Questions surrounding Mayor Gordon's security detail prompts legal battle

Posted: Updated:

PHOENIX – The legal battle over Phoenix Mayor Phil Gordon's security records continues.

Some say the records should be released because the mayor could be misusing taxpayer money.

A spokesperson with the Phoenix Police Department says it could pose a serious safety threat. It comes down to a question of whether the public has the right to know where and when the mayor is whenever he has a security detail.

A judge is now considering whether that violates the mayor’s right to privacy.

Mayor Gordon's security detail escorted him to 3TV’s interview Thursday, which is standard procedure since it was in the midst of official business.

What comes into question is the use of the security detail during Gordon’s unofficial business and private comings and goings.   

Washington-based Judicial Watch sued to make those security records public.

Mayor Gordon says, “The issue they wanna get to is the time I’m picked up, where I’m picked up, my family who I'm with, on a personal time and level.”

In court this week Phoenix police testified that releasing so-called "activity logs" on the security detail would pose a serious security threat.

The mayor says, “There have been individuals, in fact an individual arrested a month ago, that threatened not only my life but the President’s life.”

Todd Feltus, an attorney for Judicial Watch, explains, “The public’s right to know does outweigh those concerns and we believe the mayor’s security is not in jeopardy, we certainly wouldn’t intend on doing that.”

The Scottsdale attorney is representing Judicial Watch in court. He says the lawsuit was filed only after local media outlets were denied access to the records. Feltus explains, “It’s not an issue of a Washington group meddling in local city politics. Judicial Watch's mission is transparency in government.”

Gordon's four-person security team is said to cost about $500,000 a year. Judicial Watch says the logs detailing how that money is spent could shed some light on possible misuse of taxpayer resources.

Gordon agrees the public has a right to know but not when it comes to his personal life. He says, “In the City Hall,
absolutely. When I'm doing public business, like today, but in the privacy in my home, no.”

A judge has two months to issue a ruling in the case but indicated he would act quickly.