Tempe calendar offers glimpse into Ben Arredondo caseI wonder if Joel Navarro, Corey Woods and Robin Arredondo-Savage are crooks like Ben Arredondo is allegedly??
Second how can Ben Arredondo possible get a fair trial if the FBI won't tell us the name of the company he allegedly accepted bribes from other then calling it "Company A"??? Yes, I don't like Ben Arredondo but even if he is a crook he is entitled to a fair trail.
Tempe calendar offers glimpse into Ben Arredondo case
by Dianna M. Náñez - Jul. 14, 2012 07:25 AM
The Republic | azcentral.com
A calendar that lists Tempe City Council members' appointments during the period when federal agents posing as real-estate developers met with Rep. Ben Arredondo may shed light on the FBI sting operation.
The bulk of the federal investigation occurred during Arredondo's final term as a Tempe councilman, which ended in July 2010.
A federal indictment against Arredondo states that he brokered meetings between two Tempe council members, an incoming council member and federal agents posing as representatives of a fictitious developer. Arredondo is believed to have facilitated the introduction so the developer would have "personal access to the City Council after his departure," according to the indictment.
The calendar, provided by Tempe in response to an Arizona Republic public-records request, shows that on June 17, 2010, council members Joel Navarro and Corey Woods attended a 2 p.m. lunch meeting with Arredondo and Bill Monahan. There is no listing of whom Monahan represents or why he was meeting with the council members.
Navarro and Woods have acknowledged exclusively to The Republic that they were the council members whom Arredondo had arranged to meet with the developer connected to the FBI sting. Councilwoman Robin Arredondo-Savage also confirmed that Arredondo, who is her uncle, had her meet with the developer after she was elected to her first term just prior to her July 2010 swearing-in.
The three council members have stated that they did nothing wrong and that they had no knowledge of Arredondo accepting items from the fictitious developer. Likewise, Arredondo did not tell city officials or council members that he had received anything of value, according to the indictment.
Arredondo was indicted May 16 on bribery, mail fraud, lying and extortion charges stemming from the FBI sting between February 2009, when Arredondo was a Tempe councilman, and November 2010, shortly after he won the District 17 state House seat. The longtime GOP politico switched parties prior to winning the legislative race.
The indictment alleges that Arredondo accepted about $6,000 in tickets to sporting and charity events in exchange for giving undercover agents the inside track on a Tempe land deal. Arredondo has pleaded not guilty.
Campaign-finance reports filed with the Secretary of State's Office show that Monahan is among four donors who listed Longford Solutions as their employer. They each contributed $410 on May 17, 2010, when Arredondo was running for the state House seat.
Tempe spokeswoman Nikki Ripley said the city has no public records related to Longford Solutions. Arredondo-Savage and Navarro have told The Republic that they cannot recall the name of the fictitious FBI company, while Woods said he can't comment on an ongoing investigation. Public records show that the company no longer exists.
Federal prosecutors have kept the name of the real-estate development company a secret, referring to it only as "Company A." In the indictment filed by the U.S. Department of Justice Public Integrity Section, Arredondo is said to have met with "Company A, a fictitious company whose business objective was purportedly to develop real-estate projects."
According to the indictment, representatives of Company A "were, in fact, undercover agents with the FBI."
Last month, when U.S. District Magistrate Lawrence Anderson granted federal prosecutors' request to seal certain discovery documents, the secrecy surrounding the case signaled to state legal experts interviewed by The Republic that the federal probe could extend beyond Arredondo.
Federal prosecutors asked for the order because they worried that if the "confidential information were publicly disclosed," it might impede investigations, which are ongoing, and disclose witnesses' addresses and phone numbers.
The U.S. Department of Justice has provided Arredondo's attorneys about 139 hours of audio and video recordings and about 790,400 pages of written material related to its investigation.
Although the federal government has not charged anyone besides Arredondo, state legal analysts have said that the mountain of discovery documents, coupled with the federal government's request to seal those documents to protect witnesses and ongoing investigations, are solid indications that the FBI investigation is widespread.
At the Capitol, speculation that lobbyist Mike Williams might be tied to the FBI probe led to Williams being asked to leave a legislative fundraiser last month.
Records filed with the secretary of state show that Williams was a lobbyist for Longford Solutions from March 2009 to June 2010, within the period of the federal investigation. He was a lobbyist for Tempe from December 2003 to January 2011.
Williams said he did not attend the June 17, 2010, meeting with Tempe council members and Monahan. He declined to comment on Longford, or whether Longford is the Company A in the FBI sting.
Williams was asked last month to leave a fundraiser for Sen. Michele Reagan and Rep. Michelle Ugenti, political consultant and lobbyist Stan Barnes said.
"He walked in and said, 'Good news, I'm not wearing a wire,' " Barnes said. "That just sucked the oxygen out of the room."
Reporter Mary Jo Pitzl contributed to this story.
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