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Posts Tagged ‘first amendment’

Jones Claim Against Judge Putz-Artrip And Town Of Parker

03 Feb

A letter of claim has been delivered to the Town of Parker and others as described below. This claim is directly related to another described on this blog today. READ FULL LETTER OF CLAIM

This claim … arises out of the negligent actions of [Parker Magistrate Judge] James Putz-Artrip, acting outside of judicial immunity… Judge James Putz-Artrip signed administrative search warrant SW-2013-002 as “Judge Quartzsite Municipal Court”, which had the effect that Jennifer Jones and her husband John Jones were subject [to] a false light invasion of their privacy in a heated confrontation with four armed Quartzsite Police Officers and the Community Development Director.

No arrest or citations… a false and defamatory press release was subsequently issued… by The Town of Quartzsite… had the effect of forcing the Jones’ to relocate…Mr. Jones was then harassed by BLM law enforcement officers Conde and Thompson…. the application was for a non-criminal search warrant …extra due diligence would have been appropriate… no physical evidence such as photographs, video, or even copies of referenced codes or ordinances over the alleged ‘violations’ were submitted in support of … warrant… “

 
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“Going Quartzsite”

24 Jan

A new phrase has been coined by the largest news organization in Arizona. The Arizona Republic reports on website AZCentral.com:  “Cave Creek, Don’t Become The New Quartzsite“. The governing Council of Cave Creek, Arizona is experiencing strong resistance to their leadership. A recall is being organized there against 6 newly elected members.

Quoting the article: The syndrome has a name. Cave Creek, it appears, is going “Quartzsite.” In 2011, the tiny western Arizona town of Quartzsite was convulsed in political in-fighting so chaotic that observers were calling on the governor to send in the state police to restore order.

 

 
 

Quartzsite Chief Gilbert Fouls Out At His Firing

22 Oct
Jeff Gilbert

Jeff Gilbert

Jeff Gilbert was terminated (fired) without stated cause by the Quartzsite Town Council today. His last act was to stand at the podium during the call to the public and break a very significant rule. He decided to turn around and face the public and “thank” the town (his foul-out). It is well known that a speaker must face and address only the Council from this podium, not turn to the public.

Ironically, Jeff Gilbert personally participated in the arrest of his nemesis Jennifer Jones about two years ago at the same podium and for the same act – facing the public from the podium. Her elbow was broken by Officer Rick Paterson during that widely criticized arrest. Another irony – the same mayor presided today, as in 2011, but did not object to Gilbert’s obvious infraction.

“I am still the chief” was a familiar statement from this former police chief. This was his second firing by the town in about one year. His firing in 2012 was reversed. The Town of Quartzsite is now burdened with many claims and lawsuits as a result of actions by Gilbert and his cops. The Town is thus clinging to sub-prime liability insurance it sought after its participation in the economical Arizona Municipal Risk Pool was cancelled.

The Jennifer Jones arrest two years ago:

 
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Gilford vs. Quartzsite

10 Jul

Local resident Douglas Gilford has brought suit against the Town of Quartzsite and 30 individuals, seeking damages and injunctive relief.

Read Amended Complaint Gilford vs Quartzsite

 
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Town’s Insurance Cancelled This January

13 Oct

Laura Bruno

An extraordinarily bad thing has happened to the Town of Quartzsite. With emphasis on poor Town management, the insurance “pool” has decided to terminate Quartzsite’s participation as of January 6, 2013. The cancellation of the all-important insurance is being connected to Town management issues. Five problem areas were cited in a letter from the Arizona Municipal Risk Retention Pool (the pool). Each of the five problems appear to be the responsibility of the current new Interim Town Manager Laura Bruno.

Ms. Bruno is just 3 weeks into the job. She has failed to maintain the underwriting requirements set out for the Town by the “pool”. Ms. Bruno has stated that the Town will just seek other insurance. (She has earlier stated that she gained the pool’s agreement to continue the Town’s participation in the pool.) Unfortunately, it is generally known that alternate insurance may well not be available to a small town with lots of pending money claims and lawsuits against it. Even more are known to be coming. If new insurance is even available, the cost to taxpayers is expected to be steep.

The only hope held out is that Quartzsite has a 90 day re-instatement period to make it all right by Jan. 6.

