"Tempe Cesspool for the Arts"

aka "Tempe Center for the Arts"

Ben Arredondo crooked Tempe City Councilman!!!!!

 

Ben Arredondo, a regular Honest Abe

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Posted on January 21, 2013 5:00 pm by Laurie Roberts

Ben Arredondo crooked Tempe City Councilman, Ben Arredondo crooked Arizona Congressman, 
                Ben Arredondo crooked member of the Arizona State Legislator Ben Arredondo, a regular Honest Abe

He is, we are told, a man for all seasons, a champion of the underdog, a regular Abraham Lincoln.

No, literally, one former congressmen actually compared disgraced ex-Rep. Ben Arredondo to Honest Abe.

Of course, both men were obsessed with the word “free”. Lincoln wanted to free the slaves. Arredondo wanted free football tickets. And free baseball tickets. And, well, you get the idea.

Arredondo will be sentenced on Wednesday for taking bribes and soliciting donations to a college scholarship fund for needy students – about a third of whom turned out to be his relative

Federal prosecutors are asking that the longtime Tempe city councilman and former Democratic state legislator serve 30 months in prison. Arredondo is hoping to score probation, based upon his “advanced age” (he’s 65), his deteriorating mental and physical health and his decades of public service. [I think she means decades of screwing the public. It sure wasn't decades of public service]

It’ll be up to U.S. District Court Judge Frederick Martone to decide punishment.

Arredondo spent four decades working in positions of public trust: teacher, coach, school board member, county supervisor, city councilman and finally, state legislator.

He didn’t become a household name, however, until 2011 when the Fiesta Bowl scandal oozed into public view. That’s when we learned that this paragon of public service was ordering up football tickets like the rest of us order pizza – only the rest of us pay for our pizza. In all, he took $6,240 worth of tickets, according to Fiesta Bowl records.

Turns out the Fiesta Bowl wasn’t his only source for freebies.

Last year, he was indicted after being caught in an FBI sting operation that spanned most of 2009 and 2010. Agents posed as real-estate developers looking to do a land deal and they dangled bribes in the form of free football tickets to see who would bite.

Arredondo’s insatiable appetite for freebies became his undoing as he paved the way for the developers/FBI agents to get their project through city hall, arranging entrée into city offices and leaking confidential information to help them acquire city-owned property.

For nearly two years, prosecutors say Arredondo basically acted “as though he were on retainer” for the phony development company. In exchange, he got $5,268 in goodies, including tables at two charity events collectively worth $1,100 and 26 tickets to sporting events, including a playoff game at Yankee Stadium and a Duke-Michigan basketball game.

Tempe Councilwoman Robin Arredondo-Savage niece of crooked Tempe City Councilman Ben Arredondo  and niece of crooked Arizona State Legislator Ben Arredondo As Arredondo prepared to move to the Legislature in 2010, he introduced the developers/FBI agents to others on the city council — including his niece Robin Arredondo-Savage — and assured them of his continued support once he reached the state Capitol. [Hmmm ... I wonder is his niece Robin Arredondo-Savage also a crook????]

“You guys will ask, you guys will have,” he told them, channeling Don Corleone. “I don’t know how else to say it. We’ll be just fine because not only we’re covered at the city, we’re covered now at the state.”

He was covered all right, in slime so thick it’ll never rub off. In addition to the bribes, prosecutors say he spent 10 years raising money for scholarships for needy kids. He just forgot to tell donors that 30 percent of the money – nearly $50,000 – would go to seven of his needy relatives.

In October, Arredondo pleaded guilty to two counts of fraud.

His attorney is making a plea for probation, hoping to downplay the value of the bribes and play up the value of his public service, with a little help from Arredondo’s friends.

State Rep. Ed Ableser (D-Tempe) thinks that his buddy crooked Tempe City Councilman Ben Arredondo and crooked Arizona State Congressman Ben Arredondo is a great guy and shouldn't spend any time in prison. I wonder is State Rep. Ed Ableser also a crook like his buddy Tempe City Councilman and congressman Ben Arredondo In a letter to the judge, Eddie Basha calls Arredondo “a man of great character.” Sen. Ed Ableser, D-Tempe, says he was “a mentor, an inspiration and a role-model in my own life.” [I wonder is Sen. Ed Ableser a crook like his buddy Ben Arredondo???]

“I intimately saw Ben’s dedication to honesty and openness in all actions as a candidate and legislator,” Ableser wrote.

Like, say, in March 2010 when Arredondo asked the developers/FBI agents not to give him Diamondbacks tickets that day but to instead mail the tickets to his house on July 1, once his council term ended? “Because, I’m through with this council after that and then I can honestly say I’ve never taken a look at these guys until after this,” Arredondo said at the time.

U.S. Rep. Harry Mitchell also thinks his buddy crooked Tempe City Councilman Ben Arredondo and crooked Arizona State Congressman and Arizona State Legislator Ben Arredondo is a great guy and deserves to get a slap on the wrist for his crimes against the people of Tempe and the citizens of Arizona Speaking of honest, former U.S. Rep. Harry Mitchell lauded Arredondo’s “reputation for honesty, trustworthiness and integrity” and likened him to certain a celebrated president. [U.S. Rep. Harry Mitchell - another crook vouching for crook Ben Arredondo]

“In the recent move ‘Lincoln,’ one is struck by the number of actions taken by President Lincoln that were of questionable legality but justified because they resulted in the 13th amendment of the U.S. Constitution that ended slavery,” Mitchell wrote. [Well at least Harry Mitchell admits he thinks it's OK to break the law if you are pretending to be a crook with good intentions. I guess that means all those illegal and unconstitutional laws passed in Tempe are OK!!!] “I do believe that many of Ben’s actions were more to further his legislative agenda of helping those in need than for helping himself. While his actions did result in relative small illegitimate personal gains, they also resulted in larger legitimate gains for those who needed assistance. [What a way to justify a crooked politicians crimes!!!] This does not justify the actions but helps explain why a person of such standing stooped to such means.”

