – applied policy to conduct alleged to have occurred years before policy was even created – and again policy was never approved.

• Report intentionally excluded credible, material evidence against Ugenti-Rita which includes victim testimony, additional two contemporaneous and corroborating testimony and photographic evidence. Mr. Shooter seeks the release of the information obtained by the state under the guise of an impartial investigation.

Complaint, filed by former Arizona Attorney General Tom Horne on behalf of Shooter, in its entirety:

Donald M. Shooter, Plaintiff Vs. State Of Arizona; Kirk And Janae Adams, Husband And Wife; Javan “J.D.” And Holly Mesnard, Husband And Wife

1. Plaintiff Donald Shooter was a member of the Arizona House of Representatives, or at other times was a member of the Arizona Senate, and was for a time Chairman of the Senate Appropriations Committee, Chairman of the House Appropriations Committee and Chairman of the Joint Legislative Budget Committee.

2. During all times relevant, Defendant Kirk Adams was Chief of Staff to the Governor of Arizona.

3. During all times relevant Defendant Javen Mesnard was Speaker of the Arizona House of Representatives.

4. The actions of Adams and Mesnard were for the benefit of their respective marital communities consisting of themselves and their respective wives.

5. Jurisdiction and venue are proper in Maricopa County.


A. Donald Shooter Begins His Investigation Into Rigged Bids and Wasteful Spending

6. In his position as Chairman of the Senate Appropriations Committee, Mr. Shooter began to discover questionable practices related to State expenditures on technology.

7. Senator Shooter learned of a significant investment in Hewlett Packard for the Arizona Department of Administration data center, initiated and led by Aaron Sandeen, the former Arizona State CIO. Senator Shooter was told that this purchase was undertaken at the same time that Mr. Sandeen was purportedly serving as a member on a Hewlett Packard National Advisory Board.

8. Another example was relayed to Senator Shooter by Henry Darwin, the Governor’s Chief of Operations about his experience while serving in his prior role as the Arizona Director of the Department of Environmental Quality (“DEQ”).

9. Mr. Darwin told Senator Shooter, in the presence of another witness, that Mr. Sandeen, when serving as CIO for the State, required DEQ to select a vendor the agency did not want to use, at a cost of an additional two million dollars to DEQ, a vendor which Mr. Darwin alleged, then became a client shortly after Sandeen stopped working for the state.

10. These alleged incidents greatly troubled Senator Shooter.

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