When a politician or someone of note has a story about him or her on a Friday, he or she should thank the news media profusely. The general thinking is that a story run on a Friday before a weekend when readers are preoccupied by weekend fun will be rapidly forgotten. It’s a ploy that has been used for years. This time it may not work as well as expected. This story will not fade away and will continue to smolder much like a hay fire burning itself out.

Paul Giblin and Craig Harris wrote a piece in the Friday, January 31, 2014 edition of the Arizona Republic relating possible ethics violations by former Glendale City Attorney Craig Tindall entitled “Ethics questions hit ex-Glendale city attorney.” It relates that Tindall attempted to solicit a state income tax credit for his son’s tuition at a private school. He used a city computer to do so. Reportedly he sent his solicitation to at least 40 people. They included:

  • Former City Manager Ed Beasley
  • Former Deputy City Manager Art Lynch
  • Fire Chief Mark Burdick
  • Current Interim Assistant City Manager Julie Frisoni
  • Lobbyist Gary Husk (who recently received probation and community service from the court)
  • Chip Scutari, public relations
  • Lynne Greene, Renaissance Hotel General Manager
  • Peter Sullivan, University of Phoenix executive
  • Jim Foss, Jobing.com  executive
  • Attorney Aaron Cain, Fennemore Craig
  • Attorney Andrew Federhar, Fennemore Craig
  • Attorney Sharon Oscar, Fennemore Craig
  • Attorney Cathy Reece, Fennemore Craig
  • Attorney Sarah Strunk, Fennemore Craig
  • Attorney Christian Beams, Ryley Carlock & Applewhite
  • Attorney Michael Moberly, Ryley Carlock & Applewhite
  • Attorney William Wilder, Ryley Carlock & Applewhite
  • Attorney Former U.S. Rep. John Shadegg, Steptoe & Johnson
  • Attorney Jordan Rose, Rose Law Group
  • Attorney Nicholas Wood, Snell & Wilmer
  • Former Coyotes owner, Steve Ellman
  • Coyotes President Mike Nealy
  • John MacDonald and his wife, Dana Paschke, lobbyists for Glendale
  • Former U.S. Attorney for Arizona Jose de Jesus Rivera, Haralson, Miller, Pitt, Feldman & McAnally

Obviously this is not a complete list. Tindall contends that he was doing a public service by providing information about the state income tax credit for school tuition yet reportedly he happened to mention his son as a possible recipient several times in his “informational emailing.”

You should have problems with his actions if for no other reason than he used a city computer to send what was essentially a personal message/solicitation. One of the first “no-nos” that every city employee learns is that the city equipment, including use of a city computer is for city business only. Tindall and members of his staff taught city ethics to various employee groups and would be very conversant with this restriction.

Hackles should go up at the thought that his very selective recipient list included a lot of people with which Glendale did business. They were put in an awkward position. Would their non-responsiveness hurt them in securing further business from the city? Would their support garner them further business with the city?

Jose de Jesus Rivera, one of Tindall’s email recipients, just happened to secure the contract to conduct the external audit at a cost of over half a million dollars and in one Rivera email response even asked if the RFP for the contract had been released.  Hmmm.

Tindall’s questionable action serves to highlight the web of relationships within the City of Glendale before Ed Beasley’s retirement. Lynch, Burdick and Frisoni were all confidants of former City Manager Ed Beasley. Some of these people had no problem supporting Tindall in his quest to become Interim City Manager by trashing former Assistant City Manager Horatio Skeete who prevailed in securing the job.

It leads to another troubling issue regarding Tindall’s employment. From 2009 until IceArizona’s successful bid to secure the Jobing.com arena management contract Tindall was the city’s attorney. He was privy to the nuances of EVERY deal that came before the city. When he left city employ he spent a brief month at a private law firm before being hired as General Counsel for none other than…can you guess? IceArizona! Several people, including former Councilmember Phil Lieberman, have questioned whether his extensive insider knowledge led to the demise of the Greg Jamison bid and the success of IceArizona. Who knows? We may find out someday…but that “someday” could be just a smidge closer. Lieberman filed a complaint with the Attorney General’s office about the propriety of Tindall’s dual employment for several months continuing to advise the city while being employed by IceArizona. We will have to wait and see if it comes of anything but I’m not holding my breath on this one.

The media’s reporting of Tindall’s problematic judgment and self-serving actions brings into question everything he did, every decision that he made during his years as City Attorney. One that comes to mind is his decision to reject just enough voter ballots in the Goulette-Bohart contest for the Ocotillo council district seat resulting in Goulette’s victory. Or his decision to release the audit information about the city’s trust funds at the very same time he was vying to become Interim City Manager should give you pause. Or the extent of his involvement with pro-sales tax increase groups working to defeat the citizen initiative driven election to kill the temporary sales tax increase?

Tindall was viewed as smart, pleasant and competent by some but as the layers begin to fall away we may begin to see a different view…one not so smart, pleasant and competent.

I will be releasing another blog later today with some other interesting tidbits that have been passed on to me as well as the latest Bidwill blast.

I have posted a new, informal poll about Tindall to the left of this column and as usual, if you would like to know when my next blog is posted you can sign up via an email alert to the right of this column. 65% of the responses to my last poll regarding the health of Glendale’s finances said they did not believe that Glendale could straighten out its financial mess.

© Joyce Clark, 2014


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