Actually, no, Harry, it doesn’t.

It just makes me wonder how long he was on the take.

(Column published Jan. 22, 2013, The Arizona Republic.)


Former lawmaker Ben Arredondo set to be sentenced

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Former lawmaker Ben Arredondo set to be sentenced

By Dianna M. Náñez The Republic | azcentral.com

Wed Jan 23, 2013 6:04 AM

Ben Arredondo crooked Tempe City Councilman, Ben Arredondo crooked Arizona Congressman, 
                Ben Arredondo crooked member of the Arizona State Legislator Former state Rep. Ben Arredondo faces a sentencing hearing today for public-corruption charges that could result in the longtime politician becoming the second Arizona lawmaker in less than a year to be sentenced to a term in federal prison.

Federal prosecutors are expected to request a minimum 30-month prison sentence. Arredondo’s defense attorneys are expected to request probation and community service.

In an October plea agreement before U.S. District Judge Frederick Martone, Arredondo pleaded guilty to two felonies.

Arredondo, a former Tempe councilman who was elected to the House in 2010, accepted the plea in an effort to reduce his sentence.

Arredondo, 65, a Democrat, admitted soliciting and accepting a bribe and committing mail fraud when he misled donors about a college-scholarship fund that he secretly used to benefit his relatives.

Under the plea, he agreed to immediately resign from the Legislature and federal prosecutors agreed to dismiss all other charges.

The high-profile public-corruption case followed Arredondo’s indictment May16 on charges of bribery, mail fraud, lying and extortion stemming from an FBI sting that took place between February 2009, when Arredondo was a Tempe City Council member, and November 2010, shortly after he won the House seat. Arredondo, a longtime Republican, switched parties before winning the seat.

Arredondo is the second state lawmaker to plead guilty to federal felony charges in the past year and the third person in the state Capitol arena to be ensnared in an FBI corruption investigation.

In the fall, former Republican House staffer John Mills was indicted on 15 counts of mail fraud after an investigation said he was using then-state Rep. Jim Weiers’ campaign account as a revolving fund for personal purchases, mortgage payments and stock purchases. He paid the money back, records show. He has pleaded not guilty.

In February, former Rep. Richard Miranda abruptly resigned from the Legislature and in June pleaded guilty to felony wire fraud and attempted tax evasion for selling a Surprise building owned by a non-profit he ran and pocketing the money. Miranda, a Democrat, was sentenced to a 27-month federal prison sentence and must pay back hundreds of thousands of dollars.

Arredondo’s defense attorneys, in pre-sentencing documents, asked the judge to consider Arredondo’s years of public service as an educator and politician, poor mental and physical health, and advanced age. They asked the judge to sentence Arredondo to home detention, probation and community service rather than a prison sentence.

State Rep. Ed Ableser (D-Tempe) thinks that his buddy crooked Tempe City Councilman Ben Arredondo and crooked Arizona State Congressman Ben Arredondo is a great guy and shouldn't spend any time in prison. I wonder is State Rep. Ed Ableser also a crook like his buddy Tempe City Councilman and congressman Ben Arredondo Several high-profile Arizona residents, including Sen. Ed Ableser and former U.S. Rep. Harry Mitchell, both Democrats, wrote letters on behalf of Arredondo, asking for leniency.

“His public service has literally benefited tens of thousands of people, city and school facilities were built and programs enacted that otherwise would not have been considered,” Mitchell wrote.

U.S. Rep. Harry Mitchell also thinks his buddy crooked Tempe City Councilman Ben Arredondo and crooked Arizona State Congressman and Arizona State Legislator Ben Arredondo is a great guy and deserves to get a slap on the wrist for his crimes against the people of Tempe and the citizens of Arizona Defense attorneys wrote that Arredondo would accept any community-service program, but they offered the judge an “individualized community-service proposal.” They suggested Arredondo serve at the Boys & Girls Clubs of the East Valley, helping with a school-dropout-prevention and mentoring program.

But federal prosecutors argued that Arredondo betrayed the “people of the State of Arizona ... by abusing his position” as an elected official.

Prosecutors added that “Arredondo willingly solicited and accepted bribes, and perpetuated and operated a fraudulent scheme with respect to the (college-scholarship) fund ... had he not been caught, Arizona might still have a lawmaker willing to sacrifice public service and personal integrity for pecuniary benefit.”

Federal prosecutors asked for a 30-month prison sentence, plus supervised release, restitution and a fine that would deter others from following in his footsteps.

Kenneth Fields, a retired Maricopa County Superior Court judge and former federal prosecutor, said the judge will likely weigh whether the public’s interest will be best-served by Arredondo spending time in prison or giving back to the community.

Fields said Arredondo’s community service should be tied more closely to teaching others to learn from his mistake.

“You want him to reflect on what put him there and others to reflect on what put him there,” he said.

Federal corruption charges involving elected officials are a key to restoring the public’s faith in their government, Fields added.

“The bottom line is you want to make clear the message that you cannot violate the public trust as an official and continue to escape consequence,” he said.


Tempe City Councilman Ben Arredondo avoids prison time

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Former Arizona lawmaker Ben Arredondo avoids prison time

By Dianna M. Náñez The Republic | azcentral.com Wed Jan 23, 2013 11:17 PM

Ben Arredondo crooked Tempe City Councilman, Ben Arredondo crooked Arizona Congressman, 
                Ben Arredondo crooked member of the Arizona State Legislator avoids prison and gets a slap on the wrist for his crimes When a federal judge sentenced former Arizona lawmaker Ben Arredondo to probation and home confinement Wednesday on public-corruption charges, he acknowledged that the community may think that another “public official will have a get-out-of-jail free card.”

Prosecutors had called for Arredondo to be sentenced to a minimum of 30 months in federal prison for bribery and fraud stemming from a years-long FBI sting. Instead of sending the 65-year-old longtime politician to prison, the judge sentenced him to 18 months of home confinement and three years’ probation.

