PHOENIX (3TV/CBS 5) - A state lawmaker last year spearheaded legislation to keep the taxman off the back of a female lobbyist he's accused of having a romantic relationship with.
Rep. David Cook, a Republican from Globe, wrote HB 2095 that gives county taxing authorities the option of setting up more generous plans for people to pay off their delinquent taxes. Cook proposed the bill, which is now law, after he called Pinal County Sheriff Mark Lamb in 2018 to talk about Lamb's plans to foreclose on property owned by his alleged mistress, AnnaMarie Knorr, and her family because of substantial tax debt. Lamb confirmed that he halted plans to seize the property after the phone call but said Cook never asked him for a favor.
Knorr and her family's farming companies currently owe more than $133,000 in unpaid business personal property taxes and fees, according to Pinal County records.
Michael McCord, the treasurer of the County, confirmed the debt remains unpaid and that Cook's legislation helps taxpayers in Knorr's tax situation.
Before the governor signed HB 2095, McCord said debts had to be paid in full and that he didn't have the option of setting up a payment plan. During a phone interview, McCord said the new law has prompted some business owners to step forward and pay what they own. But, he said, Knorr is not one of them.
Both Cook and Knorr have denied having an affair and did not return requests to comment on this story. Cook currently faces two ethics complaints, one stemming from his alleged relationship with Knorr and another from accusations he arranged for the sheriff to halt the seizure of Knorr's property in exchange for a campaign contribution.
"Maybe it is good legislation, it could be, and maybe it isn't intended to be a hand out to one person, but if you add up the whole situation, it looks really bad," said former state lawmaker Chad Campbell.
Campbell, while serving as the leader of the House Democratic caucus, once forced a member of his own party to resign for misconduct. Even if the proposal is beneficial, Campbell said lawmakers should avoid the appearance of a conflict and ask someone else to sponsor the bill.