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5/2/2012 6:01:00 AM
Pair cleared of wrongdoing in library annex lease
However, both employees should have disclosed their ownership
Butch Meriwether/CourtesyHildy Angius, a candidate for the District 2 Board of Supervisors seat, speaks during a January supervisors meeting about the County Library Annex.
Butch Meriwether/Courtesy
Hildy Angius, a candidate for the District 2 Board of Supervisors seat, speaks during a January supervisors meeting about the County Library Annex.

Suzanne Adams-Ockrassa
Miner Staff Reporter

KINGMAN - The Coconino County Attorney's Office has found that two Mohave County employees, who were part owners in an office building the county leased for a library annex, were not involved in negotiations with the county to lease the space and there was no intentional wrongdoing on the part of the employees.

However, both employees, Yvonne Orr and Beverly Brooks, should have disclosed their ownership in the building before the original lease was signed by the Board of Supervisors.

The Board signed a lease with ORB Investments to rent a more than 2,000-square-foot office in the building for around $2,160 a month with a 3-percent increase each year for four years in 2007. ORB Investments is owned by three couples - Orr and her husband, Brooks and her husband, and Taylor and Tamara Ross.

The lease became an issue when its renewal was brought before the Board in November. At that time, District 2 Supervisor candidate Hildy Angius questioned the propriety of the county leasing office space from two county employees and asked why the annex wasn't housed in a county-owned building.

The issue heated up after a letter from County Manager Ron Walker to the Board of Supervisors that allegedly ridiculed Angius, and other residents who were concerned about the lease, surfaced during a January meeting of the Board.

At that meeting, Supervisor Gary Watson called for an audit of office space in county-owned buildings. County staff completed the audit in March and determined there was no office space available that would meet the needs of the annex.

Angius and one other resident - Butch Meriwether - petitioned the Mohave County Attorney's Office to investigate the situation. The office asked the Coconino County Attorney's Office to look into the matter because of a conflict of interest - Brooks works for the Mohave County Attorney's Office and Orr works for the County Manager's Office.

The Coconino County Attorney's Office returned their opinion on the matter to Mohave County on April 13. That opinion states that the office found no evidence that Brooks or Orr participated in the negotiation of the lease.It also states that the two women should have disclosed their relationship with ORB Investments before the Board signed the original lease in 2007.

A news release from the Mohave County Attorney's Office stated that both Orr and Brooks have filed disclosure statements with the county and that the office looks forward to working with the Board and the County Manager's Office to "adopt a policy that will not only ensure the compliance of current employees, but also to educate new hires moving forward."

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Related Stories:
• County manager slams Kingman Supervisor Watson in letter on lease
• Board taking second look at library annex lease in Kingman
• Candidate questions propriety of county lease in Kingman

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Reader Comments

Posted: Wednesday, May 9, 2012
Article comment by: anonymous anonymous

This story is interesting but doubt a in house investigation and white wash will stop the folks who see smoke where they believe a fire is raging!

Posted: Tuesday, May 8, 2012
Article comment by: back at ya

@ Angius

Is this how you will conduct yourself on the Board? Try throwing your weight around when there are 4 other Supervisors to deal with. They just may not like you playing in their sand box. Doesn't District 2 have any issues that you should be addressing? I realize this is a County issue, but give it a rest.

Posted: Sunday, May 6, 2012
Article comment by: Hildy Angius

There are a few posters here who have a comprehension issue. I WAS RIGHT. the Coun has admitted that the employees should have filled out those forms. The County has promised it will be done from here on in. This is an admission of wrongdoing. The rest is just spin and protection of the employees.

When I am elected, we will find a place to put this library office that will save the taxpayers money. This is what this entire mess was about. For the person who is in my district who said they will not vote for me: If you are more concerned with protecting the status quo than following the law and being a good steward of taxpayer money, then I am not the one you want to vote for, that is correct.

Posted: Friday, May 4, 2012
Article comment by: V Stokes

@back at ya
I really don't have the answer to whether she used someone elses info....that's not really relevant. She is the one who brought it up in Council.

Maybe she WAS using it for free publicity...I don't know her intent.

The fact is...things like this will be looked at closer in the future and, hopefully, the County will enforce the rules.