“Probation isn’t a cakewalk,” U.S. District Judge Frederick Martone told a crowd mostly of Arredondo’s family and supporters who filled the judge’s chambers and an overflow room.

The former Tempe councilman elected to the House in 2010 was also fined $5,000 and ordered to pay $540 in restitution to a donor to Arredondo’s fraudulent college-scholarship fund.

The judge ordered Arredondo, who served 40 years as a politician and educator, to take a college-level course in secular ethics, adding that he must learn from his “ethical lapse.”

Martone rebuked federal prosecutors for spending taxpayer money on an elaborate sting operation that led to the U.S. Justice Department uncovering nothing more than Arredondo’s “pathetic” crimes.

“It’s cheap. It’s tawdry. It’s pathetic,” Martone said of Arredondo’s crimes. “But it isn’t Jack the Ripper.”

Martone said federal efforts could have been better directed on investigating more serious national crimes.

“I wonder whether the resources of the United States government were appropriately directed over the course of two years,” he said, adding that perhaps Americans would have benefited more from the Justice Department offering the same level of attention to “Wall Street bankers … (who committed) mortgage fraud.”

Arredondo accepted about $6,000 in tickets to charity events and college and professional-sporting events. The tickets were bribes in exchange for giving undercover FBI agents posing as developers the inside track on a Tempe land deal.

Arredondo was indicted May 16 on charges of bribery, mail fraud, lying and extortion stemming from an FBI sting that ran between February 2009, when Arredondo was a Tempe City Council member, and November 2010, shortly after he won the House seat.

Federal prosecutors also charged Arredondo for defrauding donors through the Arredondo Scholarship Fund, which he established in 2001 for students needing financial support.

Prosecutors said Arredondo solicited donations for the fund, never telling contributors that a large portion of the money would go to scholarships for his own relatives.

In an October plea agreement, Arredondo pleaded guilty to two felonies, accepting a bribe and committing mail fraud. As long as the former lawmaker fulfills the terms of the agreement, federal prosecutors agreed that they would not prosecute Arredondo’s wife, Ruthann, for any crimes related to the U.S. Department of Justice’s case against Arredondo.

Arredondo, a longtime Republican who switched parties and won his House seat as a Democrat, is the second state lawmaker to plead guilty to federal felony charges in the past year and the third person in the state Capitol arena to be ensnared in an FBI corruption investigation.

Federal prosecutors cited Arredondo’s betrayal of public trust in seeking and taking bribes when they requested a prison sentence.

“Arredondo willingly solicited and accepted bribes, and perpetuated and operated a fraudulent scheme with respect to the (college-scholarship) fund ... had he not been caught, Arizona might still have a lawmaker willing to sacrifice public service and personal integrity for pecuniary benefit,” prosecutors wrote in a sentencing memorandum.

Arredondo’s defense attorneys sought leniency based on his public-service record and requested home detention, probation and community service.

While Martone accepted sentencing guidelines that included a federal prison term of 18 to 24 months, he used his judicial discretion and sided with the defense in determining that home confinement and probation were “reasonable” punishments for Arredondo’s crimes.

In sentencing Arredondo, the judge cited as factors the former politician’s lack of previous criminal history; deteriorating mental and physical health, including depression, a bipolar diagnosis and a suicide attempt; and age. He questioned whether Arredondo would have committed the crimes had there not been a federal sting operation.

State Rep. Ed Ableser (D-Tempe) thinks that his buddy crooked Tempe City Councilman Ben Arredondo and crooked Arizona State Congressman Ben Arredondo is a great guy and shouldn't spend any time in prison. I wonder is State Rep. Ed Ableser also a crook like his buddy Tempe City Councilman and congressman Ben Arredondo U.S. Rep. Harry Mitchell also thinks his buddy crooked Tempe City Councilman Ben Arredondo and crooked Arizona State Congressman and Arizona State Legislator Ben Arredondo is a great guy and deserves to get a slap on the wrist for his crimes against the people of Tempe and the citizens of Arizona Several high-profile Arizona residents, including businessman Eddie Basha, state Sen. Ed Ableser and former U.S. Rep. Harry Mitchell wrote letters on behalf of Arredondo, asking for leniency.

Basha called Arredondo a friend of more than 40 years, crying when he described Arredondo’s contributions to the community. Many Arredondo supporters in the courtroom shed tears when Arredondo’s son Ben told the court that he wanted to accept responsibility for his father asking for sporting tickets. The son said he pushed his dad to get the tickets, adding that his father couldn’t tell him no.

Defense attorneys said Arredondo did not use a single ticket for himself.

But the judge, prosecutors and defense attorneys said Arredondo wanted to act like the “big guy” in town.

Arredondo sobbed and struggled to speak when he addressed the judge.

“I made mistakes. I must pay for them,” he said, adding that he let down his constituents, students, friends and his family. “I failed you. … My family name was the most valuable gift given to me by my parents, because of a common name, they (now) share in my disgrace.”

Arredondo begged forgiveness and for the judge not to send him to jail. “For the first time in my life, I’m terrified.”

The judge said that Arredondo had tarnished his reputation in the community and his legacy of serving more than 40 years as an educator, high-school coach and politician.

“He will be remembered as the guy who sold out for some baseball tickets,” Martone said.


Arizona Legislator Ben Arredondo avoids prison time

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Arredondo avoids prison time

By Dianna M. Náñez The Republic | azcentral.com Wed Jan 23, 2013 4:12 PM

Ben Arredondo crooked Tempe City Councilman, Ben Arredondo crooked Arizona Congressman, 
                Ben Arredondo crooked member of the Arizona State Legislator Former Arizona lawmaker Ben Arredondo avoided prison time and was sentenced to three years probation Wednesday on public-corruption charges stemming from an FBI sting.

U.S. District Judge Frederick Martone ordered Arredondo be placed under home confinement for 18 months as part of his probation.

