Siblings sue Arizona candidate over trust money

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By Jayson Chesler By Jayson Chesler

PHOENIX (AP) -- A lawsuit filed by siblings of Wil Cardon accuses the Mesa businessman and candidate for Arizona secretary of state of abusing family trust funds with spending on his unsuccessful U.S. Senate candidacy in 2012 and more recently to support a lavish lifestyle.

The suit filed July 16 in Maricopa County Superior Court by six of Cardon's seven siblings contends that he abused his role as trustee by improperly transferring $6.5 million for the 2012 campaign and an additional $3.2 million to himself this year.

Cardon "has misused Cardon family assets to afford himself an excessive and lavish lifestyle," the lawsuit alleges.

Cardon's campaign consultant, Chris Baker, said the lawsuit is spurious and an attempt to weaken Cardon in negotiations with his siblings.

"This is nothing but rank greed," Baker said.

Cardon is one of three candidates running for the Republican nomination for secretary of state, which is the state's chief election officer and first in line to become governor if there's a midterm vacancy.

The suit challenges a November 2013 renegotiation of the Cardon family's assets, which the siblings contend is null and void because it violates previous agreements and was not signed by most of the family.

Patrick Cardon, who is Wil Cardon's brother and the only sibling to sign the 2013 agreement, claimed in the lawsuit that he filed it under duress and based on false pretenses.

The suit asks a judge to affirm the family's removal of Cardon as the family trust's trustee, remove him as the head of another trust, nullify the November 2013 agreement and bar him from any decision-making power over family assets.

Wil Cardon's attorney, Mike Manning, said the expenditures were allowed by the family's agreement on the trust accounts and were done within "the letter and spirit" of that agreement.

Manning said Cardon's father, Wilford A. Cardon, was actively involved in his son's campaign and was empowered by the family to make financial decisions related to that run.

Manning said he did not know the overall value of the Cardons' holdings, and the lawsuit did not specify a total.

The family's wealth is traced to Cardon Oil Co. founder Wilford Pratt "Pat" Cardon, who is Wil Cardon's grandfather and died in 1969.

Wilford A. Cardon expanded the family business from the petroleum and gas-station industry into real estate and other interests.

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