==========================================

October 5, 2012

Laura Bruno
Interim Town Manager
Town of Quartzsite
P.O. Box 2812
Quartzsite, AZ 85346

Dear Ms. Bruno,

I am writing to inform you the Arizona Municipal Risk Retention Pool (AMRRP) has made the difficult decision to terminate the Town of Quartzsite’s coverage under its Property and Liability Coverage Agreements because the Town is failing to satisfy underwriting requirements. This letter is the Town’s notice of coverage termination effective midnighton January 6, 2013. The Town’s workers’ compensation coverage with AMRRP will continue under the existing Workers’ Compensation Coverage Agreement.

The Town of Quartzsite’s Membership Agreement includes the following provision:

5. Termination of Agreement.

5.1 With Cause. The Board may at any time during the term of this Agreement or any extensions thereof suspend or terminate coverage for (i) nonpayment of the Coverage Fees or any other breach by the Member of the terms of this Agreement; or (ii) the failure to satisfy underwriting requirements established by the Pool. In such case, coverage shall be suspended or terminated and membership shall be terminated pursuant to Section 8 of this Agreement.

AMRRP is invoking its right to terminate Quartzsite’s Property and Liability Coverage pursuant to this provision. AMRRP has made every effort to avoid the need for this action. The Town received letters dated September 7, September 25 and September 27, all of which communicated the seriousness of underwriting concerns in Quartzsite. In those letters, AMRRP cited the following specific concerns which to date have not been effectively addressed:

• Failure to provide adequate Town management to ensure that typical governmental and administrative controls are properly in place for the protection of the public and the Town’s employees.
• Failure to maintain and effectively manage a loss control program.
• Full utilization of AMRRP’s Personnel Assistant Lifeline (PAL) for employment decisions.
• Leadership and management action to reduce risk and improve the risk profile of the Town.
• Solicitation and following of advice from the League regarding appropriate Town management and decision making processes.

Ongoing factional disputes within the Quartzsite Town Council and resulting employment decisions have created numerous claims and the potential for additional losses. AMRRP has received more than thirty claims against Quartzsite since early 2010, many related to the factional decision-making practices of the Town Council and ensuing employment disputes. In its history, AMRRP has never received so many claims against a municipality in so short a time and of such a nature as in Quartzsite.

Quartzsite’s actions and operating environment have created a very serious financial drain on resources contributed to AMRRP by other Arizona cities and towns, and will continue to do so if the Pool does not take immediate action. Quartzsite’s continued failure to rectify these circumstances and take effective corrective measures means the Town is not able to meet AMRRP’s underwriting requirements for coverage.

Section 5.1 of the Membership Agreement affords Quartzsite with certain rights that are set forth in
Section 8 of the Agreement. Section 8 states:

Suspension. In the event the Member (i) fails to pay its Coverage Fees as specified herein; (ii) fails to comply with any of the other terms of this Agreement; or (iii) fails to satisfy underwriting requirements established by the Pool, the Board may, if such failure is not cured after ten (10) days’ written notice, terminate the Member’s coverage under the applicable Coverage Agreement. The date of such termination shall be referred to as the “Coverage Termination Date” Notwithstanding such termination of coverage, the Member shall retain its rights to the return of any surplus or other distributions from or assets of the Pool for a ninety (90) day period (the “Ninety Day Reinstatement Period”) following such notice by the Pool. To retain this right, the Member must notify the Pool in writing during the Ninety Day Reinstatement Period of the Member’s election (the “Reinstatement Election”) to reinstate coverage by delivering to the Pool a payment in an amount equal to any outstanding Coverage Fees and otherwise curing the failure giving rise to the termination of coverage. Upon the Pool’s receipt of such payment and evidence documenting that the Member has cured the failure giving rise to the termination of coverage, together with such underwriting data and other information as the Pool may reasonably request, and provided that the Administrator determines (in the exercise of the • Administrator’s sole and absolute discretion) that the reinstatement of coverage is appropriate based on sound business judgment, loss control and underwriting criteria, and loss experience during the Ninety Day Reinstatement Period (or applicable portion thereof), coverage under the applicable Coverage Agreement will be reinstated, effective as of the Coverage Termination Date. If the Member fails to provide the Pool the Reinstatement Election (together with such documentation, data and other information as required pursuant to this Section 8 ) during the Ninety Day Reinstatement Period, or if the Member provides the Reinstatement Election (together with such documentation, data and other information as required pursuant to this Section 8 ) during the Ninety Day Reinstatement Period and the Member’s coverage reinstatement is denied pursuant to this Section 8, upon the expiration of the Ninety Day Reinstatement Period, the Member shall cease to be a member of the Pool and shall lose all rights as a member of the Pool including (without limitation) the right to return of any surplus or other distributions from or assets of the Pool and coverage under any Coverage Agreement. In the event of such termination, the Member shall be relieved of any liability for ordinary Coverage Fees under Section 7 for fiscal years after the year of the Member’s termination. The Member’s liability for additional assessments shall continue to the extent provided in Section 9 below.