Arredondo, a former Tempe councilman who was elected to the House as a Democratic representative in 2010, was also fined $5,000 and ordered to pay $540 in restitution.

Federal prosecutors, citing Arredondo’s betrayal of public trust when he solicited and accepted bribes, requested a minimum 30-month prison sentence. Arredondo’s defense attorneys, pushing for leniency given his 40-year public service career as a politician and educator , requested home detention, probation and community service.

Arredondo, 65, has kept a low profile since he was indicted May 16 on charges of bribery, mail fraud, lying and extortion stemming from an FBI sting that ran between February 2009, when Arredondo was a Tempe City Council member, and November 2010, shortly after he won the House seat. Arredondo, a longtime Republican, switched parties, becoming a Democrat, before winning the seat.

In an October plea agreement, Arredondo pleaded guilty to two felonies. As long as the former lawmaker fulfills the terms of the agreement, federal prosecutors agreed in court that they would not prosecute Arredondo's wife, Ruthann, for any crimes related to the U.S. Department of Justice's case against Arredondo.

Arredondo accepted about $6,000 in tickets to charity events and college and professional sporting events. The tickets were bribes in exchange for giving undercover FBI agents posing as developers the inside track on a Tempe land deal.

Federal prosecutors also charged Arredondo for defrauding donors through the Arredondo Scholarship Fund, which he established in 2001 for students needing financial support. Prosecutors said Arredondo solicited donations for the fund, never telling contributors that a portion of the money would go to scholarships for his own relatives.

Seven of Arredondo's relatives received a total of nearly $50,000 to attend Arizona educational institutions.

Arredondo is the second state lawmaker to plead guilty to federal felony charges in the past year and the third person in the state Capitol arena to be ensnared in an FBI corruption investigation.

In the fall, former Republican House staffer John Mills was indicted on 15 counts of mail fraud after an investigation said he was using then-state Rep. Jim Weiers’ campaign account as a revolving fund for personal purchases, mortgage payments and stock purchases. He paid the money back, records show. He has pleaded not guilty.

In February, former Rep. Richard Miranda abruptly resigned from the Legislature and in June pleaded guilty to felony wire fraud and attempted tax evasion for selling a Surprise building owned by a non-profit he ran and pocketing the money. Miranda, a Democrat, was sentenced to 27 months in federal prison and must pay back hundreds of thousands of dollars.

Arredondo’s defense attorneys asked the judge to consider Arredondo’s years of public service as an educator and politician, poor mental and physical health, and advanced age. They asked the judge to sentence Arredondo to home detention, probation and community service rather than a prison sentence.

State Rep. Ed Ableser (D-Tempe) thinks that his buddy crooked Tempe City Councilman Ben Arredondo and crooked Arizona State Congressman Ben Arredondo is a great guy and shouldn't spend any time in prison. I wonder is State Rep. Ed Ableser also a crook like his buddy Tempe City Councilman and congressman Ben Arredondo U.S. Rep. Harry Mitchell also thinks his buddy crooked Tempe City Councilman Ben Arredondo and crooked Arizona State Congressman and Arizona State Legislator Ben Arredondo is a great guy and deserves to get a slap on the wrist for his crimes against the people of Tempe and the citizens of Arizona Several high-profile Arizona residents, including state Sen. Ed Ableser and former U.S. Rep. Harry Mitchell, both Democrats, wrote letters on behalf of Arredondo, asking for leniency.

“His public service has literally benefited tens of thousands of people, city and school facilities were built and programs enacted that otherwise would not have been considered,” Mitchell wrote.

Defense attorneys wrote that Arredondo would accept any community-service program, but they offered the judge an “individualized community-service proposal.” They suggested Arredondo serve at the Boys & Girls Clubs of the East Valley, helping with a school-dropout-prevention and mentoring program.

But federal prosecutors argued that Arredondo betrayed the “people of the State of Arizona ... by abusing his position” as an elected official.

Prosecutors added that “Arredondo willingly solicited and accepted bribes, and perpetuated and operated a fraudulent scheme with respect to the (college-scholarship) fund ... had he not been caught, Arizona might still have a lawmaker willing to sacrifice public service and personal integrity for pecuniary benefit.”

Federal prosecutors asked for a 30-month prison sentence, plus supervised release, restitution and a fine that would deter others from following in his footsteps.

Kenneth Fields, a retired Maricopa County Superior Court judge and former federal prosecutor, said federal corruption charges involving elected officials are a key to restoring the public’s faith in their government.

“The bottom line is you want to make clear the message that you cannot violate the public trust as an official and continue to escape consequence,” he said.

Check back for updates on azcentral.com. Follow reporter Dianna M. Náñez on Twitter @dmnanez for posts on the sentencing hearing.


Ben Arredondo gets slap on the wrist in corruption case

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Ben Arredondo Gets a Grand Total of Zero Days in Prison in Corruption Case

By Matthew Hendley Thu., Jan. 24 2013 at 8:00 AM

Ben Arredondo crooked Tempe City Councilman, Ben Arredondo crooked Arizona Congressman, 
                Ben Arredondo crooked member of the Arizona State Legislator After all that, a federal judge sentenced former state Representative Ben Arredondo yesterday to zero days in jail.

This, less than a year after being charged with bribery, extortion, and lying to FBI agents in a ticket-bribery exchange, then eventually pleading guilty to a mail-fraud charges, related to running a scholarship scam.

The case started in May, when Arredondo was indicted on charges related to taking sporting-event tickets from a company -- a fake company, set up by the FBI -- in exchange for helping it buy land owned by the city of Tempe, for a real estate development.

That was when Arredondo, a Republican-turned-Democrat was on the Tempe City Council, and had allegedly set up everything by the time he was elected to the Legislature.

The indictment against Arredondo claimed he had set up meetings between undercover FBI agents and other public officials, tried to get them a favorable position in the bidding process, and tried to get his colleagues at the city to help approve this acquisition by the FBI's fake company.