Posted: Friday, May 4, 2012
Article comment by: back at ya

@ V.Stokes

Speaking of getting the facts right, do you believe Angius did this research? or, is it possible she piggy backed on the work of others??
As for how thorough it was, I wonder if she cared as it was a vehicle to get her press coverage???

Posted: Friday, May 4, 2012
Article comment by: V Stokes

@Angius used this for publicity for her campaign!

You won't vote for someone who thought there might be some sort of fraud going on in County contracts and asked that it be investigated?

That's exactly the type of person I would vote for.

Granted...she may have had some facts wrong (or they were reported wrong here)...but that doesn't change the fact she thought something was up...and brought it to the publics attention.

Turned out...certain procedures that are required by law (as I understand) were not being followed or enforced. Hopefully, now they will be.

Posted: Friday, May 4, 2012
Article comment by: Angius used this for publicity for her campaign!

The bottom line is that Angious used this issue for free publicity for her campaign and failed miserably at doing thorough research, In the end she showed how low she will go in her run for office. Personally, I want a truly honest person as BOS who thoroughly researches an issue before playing games. I live in her district but she will not get my vote!

Posted: Friday, May 4, 2012
Article comment by: anonymous anonymous

A city in California mocked its citizens complaints at the officials paying themselves huge salaries and benefits! They in the end, were removed from office, indicted, one can mock folks who merely disagree but if one is violating the law, derelict of ones official duties whether they be a county, city official or elected official one risks indictment, removal from office, disbarrment, ask the lawyers in the Arpaio & Maricopa county scandal how they feel about being disbarred they did not think anyone could touch them, they too felt above the law, none of us are above the law of the land!

Posted: Thursday, May 3, 2012
Article comment by: Radical American Patriot

@anonymous anonymous: Your point is well taken.

There is one crucial issue that hasn't even been mentioned. In the legal opinion given by Deputy Civil Attorney Bob Taylor, he quotes the section ARS 38-503(B) as follows, "B. Any public officer or employee who has, or whose relative has, a substantial interest in any decision of a public agency shall refrain from participating in any manner as an officer or employee in such decision."

HOWEVER!!! He leaves out the following section from his quotation of the law! After the word "agency" is the phrase "...shall make known such interest in the official records of such public agency and..."

So Bob Taylor, an attorney admitted to practice before the Bar, EITHER was utterly incompetent in quoting the statute... OR deliberately deceptive!!! Neither is excusable for the attorney.

Furthermore the Procurement Department wrote their opinion regarding the lease process making the very same quote!

Posted: Thursday, May 3, 2012
Article comment by: Butch Meriwetherr

I love how the pure speculation is being blogged by some unknowing individuals and how they continue to attempt slam Hildy Angius for doing the right thing and that’s for her bringing it to the forefront that laws were being violated. The truth is like a giant locomotive that is about to arrive at the train station of Mohave County and soon all will know exactly was done by the two county employees and the county itself. So get your ticket for this ride and enjoy the journey.

Posted: Thursday, May 3, 2012
Article comment by: anonymous anonymous

If the statutues mentioned in post by Radical American Patriot are correct and assuming they are, one see a coverup is being perpetrated and either the county attorney who did the investigation is part of it or derelict in his official duties, one might say he is legally culpable for some action himself such as conflict of interest which is undoubtedly the minumum issue here a misdemeanor offense and loss of ones position or job is serious to some apparently insignificant to others! I think the officials who rule this county make a serious mistake to think they can brush this issue under a carpet, the courts of last resort are US Justice Department which has authority over corrupt state officals, offices!

Posted: Wednesday, May 2, 2012
Article comment by: Radical American Patriot

@Marissa Ortman: First, I am NOT suggesting they should be tried, found guilty and fired.

What I am saying is IF they WERE tried and found guilty, 38-510(B) says that they "...shall forfeit his (her) public office or employment..."

I suspect however, your real point is that there are so many others who (REALLY) have done much worse, and you are correct! It's just that other than having pornography on their computer there's nothing requiring any county, city or state employee to forfeit their employment. Here they must forfeit their office.

Posted: Wednesday, May 2, 2012
Article comment by: Marrisa Ortmen

@Radical American Patriot: Why would they "HAVE" to lose their jobs? Look at several of the Public Works employees that have multiple DUIs and drug convictions, they kept their jobs.

