Shooter lawsuit filled with salacious details, accusations

51. Similarly, following the expulsion of Mr. Shooter, Mr. Shooter received an anonymous, extremely well researched and verifiable set of documents that contained previously unknown details of alleged corruption and criminal conduct involving technology contracts at DOA.

52. In the cover page of the letter from the anonymous source to Mr. Shooter, the source encouraged Mr. Shooter to continue his efforts to expose the corruption and hoped the enclosed, additional documentation of specific no-bid contracts and the activities undertaken by alleged criminal actors would be the proof Mr. Shooter needed to put a stop to the corruption.

53. This anonymous letter and the enclosed supporting documentation was also received by an attorney for Mr. Shooter, Kraig Marton.

C. Early Efforts to Discredit Representative Shooter

54. On November 7, 2017, five days after Representative Shooter’s meeting with Kirk Adams, Dennis Welch interviewed Brian Townsend’s finance Representative Michelle Ugenti-Rita.

55. Welch collaborated with Ugenti-Rita and promoted and broadcast his television interview with her that misconstrued Ugenti-Rita’s past friendship with Representative Shooter, as the basis for allegations of past sexual harassment by Representative Shooter.

56. Brian Townsend was not only Michelle Ugenti-Rita’s fiancé, he had recently worked for Kirk Adams in the Governor’s Office and was also Kirk Adams’ former Senior Policy Adviser when Adams previously served as Speaker of the House.

57. Upon information, these actions were taken at the direction of Adams in a further and intensified attempt to dissuade Representative Shooter from his efforts to bring fair dealing and transparency to the state procurement processes.

58. Soon after Representative Ugenti-Rita’s media interview, the Speaker began the process, in coordination with Adams and another member of the Governor’s Office, of inhibiting and discrediting Representative Shooter.

59. All activities of Mesnard, described below, were a result of his agreement with Adams and another member of the Governor’s Office.

60. Within days of Representative Ugenti-Rita’s allegations, the Speaker began pressuring Representative Shooter to resign despite the fact that Representative Shooter would shortly face the voters of his district in an election that was only months away.

61. The Speaker’s requests for resignation made clear that he was not an impartial arbiter.

D. Representative Shooter Asks for An Ethics Investigation

62. With nothing to hide and in furtherance of his priority of transparency, on November 8, 2017, Representative Shooter asked for a complete investigation into the allegations against him.

63. At the same time, Representative Shooter asked the House to investigate allegations that had surfaced concerning malfeasance and sexual misconduct by Representative Ugenti-Rita.

64. Mr. Shooter believed that once complete, the investigative report would be turned over to the Ethics Committee whose members had not publicly or privately weighed in. The House Ethics Committee was, without exception the tradition as well as the parliamentary and procedural norm and expectation for all such matters.

To be clear, it is the Constitutional right of every state legislature and Congress to expel an elected member of its chamber. But it is also clear, that such a vote cannot and must not occur without the elected member afforded due process. In fact, on January 28, 2019, representative Kelly Townsend, the representative who actually made the motion to expel Representative Shooter, stated on the Floor of the House “in retrospect it was the wrong process” to remove Representative Shooter without an ethics hearing. Exhibit 9. Other Representatives made similar statements.

65. Those two principles are not in conflict and are, in fact, complementary. “Procedural due process rules are meant to protect persons not from the deprivation, but from the mistaken or unjustified deprivation of life, liberty, or property.” Carey v. Piphus, 435 U.S. 247, 259 (1978).” Representative Shooter alleged violations of law and existing House policy by Representative Ugenti-Rita when she repeatedly sexually harassed a direct subordinate.

66. Mr. Shooter also alleged that Representative Ugenti-Rita, while married, carried on an affair with an additional subordinate House staff member.

67. Mr. Shooter requested the House complete a thorough investigation into those allegations, as well as Ugenti-Rita’s allegations against him.

68. Instead of the never deviated from tradition that was the parliamentary and procedural norm and expectation of an investigation by the House Ethics Committee, the Speaker appointed a hand-selected committee of his staff to investigate the allegations regarding the two House members, Shooter and Ugenti-Rita.

69. The Speaker then suspended Representative Shooter from his position as Chairman of the House Appropriations Committee.

70. In a news release, Mesnard announced that he had suspended Representative Shooter from his responsibilities as Chairman of the House Appropriations Committee. Mesnard rationalized “I don’t believe he [Shooter] can properly fulfill his obligations as Chairman of the House Appropriations Committee until the investigation is concluded.”

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Under the leadership of Arizona Daily Independent Editor In Chief Huey Freeman, our team of staff reporters work tirelessly to bring the latest, most accurate news to our readers.