By October, Arredondo had pleaded guilty to one charge related to that ticket-bribery exchange, but he also pleaded guilty to something completely different.

In a plea agreement, it was revealed that Arredondo admitted he ran a scholarship fund in which he'd tell prospective donors to the fund that it would help pay for college fees and textbooks for "average" students, and was supposed to go to youngsters whose parents hadn't saved up a college fund.

It turned out that the "Arredondo Scholarship Fund" was literally the Arredondo scholarship fund -- seven of his relatives received funds for their college expenses.

For example, from 2003 to 2011, the fund paid $81,200 to Arizona State University. Of that, $39,250 was used on six of Arredondo's relatives, and the remaining $49,150 went toward the fees of 20 people not related to Arredondo.

Out of all of that, Arredondo was guilty of two counts of mail fraud.

Prosecutors were looking for a prison sentence in the neighborhood of three years, but U.S. District Judge Frederick Martone sentenced him to 18 months of house arrest and probation, in addition to fines and restitution totaling about $5,500 -- less than the value of the tickets to ballgames and charity events he'd accepted.


Harry Mitchell sticks up for crook Ben Arredondo

Harry Mitchell looks at the bright side of corruption

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Corrupt Officials

Harry Mitchell Sticks Up for Ben Arredondo, Looks at the Bright Side of Corruption

By Matthew Hendley Thu., Jan. 17 2013 at 11:02 AM

U.S. Rep. Harry Mitchell also thinks his buddy crooked Tempe City Councilman Ben Arredondo and crooked Arizona State Congressman and Arizona State Legislator Ben Arredondo is a great guy and deserves to get a slap on the wrist for his crimes against the people of Tempe and the citizens of Arizona Former Democratic Congressman and Tempe Mayor Harry Mitchell has taken an interesting route in supporting ex-state Representative and recently admitted felon Ben Arredondo.

While prosecutors are looking to lock up Arredondo for as much as three years on a pair of mail fraud charges, Mitchell was one of a couple dozen people who submitted letters on Arredondo's behalf, as Arredondo's looking for a more lenient sentence, and Mitchell took the Abraham Lincoln route.

The letter, first noticed by the Huffington Post's Ryan J. Reilly, is mostly full of typical character-letter material -- he's sorry, he's a great guy, it's been real tough on him, yadda, yadda, yadda.

"Ben recognizes his actions resulting in criminal charges were illegal and his friends know that he accepts full responsibility," the letter says. "The shame he feels is real; he very rarely leaves his home, answers his phone or is seen in public. He regrets that his actions have tarnished the Arredondo name and that he has let down people who had believed and depended on him. He has real remorse in the disappointment that he has caused with his former students and athletes. Ben wants very much to restore his good name and reestablish his credibility."

That's probably the part where "Sincerely, Harry E. Mitchell" should be printed. Instead, Mitchell talks Lincoln.

"In the recent movie 'Lincoln' one is struck by the number of actions taken by President Lincoln that were of questionable legality but justified because they resulted in the 13th amendment of the U.S. Constitution that ended slavery," Mitchell writes. "I do believe that many of Ben's actions were more to further his legislative agenda of helping those in need than for helping himself. While his actions did result in relatively small illegitimate personal gains they also resulted in larger legitimate gains for those who needed assistance. This does not justify the actions but helps explain why a person of such standing stooped to such means."

Ben Arredondo crooked Tempe City Councilman, Ben Arredondo crooked Arizona Congressman, 
                Ben Arredondo crooked member of the Arizona State Legislator Arredondo -- a Republican-turned-Democrat who served on the Tempe City Council for 16 years before making it into the state House of Representatives in 2010 -- was arrested for getting a few thousand dollars worth of tickets to ballgames and charity events from a fake company set up by the FBI, in exchange for helping it buy city-owned land for a real estate development.

He ended up pleading guilty to entirely unrelated charges, related to setting up a scholarship fund that sent a bunch of money to his own relatives.

For example, from 2003 to 2011, the fund paid $81,200 to Arizona State University. Of that, $39,250 was used on six of Arredondo's relatives, and the remaining $49,150 went toward the fees of 20 people not related to Arredondo.

Forget the weird Lincoln reference from Mitchell.

"While his actions did result in relatively small illegitimate personal gains they also resulted in larger legitimate gains for those who needed assistance," we'll repeat from Mitchell's letter. "This does not justify the actions but helps explain why a person of such standing stooped to such means."

Remember, those are the wise words from a former Congressman, former state Senator, the former mayor of a city that has oodles off stuff named after him, and a man whose son is currently the mayor of that city.

Either way, Arredondo's sentencing is scheduled for later this month.


Ben Arredondo Pleads Guilty to Two Felonies

Ben Arredondo reveals he ran a scholarship scam

Source

Capitol Offenses

Ben Arredondo Pleads Guilty to Two Felonies; Plea Reveals Soon-to-Be-Former Legislator Also Ran a Bit of a Scholarship Scam

By Matthew Hendley Fri., Oct. 5 2012 at 11:56 AM

Ben Arredondo crooked Tempe City Councilman, Ben Arredondo crooked Arizona Congressman, 
                Ben Arredondo crooked member of the Arizona State Legislator Soon-to-be-former state Representative Ben Arredondo pleaded guilty today to two felony charges, including one that wasn't even mentioned in the original indictment.

Arredondo pleaded guilty to one count of "honest services mail fraud" -- related to the ticket-bribery exchange he had going on with undercover FBI agents -- but also pleaded guilty to another count of mail fraud for setting up a scholarship fund that sent a bunch of money to his own relatives.

As part of the plea agreement for Arredondo -- a Republican-turned-Democrat who served on the Tempe City Council for 16 years before making it into the state House of Representatives in 2010 -- he will be resigning from the Legislature.

According to the plea agreement, Arredondo admits that he ran a scholarship fund, telling prospective donors to the fund that the fund would help pay for college fees and textbooks for "average" students, and was supposed to go to youngsters whose parents hadn't saved up a college fund.

