Ousted DES director wants millions from taxpayers

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Tim Jeffries spent more than two years as director of Department of Economic Security. (Source: 3TV/CBS 5 file photo) Tim Jeffries spent more than two years as director of Department of Economic Security. (Source: 3TV/CBS 5 file photo)
PHOENIX (AP) -

The former head of the Arizona Department of Economic Security has put the state on notice that he will sue if the state does not settle with him for $5.1 million.

Attorney Tom Horne filed a notice of claim against the state of Arizona on behalf of Tim Jeffries, the former director of DES ousted last November.

[READ MORE: Gov. Ducey fires DES director amid scandals]

The claim states that a report published after Jeffries was fired contains false statements that have harmed Jeffries' reputation and ability to make money.

The report was made public last month and detailed a six-month long audit into the DES firearms program. After Jeffries was removed from his post, Arizona Department of Public Safety troopers seized a stockpile of weapons and ammunition from the basement of DES headquarters building. 

[READ MORE: DPS confirms weapons stockpile seized at government agency]

[SLIDESHOW: Some of the seized weapons]

Jeffries responded to our request for an interview by directing us to his attorney.

“It has things in there that are not true and that we think that were said untrue because of malicious motives,” said Horne.

The notice of claim lists several statements in the report as examples.

“The statements were false. He did not carry a gun on state property. He did not want to arm every DES employee. He did not want to create his own police force and control it. Those are all false statements that appeared in the report and they’re not true,” said Horne.

As DES director, Jeffries fired close to 500 workers. Horne said the lies contained in the report came from justly fired workers who wanted to get back at Jeffries.

[READ MORE: Ousted DES director talks firings, staff parties, and gun stockpile]

“We think this stems from malice on the part of witnesses. The witnesses had an ax to grind,” said Horne.

One of the other things Horne, a former Arizona attorney general, takes issue with is that the audit and subsequent report were completed without investigators interviewing Jeffries.

“I was in statewide office for 12 years and I was involved in a lot of audits. They always interview the head of the agency that they’re talking about. I think this is unique that they didn’t interview him,” said Horne.

The audit began after Jeffries was forced from his post.

The state does not comment on pending litigation.

If the state does not offer a settlement to Jeffries in 60 days, he can move forward with a lawsuit.

Click here to read the entire nearly 800-page DPS report and audit

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[PDF: Notice of claim filed on behalf of Jeffries]


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