Disclaimer: The comments in this blog are my personal opinion and may or may not reflect an adopted position of the city of Glendale and its city council.

I reviewed mayoral candidate Michelle Robertson’s campaign filing and it confirms much of what I had said in previous blogs. The campaign is reporting $52,565.00 in contributions and $26,800.00 in expenses leaving a balance of $25,765.00. As I have indicated this is only a partial snapshot in time. The next campaign financial filing, due after the election, will fill in the rest of the picture. Don’t forget this filing only represents through June 30, 2020. A lot of receipts and expenditures will occur during the month of July.

There are several interesting observations about campaign contributions received. One is that PAC contributions of $34,400 are double that of individual contributions of $17,740. Here is the current roster of PAC contributions:

  • Phoenix International Firefighters Assn Local 493 $5,000.00
  • United Phoenix Firefighters Tempe Chapter $5,000.00
  • Surprise Firefighters $4,000.00
  • United Phoenix Firefighters Chandler Chapter $4,000.00
  • International Assn of Sheet Metal Workers Local 359 $1,000.00
  • Arizona Pipe Trades PAC     $12,900.00
  • Arizona List PAC                                                           $1,000.00
  • United Food & Commercial Workers Local 99 $1,500.00

It is a veritable ‘Who’s Who’ of unions in Arizona. Expect to see more unions listed or additional contributions from these PACs in her next filing after the election.

Individual contributions reflect many of the same players who have endorsed her or represent those disaffected groups coalescing around her candidacy. Here are the more notable, whose names you may recognize from previous blogs:

  • Cheryl Knappes (downtown Glendale merchant)       $50.00
  • Jane Bachman (Save Glen Lakes)                                                 $50.00
  • Yvonne Knaack (former Glendale councilmember)    $100.00
  • Jim Colson (former Glendale employee)                               $100.00
  • Bruce Heatwole (friend of Councilmember Turner)    $150.00
  • Payam Raouf (downtown Glendale property owner) $1,500.00
  • Bart Turner (current Glendale councilmember) $250.00
  • Julie Frisoni (member of Ed Beasley inner circle)    $250.00
  • Mark Burdick (former mayoral candidate, fire chief) $500.00

The campaign has expended $26,800.00 to date. It is interesting to note than more than half of that amount, $16,544.41 was in consultancy fees:

  • Ben Scheel $4,085.19
  • Brian Irvine $6,026.60
  • Bright Phoenix LLC $2,182.62
  • Todd Landfried $4,250.00

Let’s add in what the Fire union PAC, First Responders for a Safe Glendale, spent on Robertson’s behalf. It is a total of $17,820.77 for campaign signs ($14,485.13) and campaign door hangers ($1,515.62).

Recently Robertson has had to respond to a series of allegations. Although to date she has been silent. I guess she hopes if she does not respond they will go away. One allegation has been made by the former Chief Financial Officer of the Cartwright School District. He contends that after he refused to approve a ‘no-bid’ contract and was, in essence, constructively discharged from his position Robertson filed a sexual harassment charge against him. There is plenty of material out there in the public domain that you can consider. In the public domain are a series of rather sexually inflammatory emails Robertson reportedly sent to the former Chief Financial Officer.

Also in the public domain are the results of Robertson’s divorce. During the case Robertson claimed her husband sexually abused their daughter. There was a lengthy investigation by a psychologist whose findings were that the allegation was not based in fact. Her ex-husband subsequently was granted visitation rights of the minor child.

If you go to the Arizona Corporation Commission website and search for Empire Holdings LLC you will discover Michelle Robertson was their Statutory Agent from 2014 until 2020. The principal member of Empire is someone name Ara Debroghossian. Mr. Debroghossian was convicted in 2011 on criminal charges related to a drug ring sting and received a 31/2-year prison sentence (New Times, July 21, 2012).

Robertson filed to become a mayoral candidate in March of 2020. I can’t provide the exact date as the city website for campaign filings is down right now.  If I remember correctly she filed her committee on or about March 16, 2020 just several days after her resignation on March 11, 2020, as Statutory Agent of Empire Holdings. Was it another attempt to wipe her past clean?

In her resignation statement she states she never agreed to be the Statutory Agent for Empire Holdings. The timing of her resignation is questionable as is her statement that she never agreed. If that was truly the case as she received correspondence for Empire over that six year period she could have resigned at any time if she never agreed to be their agent.

Here’s what’s troubling about all of this. Glendale citizens did their own research and came up with the public documents related to the current lawsuit filed by the former CFO of the Cartwright district, her divorce case and the Empire Holdings registration. They shared those publicly available documents with me.

 Why didn’t all of the unions, including the Glendale chapters of the fire union and police unions do their due diligence and check her background? Instead in their blind rush to back anyone, including a candidate with a questionable background, they supported her with endorsements, money and manpower. They let their anger over the issue of removal of release time positions by the city council cloud their judgment.

I am dismayed that the Glendale police unions chose to back an apparent Democrat activist with sympathy for the Black Live Matter movement and its advocacy for defunding police departments. It appears that they are backing someone who is sympathetic to their ultimate destruction.

This election has been one of the strangest in Glendale’s history. Black is white and red is green. Nothing is as it appears.

I do know one thing. This city council has tried to meet the funding demands of the unions while also meeting the financial needs of all of the other city departments. As I have said previously, it’s a balancing act. Not every department gets everything that it wants.

Glendale unions, what have you done?

© Joyce Clark, 2020         


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