It turns out, the "Arredondo Scholarship Fund" was literally the Arredondo scholarship fund -- seven of his relatives received funds for their college expenses.

For example, the plea notes that from 2003 to 2011, the fund paid $81,200 to Arizona State University. Of that, $39,250 was used on six of Arredondo's relatives, and the remaining $49,150 went toward the fees of 20 people not related to Arredondo.

Arredondo never told donors that part of the fund would help out Arredondo's own relatives, and the plea notes that major airlines were among the contributors, and would donate airline tickets to the fund.

A letter written to ASU on behalf of the fund said that the students weren't direct relatives of the fund's administrators, and that same letter noted that Arredondo was one of the administrators.

The other felony charge is based on what's been known since the indictment was made public. Arredondo was taking sporting-event tickets from a company -- a fake company, set up by the FBI -- in exchange for helping it buy city-owned land for a real estate development.

The indictment against Arredondo claimed he had set up meetings between undercover FBI agents and other public officials, tried to get them a favorable position in the bidding process, and tried to get his colleagues at the city to help approve this acquisition by the FBI's fake company.

Arredondo scored about $6,000 in tickets to sporting events and tables at charity events, thanks to the FBI's undercover agents.

His sentencing is scheduled for late January.

Again this is one good reason we need the Second Amendment. We can't count on the courts and government bureaucrats to hold themselves to the same standards they hold us to.!!!!


Tempe council member Ben Arredondo gets house arrest

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Ex-legislator, Tempe council member Arredondo gets house arrest

Posted: Thursday, January 24, 2013 12:14 pm

Associated Press

A former Arizona legislator was sentenced to 18 months of home confinement for his felony convictions for seeking and accepting bribes while he was a Tempe city councilman and misleading donors about a scholarship fund that benefited his relatives.

Ben Arredondo crooked Tempe City Councilman, Ben Arredondo crooked Arizona Congressman, 
                Ben Arredondo crooked member of the Arizona State Legislator Former Rep. Ben Arredondo had admitted he accepted sporting tickets and other benefits from FBI agents who posed as employees for a real estate development company looking to do business in Tempe.

The former Democratic lawmaker admitted that more than $49,000 from a scholarship fund he established had gone to seven of his relatives.

He never revealed to prospective donors that family members were receiving the funds.

Prosecutors had asked for an 18-month prison sentence and a $49,000 fine.


Justice was not served in Arredondo case

Source

Letter: Justice was not served in Arredondo case

Posted: Saturday, January 26, 2013 1:46 pm

Letter to the Editor

Now is the time to put U.S. District Court Judge Frederick Martone away. He certainly didn’t serve out any punitive solution to Arredondo’s corruption conviction; in fact, Martone became part of the problem with his slap-on-the-hand sentencing of Arredondo. Martone exemplified just how deep the talons of corruption reach into government these days. A continuing saga, and yet another blatantly racist decision by a Federal official in a position of authority.

Barry Jones

Queen Creek


Judge Frederick Martone - it's OK for politicians to be criminals

Judge Frederick Martone is sending a great message to elected officials, politicians and government bureaucrats - It's OK to screw the people you pretend to serve. And hey, if you get caught committing crimes the most you will get is a slap on the wrist.

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Posted on January 25, 2013 2:00 pm by Laurie Roberts

Arredondo sentence send strong message (just not the right message)

Ben Arredondo crooked Tempe City Councilman, Ben Arredondo crooked Arizona Congressman, 
                Ben Arredondo crooked member of the Arizona State Legislator avoids prison and gets a slap on the wrist for his crimes So, everybody’s favorite corrupt politician, Ol’ Honest Ben Arredondo, avoided time in the pokey.

I’m not shocked that this paragon of public service would be sentenced to hard time in front of the big screen in his family room. (“Probation isn’t a cakewalk, you know,” U.S. District Court Judge Frederick Martone told Arredondo’s supporters, who crowded the courtroom.)

I am surprised at the judge’s implication, through his comments and his choice of punishment, that Arredondo’s offense was no big deal.

In fact, Martone actually rebuked prosecutors for even pursuing the case.

“It’s cheap. It’s tawdry. It’s pathetic,” the judge said of the disgraced lawmakers’ crimes. “But it isn’t Jack the Ripper.”

True, ex-Rep. Arredondo is no mass murderer. He doesn’t strike any significant amount of terror in the hearts of the public.

Only a significant amount of mistrust, and a belief that it’s as we suspected all along, that our leaders – or at least some of our leaders — can be bought.

Because if a supposed giant among men like Ben Arredondo – longtime champion of the poor, the oppressed, the downtrodden – can be purchased for a few free football, basketball and baseball tickets, what about the rest of these characters who claim to represent us?

Arredondo was snared in a 22-month sting operation, working with FBI agents who posed as real-estate developers seeking to do a deal with the city of Tempe. Prosecutors said the then-city councilman acted “as though he were on retainer” for the phony developers, arranging meetings with key city officials and leaking confidential city information.

For his efforts, he scored $5,268 in freebies, including tickets to elite sporting events.

His own words, caught on tape, suggest he would have continued as a purchased man when he joined the Legislature in 2011. “You guys will ask, you guys will have,” he told the developers/FBI agents in one 2010 meeting. “I don’t know how else to say it. We’ll be just fine because not only we’re covered at the city, we’re covered now at the state.”

Arredondo was indicted last year for bribery, fraud, extortion and lying. That’s when we learned he also had been soliciting funds for a scholarship program for nearly a decade, never mentioning to contributors that nearly a third of the money would go to his relatives.

Arredondo’s defense attorney calls the crimes “a marked aberration in the life of a man deeply committed to community, family and education.”

An aberration that lasted a decade?

That’s not an aberration. It’s a way of doing business.

Remember, Arredondo’s the guy who not only accepted Fiesta Bowl junkets, he even called up bowl officials in 2009 and brazenly asked that he and his wife be treated to a summer trip. (They were.) This guy even put in an order for 2009 Super Bowl tickets, which cost the Fiesta Bowl $4,000.