Pursuant to Sections 5 and 8 of the Membership Agreement, AMRRP hereby gives notice of its intent to terminate Quartzsite’s Property and Liability coverage effective on midnight, January 6, 2013. Quartzsite has the right to correct its current failure to meet underwriting guidelines within the next ninety days, which will serve as Quartzsite’s “Ninety Day Reinstatement Period.” Quartzsite may seek reinstatement of its coverage within this period by presenting AMRRP with evidence demonstrating that it has cured all of its failures giving rise to this termination of coverage. If after Quartzsite has provided evidence of correction AMRRP determines, in the exercise its sole and absolute discretion, reinstatement of coverage is appropriate based on sound business judgment, loss control and underwriting criteria, and loss experience during the Ninety Day Reinstatement Period, coverage under the Coverage Agreement will be reinstated.

Please let me know if you have any questions regarding this termination notice.

Sincerely,

Ann Gergen
President for-AMRRP

(Above is a transcription of a cancellation letter to the Town of Quartzsite Arizona from its “insurance” carrier, Arizona Municipal Risk Retention Pool. Emphasis added by editor.)

CLICK HERE TO VIEW OR SAVE THE LETTER OF CANCELLATION

 
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Quartzsite Radio Show

12 Sep

There is a a two hour (internet) radio show gaining in popularity in Quartzsite. It is hosted by local resident Richard Abbey. Listen to last night’s episode at: QUARTZSITE RADIO SHOW . Glen Gimbut was the featured guest. Mr. Gimbut is the City Attorney for San Luis Arizona.

 
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Quartzsite Police Chief JEFF GILBERT FIRED

11 Sep

Jeff Gilbert

Jeff Gilbert, embattled Quartzsite Police Chief (suspended with pay) was fired today (no more pay) .  The Town issued a press release at 8:42 am without informing the Town Council. Council went into a public meeting at 9:00 am without knowing of the firing. There was no  announcement made to the public at the meeting.

Gilbert is said to be on vacation out of the state. Most recently a complaint was made against him for displaying his gun in hand to a man who was at Gilbert’s residence with legal papers to serve. Gilbert ordered the man off his property but the man never set foot on Gilbert’s lot.

Many reasons were given for dumping Gilbert in the letter accompanying the press release. Many local residents who suffered serious abuse by the chief and his department expressed that they will not miss him. READ   Press Release – Gilbert Fired

 

 
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Quartzsite Woman Seeks Supervisor Position

08 Aug

Jennifer Jones

 

Jennifer Jones will appear on the August 25 primary ballot for La Paz County Supervisor, District  3 (the part of town south of Interstate 10). She is the only Quartzsite candidate to appear on the ballot. HEAR HER ADDRESS THE PUBLIC at “Meet the Candidates” night last July 26.

Audio much appreciated, contributed by Southwest Desert News / MPI, LLC (copyright)

 
 

Mark Orgeron Seated On Council

27 Jul

 

Mark Orgeron

At today’s special Quartzsite Town Council meeting, Mark Orgeron was sworn in as Council member by Judge T. Carnevale. Orgeron replaces Barbara Cowell who was to attend the meeting but did not appear. She has been accused of usurping. Mr. Orgeron was elected May 15 in the general election. Town leadership took actions to prevent him from taking his Council seat. Since that date, hundreds of very patient Quartzsite voters have waited to see their newly elected official “on the job”. Mr. Orgeron was warmly greeted by members of the Town Council who only hours before had defied his right to the seat. Mr. Orgeron was forced to hire law firm Snell & Wilmer LLP to take the Town to United States District Court in Phoenix to bring about the inevitable outcome. This nearly all at Town taxpayer expense of tens of thousands of dollars.

Mr. Orgeron will begin his duties immediately. He is your representative if you live in Quartzsite. He can be contacted by calling the Town offices at (928) 927-4333.

