Supervisors could vote to appeal Wilcox settlement

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By Andrew Michalscheck By Andrew Michalscheck

PHOENIX, ARIZ.-- A judge has awarded Maricopa County Supervisor Mary Rose Wilcox nearly a million dollars in a settlement stemming from an abuse-of-power case, but the payout is still not a done deal.

On Thursday Wilcox's colleagues met in a closed-door executive session to discuss the possibility of appealing the settlement.

Specifically, they were set to discuss legal advice surrounding the settlement, and the resolution of similar claims regarding abuse of power, said county spokesperson Cari Gerchick.

The participants are legally barred from discussing what goes on in executive session, Gerchick said.

The Wilcoxes $975,000 settlement was negotiated by their attorneys, former County Manager David Smith and a team of mediators.

But last month Wilcox's fellow supervisors refused to sign off on the payout, so she asked U.S. District Judge Neil Wake for approval.

Last Friday he indicated he would sign an official order awarding the money, said Colin Campbell, Wilcox's attorney in the matter.

Wilcox's critics have accused her of accepting an excessive amount of money from the very taxpayers she represents.

Wilcox was exempt from Thursday's execution session, but appeared at an event announcing the formation of a new Black/Brown Coalition to advocate for civil rights.

"I think our justice system has spoken, a mediator decided this," she said, when asked if the settlement amount was fair.

She declined to answer questions on what she would do with the settlement money.

"I haven't gotten any money yet, so when that occurs, I will be happy to tell you that," she said. "One of the reasons I sued the county was because of abuses that were heaped on me."

If her fellow supervisors do decide to vote on whether to appeal the settlement, they would have to hold that vote during an open meeting.

Wilcox sued the county two years ago alleging abuse of power by Maricopa County Sheriff Joe Arpaio and former County Attorney Andrew Thomas.