Based upon Judge Martone’s reaction, I suppose Maricopa County Bill Montgomery was wise not to waste time trying to hold Arredondo or other Fiesta Bowl offenders accountable.

Why bother if, as Martone suggested, a little bribery is no big deal?

“I wonder whether the resources of the United States government were appropriately directed over the course of two years,” the judge said, adding that the public might have been better served by going after “Wall Street bankers” who committed mortgage fraud.

And I wonder why we should have to settle for one or the other? Surely the FBI can multi task.

Just as I wonder what level of bribery is acceptable before it becomes a big deal? If $5,200 is a yawner, how about $10,000? Or $100,000?

When does ho hum become oh hell no?

Ben Arredondo used his position of public trust to broker meetings, divulge confidential information and otherwise sell himself and his city out for a lousy $5,200 worth of tickets. Then he lied about it. This, on top of misleading contributors to his scholarship fund for nearly a decade.

Prosecutors asked for 30 months in prison and a fine equal to the $49,965 in scholarships given his relatives. Instead, Arredondo got 18 months house arrest, probation and a $5,200 fine that didn’t even cover the cost of his freebies.

“His house,” Martone said, “will be his prison.”

Then Arredondo’s friends and relatives in the courtroom burst into applause.

As did, I imagine, every other corrupt public official out there, the ones who haven’t yet been caught.


Jail pot smokers, let government crooks go free????

Arizona Republic thinks crooked politicians should get a free ride???

Hmmm ... So the folks that run the Arizona Republic think it is a waste of tax dollars to investigate crooked politicians who take bribes and in the case of Ben Arredondo crooked politicians that set up sham charities and screw donors out of $50,000.

On the other hand, based on past editorials the Republic has run they seem to think the government should continue to arrest and jail people for victimless crimes like smoking or selling marijuana, gambling, prostitution and other victimless crimes.

Personally I think the folks at the Arizona Republic have their values totally screwed up.

Government criminals like Ben Arredondo belong in prison, not on probation.

And of course the prisons are full of people who committed victimless drug war crimes. Those people should be ALL released. It is a waste of our tax dollars to jail these people for harmless and victimless crimes.

Source

Big waste on a small fry

Tom Tingle/The Republic

The Republic | azcentral.com Wed Jan 30, 2013 6:57 PM

Ben Arredondo crooked Tempe City Councilman, Ben Arredondo crooked Arizona Congressman, 
                Ben Arredondo crooked member of the Arizona State Legislator avoids prison and gets a slap on the wrist for his crimes In the annals of Arizona politicians who run afoul of the law, the case of United States vs. Ben Arredondo will never rank among the best of the bad.

The competition is stiff, after all. Evan Mecham. The “AzScammers” of the early 1990s. Fife Symington.

Arizona history likely will not even judge the malfeasance of this former Tempe city councilman (and, most recently, state legislator) as the political-misconduct story of 2012, a comparative down year, scandal-wise.

It isn’t even the biggest legislative scandal of the year. That “honor” goes to former state Rep. Richard Miranda, who got two years in prison for wire fraud and attempted tax evasion.

What will set the Arredondo case apart is the peculiar enthusiasm of the federal prosecution. [Per the US Constitution, Arizona cops should be investigating Arizona crooks, not Federal cops]

No one asserts Arredondo did not act badly. He solicited lots of tickets to sporting events from people with a clear political interest in pleasing him. Even though he seems to have given away all those tickets — in a glad-handing fashion — the scent of quid pro quo was all over Arredondo’s tawdry politics.

Still worse was Arredondo’s scholarship fund, which paid to educate a lot of Arredondo family members. [Arredondo use that scam to steal almost $50,000 for his relatives]

So, the former councilman and state representative got probation and house arrest. Just deserts. [That is a crock of BS!!! Ben Arredondo is a crook who should have been sent to prison]

But in the process of sentencing Arredondo, U.S. District Judge Frederick Martone took time to put the affair into some context:

Is an elaborate two-year sting operation the best use of federal resources in a case as small potatoes as this one? [On the other hand the Feds don't think anything of spending millions to investigate people for victimless drug war crimes. Crimes that hurt no one. I would rather have the put a crooked politician in prison then waste our tax dollars jailing pot smokers!!!!]

“I wonder whether the resources of the United States government were appropriately directed over the course of two years,” said Martone, who also wondered why federal prosecutors are not applying such zeal pursuing Wall Street mortgage-fraud cases.

We still know next to nothing about what prompted the Arredondo sting operation.

But we do know the government created a limited- liability corporation, staffed it with federal agents who ingratiated themselves with Arredondo by making at least $3,280 in campaign donations.

In two years beginning in 2009, the agents produced 10,000 pages of documents and more than 50 hours of video and audio tape — most of which had little or nothing to do with the Arredondo case, prosecutors would later admit.

Washington prosecutors have had a long-standing fascination with Arizona politicians. Federal investigators pored over the records of former Gov. Fife Symington’s development firm for more than five years before indicting him on counts unrelated to the original investigation. And need we even mention the Justice Department’s years-long infatuation with Maricopa County Sheriff Joe Arpaio? [That investigation seemed mainly on getting votes for Obama, not sending Sheriff Joe to prison where he belongs]

At least those cases involved substantial issues, such as suspected racial profiling in Arpaio’s case. And, in Symington’s case, the sort of bank fraud Martone said ought to be occupying the time of federal lawyers now.

With l’affair Arredondo, we kept waiting for the other shoe to drop. For the justification for the elaborate schemes to surface. None did.

The wrist-slap penalty to Arredondo was appropriate. The mind-boggling federal expense of time, effort and money was not. [A slap on the wrist for a government crook that screwed donors out of $50,000 they donated to Arredondo's sham scholarship fund???]