Video much appreciated, contributed by Southwest Desert News / MPI, LLC (copyright)

 
 

Attention! Council Meets Tomorrow – Wednesday 9:30am

24 Jul

SPECIAL MEETING CALLED

Tomorrow at 9:30 am the Quartzsite Town Council will meet to essentially consider allowing newly elected Council member Mark Orgeron to be properly recognized. Orgeron brought a legal action against the Town of Quartzsite in U.S. District Court in Phoenix to force the Town to drop their resistance to allowing him to take his Council seat. The Town and Orgeron’s attorney Kory Langhofer of Snell & Wilmer L.L.P. reached a settlement agreement compromise, which the Council will have an opportunity to approve at the meeting.

Kory A. Langhofer

 

 
 

New Councilman Mark Orgeron Prevails In Federal Court

21 Jul

Story contributed by Quartzsite Outsider

Late Friday afternoon federal Judge Roslyn Silver ruled in favor of Quartzsite Town Councilman-in-waiting Mark Orgeron, in the matter of Orgeron v. Town of Quartzsite.

At issue was the Town’s patently frivolous contention that Mr. Orgeron was not a resident of Quartzsite. Judge Silver was very  gracious toward the Town, giving it every benefit of the doubt, not getting angry or using the word “frivolous.” Nevertheless, it’s clear from what she wrote, (excerpts below), that the Town had no basis to prevent Mr. Orgeron from taking his duly elected seat. One hopes, given her statements, that she will award Mr. Orgeron attorney fees because the Town forced him into this action.

But it’s not quite over. Unfortunately, Judge Silver did not immediately order the Town to seat Mr. Orgeron, but told the parties to confer and offer a joint proposed order. Their deadline is Tuesday the 24th, the day of yet another Town Council meeting without the Town’s duly elected official in office.

(Mr. Orgeron had also sought to use this action to seat Mayor-elect-in-waiting Ed Foster. However, since Mr. Foster was not a party to this lawsuit, Judge Silver could not make a ruling to seat him one way or the other. Mr. Foster is still waiting on the state’s Quo Warranto action.)

Judge Silver’s Order can be downloaded  HERE .

Poignant excerpt below:

———-

The Court admits to some confusion regarding Defendants’ decision to disqualify Plaintiff based on these statutes.   There can be no serious dispute that Plaintiff had an “actual physical presence” in Quartzsite for close to three years prior to the election.

Defendants [Town] presumably had some basis for determining Plaintiff was not a resident of Quartzsite but Defendants chose not to present the Court with that basis.

————–

 
 

Machine Guns, Ropes, Video Recorders

17 Jul

Honorable Councilwoman Pat Workman was today publicly insulted by this letter from the Town of Quartzsite. The so-called “CONFIDENTIAL” letter was seen laid face up on the receptionist’s desk for all passersby to see, even the public.

EDITORIAL. You guys in Town Hall slay me. Your bad jokes are killing me. This one bombed. Fasten your seatbelts for a crash!

Councilman Joe Winslow threatens to machine gun 5 people in the front row of public seating, and you don’t react. Now, you claim that newly elected Councilwoman Pat Workman is too dangerous a person to be near Town staff in the employee areas. It’s a good thing that she wasn’t trying to video record anybody, or she might have been immediately arrested! it’s a good thing she didn’t try to speak publicly at the podium, or she might have had her arm broken! LOL.

 
 

Let’s Replay Their Own Words

17 Jul

March 27 2012, at the Council Meeting, at 17 minutes into the meeting:

Speaking about Resolution 12-07 Town Attorney Martin Brannan states “This doesn’t authorize an expenditure of any town funds. We are requesting other government agencies to do investigations, if they say no, they say no. It wouldn’t authorize the town to take any independent action or to hire an investigative firm or spend any money ” And then council passed the resolution.

Then on to the July 10 meeting new Councilwoman Pat Workman questioned a check [town funds] written to a private investigative firm [Humphries Investigative Services].

Town Manager Alexandra Taft answered her question this way. “That resolution [resolution 12-7] stated that I was to proceed with the investigation, it was quite clear”. Councilperson Workman responded “So it was authorized by you then”. Taft: “No,  it was authorized by the council”.

Contrary to Resolution 12-07, at this time at least $30,000 of Town funds have been paid or committed to private investigative firms for the purpose of investigating the Town’s own residents!

Story and Video by Bill Moore, Southwest Desert News, Quartzsite AZ – Thanks Bill!

