Board of Supervisors wants Arpaio's financial records, contempt hearings scheduled

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PHOENIX -- The Maricopa County Board of Supervisors wants to know why Sheriff Joe Arpaio has not complied with a subpoena requiring him to hand over financial documents.

During its regular meeting on Wednesday, the board unanimously voted to hold contempt hearings on May 24. At that time, the sheriff will have to explain why he's failed to hand over the subpoenaed information.

Last month, the board issued a subpoena ordering Arpaio to produce a variety of financial documents -- including credit-card transactions, work assignments, administration details and bank account information -- dating back to Jan. 1, 2005.

The board says it needs that information so the members can get a clear picture of MCSO spending in the wake of concerns regarding possible overspending and mismanagement of  money.

Last week, the Maricopa County Sheriff's Office challenged the subpoena, calling it too broad. MCSO is also questioning the board's need for five years' worth of documents to determine next year's budget. Arpaio said complying with the subpoena would take quite a bit of manpower and waste taxpayer money.

A lawyer for MCSO said the board's issuance of the subpoena and now its decision to hold contempt is "unprecedented." He says the board is just trying to embarrass Arpaio.

A feud between Arpaio and some members of the board has been raging for some time.

The question now is whether the board actually has the legislative power to enforce the subpoena.

The board believes that state statutes give them the authority to hold Arpaio in contempt without a court hearing.