Probation for Ben Arredondo - Prison for for CEO John Junker

Feds seek prison for ex-Fiesta Bowl CEO John Junker

I find it kind of odd that the Fed's gave Tempe City Councilman, Arizona State Senator and Arizona House member Ben Arredondo a slap on the wrist for accepting bribes, oops I mean campaign contributions from the Fiesta Bowl, but want to put Fiesta Bowl CEO John Junker in prison for the same crime.

On the other hand lets face it government is pretty much corrupt at all levels from local city governments like Tempe to the Federal government.

Source

Feds seek prison for ex-Fiesta Bowl CEO John Junker

By Craig Harris The Republic | azcentral.com Sat May 25, 2013 10:44 PM

Federal prosecutors plan to seek a prison term of one year and one day for former Fiesta Bowl chief executive John Junker, who last year pleaded guilty to a felony conspiracy charge stemming from his role in an illegal campaign- finance scheme.

Junker’s federal sentencing is scheduled for June 24 in U.S. District Court in Phoenix. He also faces eventual sentencing in July on a state felony charge involving the same activities.

The federal prosecutors’ calls for a prison term for Junker were revealed in court filings last week.

Six current and former Fiesta Bowl employees were convicted of crimes stemming from the campaign-finance scheme uncovered by The Arizona Republic in 2009. If Junker goes to prison, he will be the only one to spend time behind bars. The lead prosecutor argues that Junker should do time because he led other bowl employees to break the law.

The Republic reported in December 2009 that certain then-current and past bowl employees said bowl funds were used to reimburse staff members who were encouraged to write checks to specific political candidates.

The employees told the newspaper that the effort was coordinated by Junker and others at the bowl, a tax-exempt non-profit organization, and that the money was delivered by lobbyists whom the bowl employed.

During much of the last decade, 11 staffers were reimbursed with bowl funds for more than $40,000 in political donations to local, state and federal candidates who were in positions to grant political favors.

The Republic’s report ultimately led to state and federal criminal investigations. Five current and former employees last year were sentenced to probation in state and federal courts. Four paid fines of up to $4,600.

Assistant U.S. Attorney Frank Galati, who is prosecuting Junker, did not return a call for comment. But his intention to seek prison time for Junker was disclosed by Junker’s attorney, Stephen Dichter, in a court filing last week seeking probation.

Dichter stated that the U.S. Attorney’s Office recently told him it would seek a prison sentence for Junker, and the filing said Senior U.S. Probation Officer Lisa Fields indicated that Junker’s crime calls for a prison sentence of 10 to 16 months. Fields did not return a call.

Galati, in a court filing earlier this month, said Junker was well aware of the employee-reimbursement scheme. Galati wrote that Junker directed the bowl’s chief operating officer to use bonuses to reimburse employees, and employees “committed crimes at Mr. Junker’s behest.”

Dichter argued in court filings and in an interview that Junker should receive no prison time because he assisted in the state’s ongoing investigation, and the U.S. Supreme Court subsequently struck down some campaign-finance laws relevant to the Fiesta Bowl matter. Dichter would not make Junker available for an interview.

“The conduct, yes, was illegal when it was done,” Dichter said. “But it’s not illegal anymore, and the amount of (Fiesta Bowl) money is very, very small.”

Dichter added that the amount of money involved in the Fiesta Bowl case is a fraction of the “dark money” funneled through non-profit organizations during the 2012 presidential election.

Dichter, a former federal prosecutor, said the sentence sought by the U.S. Attorney’s Office would allow Junker to get a 15 percent reduction for good behavior during time served. That would shave nearly two months off the sentence.

Junker in 2009 denied to The Republic that the campaign-contribution scheme occurred. A cover-up eventually was exposed to the bowl’s own board chairman by Junker’s assistant.

A subsequent independent investigation commissioned by the bowl substantiated The Republic’s revelations and uncovered other questionable financial activities.

It found that the political donations were made to build relationships with politicians who had influence over local stadium issues that affected the bowl. Donations also were made to federal candidates who could protect the bowl’s status and the controversial Bowl Championship Series, which had received antitrust threats.

There is no indication that any of the politicians who received contributions from bowl employees knew they were illegal. Bowl employees no longer make campaign contributions, and the Fiesta Bowl has cut ties with lobbyists and implemented a series of management reforms.

The Fiesta Bowl recently was named a member of the new College Football Playoff after enacting those reforms.

Junker was fired in March 2011 after the investigation found he received improper reimbursements, misspent bowl funds and was a key player in the illegal campaign-contribution scheme.

Junker pleaded guilty nearly a year later to the federal conspiracy charge. He also pleaded guilty in February 2012 to a state felony charge of soliciting a fraudulent scheme for his role in the campaign-contribution scandal. He also paid the bowl $62,500 in restitution.

After Junker pleaded, the offices of the U.S. attorney and the Arizona attorney general agreed to postpone his sentencing until this summer. They based their decisions on Junker’s willingness to help the Attorney General’s Office in an ongoing criminal investigation focused on Gary Husk, a former bowl lobbyist who has not been charged.

The Attorney General’s Office and FBI agents in late January 2012 raided Husk’s Phoenix office. Husk has maintained his innocence, but Junker and other current and former bowl employees have implicated him in the scheme.

The Attorney General’s Office did not respond to a request for comment Friday.

Junker faces sentencing on his state conviction on July 8 in Maricopa County Superior Court. The state has not publicly indicated if it will request prison time.

Junker’s plea agreement with state and federal prosecutors says he cannot serve more than a total of 21/2 years behind bars on both charges, but he also is eligible for parole.

He currently works for the Society of St. Vincent de Paul in Phoenix.

Dichter said he has 10 letters supporting probation for Junker that he will submit to the courts. Dichter said he lined up “some interesting people” to support Junker, but he has not identified them.


More articles on government crook Ben Arredondo

Here are some prior articles on crooked Tempe City Councilman Ben Arredondo and crooked Arizona State legislator Ben Arredondo.

And even some more articles on Ben Arredondo

 


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