A formal complaint has been filed with the Phoenix City Clerk and Maricopa County Attorney Bill Montgomery alleging a committee formed to fight the recall of current City Councilman Sal DiCiccio, Citizens Protecting Taxpayers, has violated several laws, but a judge is skeptical of any wrongdoing.
The complaint says that this entity has violated the law by transferring funds raised for the recall effort to a corporate entity that was formed and run by DiCiccio.
“That corporate entity, which says it is not a political committee and is not reporting contributions and expenditures, took this money that essentially it’s not entitled to do under the law,” said Roopali Desai of Coppersmith Schermer and Brockelman, who is representing the plaintiffs in the case. “You can’t just move money that has been solicited and contributed by voters to any old corporate entity or to your own personal fund. That would be wrong. It would be a misuse of political funds.”
On Tuesday, June 25 Superior Court Judge Mark Brain denied a motion to freeze the assets of the corporation as he was not convinced DiCiccio was doing anything wrong. He did offer the attorney for the plaintiffs a chance to argue the need for the case at a July 8 hearing.
In response to the accusations DiCiccio sent out a challenge to any “union bosses” to debate him publicly on the issues.
“This is the same Democrat firm that represents the Government Union Bosses, and the same firm that represented the failed recall attempt against DiCiccio,” said a statement from his reelection campaign. “DiCiccio is demanding a head-to-head debate with whomever is willing to come forward and be the face of these false attacks.”
Desai said she does not know what DiCiccio means when he says “union bosses” but her three clients, all residents of District 6, have not received any formal request for a debate. If they had, it wouldn’t be proper.
“If Mr. DiCiccio wants to make some kind of formal request for a meeting I’m happy to do that, but I’m certainly not going to engage in a debate,” she said. “I’m not a politician, I’m not a candidate, I’m not running in this election. Mr. DiCiccio is welcome to debate his opponent, but it seems somewhat naïve to expect lawyers in a legal setting to debate a candidate. That doesn’t seem proper.”
DiCiccio said claims like those presented in the lawsuit come up every election year.
“This is an election year and the Government Unions and their bosses are doing all they can to intimidate me,” he said in a statement. “They are actively doing mailers, telephone calls and door-to-door in my district in order to stop me from supporting fiscal responsibility in budgets that drain their slush funds for pay raises and bonuses. It’s not going to work.”
DiCiccio said there are two Democratic law firms that have been filing numerous complaints against him: Coppersmith Schermer & Brockelman and the Torres Consulting & Law Group, LLC. DiCiccio is up for reelection. He is running against Independent Karlene Keogh Parks. The election is Aug. 27.
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