 
 

Town Manager Accused Of Embezzling

16 Jul

Alexandra Taft

On Thursday, July 12, newly sworn-in Quartzsite Councilwoman Patricia Workman filed a complaint with the Arizona Attorney General, alleging that Quartzsite Town Manager, Alexandra Taft, has embezzled public monies and engaged in felony Tampering with a Public Record. (See letter to Chief Special Agent Andrew Rubalcava, Special Investigations Section of the Criminal Division.

http://aview.info/A-View/Library/PDF/QTZ-Town/WORKMAN/Workman-12-07-13-Complaint%20to%20AZ%20AG%20re%20TOQ%20by%20Workman-AV.pdf

The incumbents are probably surprised at Councilwoman Workman’s boldness. She has proven herself to be quite a “sleeper.”  She was the only one of three newly elected officials the incumbents seated after the May election. Perhaps they thought she couldn’t stand up to them by herself. But stand up she has. In last week’s council meeting, she tabled the issuance of yet another questionable large check that the Town Manager, Alexandra Taft, single-handedly may have issued to a private investigation agency. (Although speculation among locals is that the incumbents know all about the checks from yet another secret, closed (illegal) meeting. And Councilwoman Workman has reason to believe that the check has been sent, despite awaiting council action. They tabled the check’s approval.)

The private investigation agency is likely investigating voters who voted against the incumbents. A typical letter is posted here: http://aview.info/A-View/Library/PDF/QTZ-Town/LOYD/Loyd-12-06-28-Hergert%20Letter-AV.pdf

Councilwoman Workman has not just been standing up for the voters, now she’s moving forward, formally filing complaint for felony embezzlement by Town Manager Taft for issuing these checks to the Investigator without Town Council approval. Checks totaling more than $30,000, well over Taft’s discretionary spending limit of $5,000. There is no record in the Council minutes that Workman can find which properly authorizes these checks.

Councilwoman Workman also alleges that Taft committed felony record tampering when Taft refused to let Councilwoman Workman see the contract for the Investigator. According to Workman, Taft told the Councilwoman that she (Workman) had to file a Public Record Request to see the record! Never mind that Councilwoman Workman is a public servant. As such, Taft’s refusal to allow the Councilwoman to inspect the public record violates A.R.S. 13-2407(A)(5). A Class 6 felony.

http://www.azleg.state.az.us/FormatDocument.asp?inDoc=/ars/13/02407.htm&Title=13&DocType=ARS

And the Town Assistant Manager Al Johnsoneven refuses to let Councilwoman Workman into the
staff area to get her mail!

But that’s the typical lawlessness the voters voted to stop in Quartzsite. Councilwoman Workman ran on a platform with (now) Mayor-elect-in-waiting Ed Foster and Councilman-in-waiting Mark Orgeron. Despite an almost 50% voter turnout where Orgeron and Foster won a majority of votes, the incumbents refuse to seat them. (Even though the former Mayor finally resigned.) Orgeron is fighting for his seat in federal court and Foster is waiting for his seat via the State’s Quo Warranto action. (And yet another  thwarted Councilman is fighting against an incumbent in the Arizona Court of Appeals!)

Councilwoman Workman can be reached at QuartzsiteRose@Yahoo.com. Mayor-elect-in-waiting Ed Foster can be reached at 928-750-8113. Agent Rubalcava can be reached at 602-542-3881.

Story contributed by Quartzsite Outsider

 
 

Orgeron vs. Town Of Quartzsite Moves Ahead In Federal Court

05 Jul

Today Judge Roslyn Silver issued an order. Click on image to view.

Set your calendar for Thursday, July 12, 1:30 pm at the U.S. District Court in Phoenix for an Evidentiary hearing in the matter of Orgeron v. Town of Quartzsite.

This is the unusual federal lawsuit, possibly one of first impression, where Mr. Orgeron won a recent election for Quartzsite Town Council, but the incumbents refuse to seat him and the new Mayor! (Even though the incumbent Mayor finally resigned last week.)

The incumbents are (illegally?) spending a lot of the voter’s money to stay in power, claiming Mr. Orgeron is not qualified for the seat because, they say, he hadn’t been a resident for a year. Mr. Orgeron is seeking a Restraining Order from the federal court, ordering the incumbents out and he and Mayor-elect-in-waiting Ed Foster in.

It should be an interesting hearing Thursday because the Quartzsite Town attorney, in an earlier legal filing for a similar state action (now in the Arizona court of appeals), has argued that the time to challenge the qualifications of a candidate is BEFORE an election. Not after. (As the Town is doing here.)

Room 604. Case number is 12-CV-01238-PHX-ROS on PACER.GOV. (Most of the filings can already be downloaded for free via the Recap extension for Firefox or from the Recap archive.)

 
 
 

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