Maricopa County Spends $10.1 Million to Defend Arpaio

'America's Toughest Sheriff' is costing taxpayers millions.

By Julianne Hing Nov 19, 2010

First, Maricopa County and "America’s Toughest Sheriff" Joe Arpaio went after county supervisors, judges and public employees with criminal inquiries, which they say were initiated as retaliation for being critical of Arpaio and his regime. Now, at least 20 people have filed claims against the sheriff for those investigations, and Maricopa County has decided it will spend $10.1 million to defend Arpaio’s antics, reports the Arizona Republic.

The board of supervisors voted Wednesday on the matter, but two supervisors, Don Stapley and Mary Rose Wilcox, had to recuse themselves from the vote because they say they’ve been targeted by Arpaio.

In recent years Arpaio has opened criminal investigations into both Wilcox and Stapley, charging Wilcox with perjury, forgery and conflict of interest. Earlier this year, Wilcox was cleared of any wrongdoing by a county judge, but not before being put through an embarrassing and expensive public ordeal.

In 2009 a grand jury indicted Stapley on more than a hundred counts of wrongdoing connected to his personal financial record-keeping. A judge cleared him of most of the charges, but then Arpaio even ordered Stapley arrested for several counts of fraud and theft. Now Stapley has filed a claim against the county for what he called a false arrest.

Wilcox has filed a $4.75 million claim against Maricopa County and Stapley a $10 million claim. In total, the county is facing $56 million claims from public officials who they say were unfairly investigated by Arpaio.