Posted: Wednesday, May 2, 2012
Article comment by: Anson's Nephew

And the corruption that thrives on all levels of government in Mohave County rolls on.

Posted: Wednesday, May 2, 2012
Article comment by: Radical American Patriot

@ Miss Leading: Perhaps you should read the actual opinion from Coconino County Attorney Dave Rosema and the law!

1. Here's a quote from the opinion: "With this lener we offer the opinion tMI both Ms. Brooks and should have disclosed their respective ownership Interests In ORB Investments LLC. before the Mohave County Board of Supervisors sltting as the Board of Directors of the Library District, approved the orginal lease to the Library District in 2007, and that Ms. Orr should disclose her Interest In ORB L.L.C. before theBoard of Supervlsor decides whether to approve the proposed lease extension. (Ms. 8rooks made such disclosure on January 31, 2012). This opinion is explained in more detail below.

2. Here is ARS 38-510(A) 2. "A person who... 2. Recklessly or negligently violates any provision of sections 38-503 through 38-505 is guilty of a class 1 misdemeanor."

3. ARS 38-510(B) states "B. A person found guilty of an offense described in subsection A of this section shall forfeit his public office or employment if any."

So Ms Angius was corrrect that failure to disclose the interest was a violation of the law, and if Brooks and Orr were prosecuted and found guilty, would have to lose their jobs.

SO who is 'misleading whom? This article was in fact, quite misleading.

Posted: Wednesday, May 2, 2012
Article comment by: Hildy Angius

This is completely misleading. Spin at it's finest. This is a huge win for Mohave County taxpayers. Now the procedures are in place for conflict of interest issues. The perception that the deck is rigged so certain people benefit can be laid to rest. That's all we ever wanted. Just look at it this way... Saying they were cleared is like walking out of a store with an iPod and when you're caught, being able to pay the money while still saying you did nothing wrong! Too funny!

Posted: Wednesday, May 2, 2012
Article comment by: Understatement At Best

"...letter from County Manager Ron Walker to the Board of Supervisors that allegedly ridiculed Angius, and other residents who were concerned about the lease..."

ALLEGEDLY??? I not only read Walker's letter belittling Hildy Angius, in the Miner, but then had to listen to him read it into the record at the BOS meeting.

I will be happy to welcome the new BOS to office. People who know their job is to fairly represent the good people of Mohave County. From all that I've heard, Hildy Angius isn't going to have any problem getting elected. She is very respected for all the good work she does in the community.

Posted: Wednesday, May 2, 2012
Article comment by: Perhaps Not Illegal, Just Not Proper

Yea, perhaps nothing illegal occurred but this is exactly how the "well-connected" screw over the little guy and take advantage of the system. They incorporate themselves into the system so they have up-to-the-minute information on say the need for more space by the library. Then they go out buy the land, make an offer, quite often have the government entity put up the building then sit back and collect the money. What better, more reliable tenant then a government department.

Yvonne Orr and Beverly Brooks be pleased with your work for your fellow citizens dispise your actions.

Posted: Wednesday, May 2, 2012
Article comment by: back at ya

@ Miss Leading

Can't say I dis agree with you. Ms. Angius, clearly is pandering, but not in her District.?? I'm wondering if she is thinking that she can't win without some of this fanfare. She just may need it.

Posted: Wednesday, May 2, 2012
Article comment by: Al DiCicco

Thanks Hildy for shining some light on more corruption and cronyism. Get rid of Sockwell and vote for Hildy this year!!!

Posted: Wednesday, May 2, 2012
Article comment by: Radical American Patriot

Unfortunately the Headline is misleading at best. The Opinion by Coconino County Attorney clearly states they both Brooks and Orr should have disclosed their ownership interests according to provisions of 38-503(B). Even if they did not participate in the negotiations, they were required to disclose their 'Substantial Interest'.

OK, well enough so what? In ARS 38-510(A) it state "A person who 2. 2. Recklessly or negligently violates any provision of sections 38-503 through 38-505 is guilty of a class 1 misdemeanor."

So the question is were they reckless or negligent in failing to disclose their ownership interests? Maybe not reckless but they certainly were negligent.. OR is there another matter? Yes there is

According to the statutes, any County project where either Yvonne's husband KC Orr, or his brother Tobey performs for a service the County they are ALSO required to disclose the 'Substantial Interest' ownership. That is because the definition of relative which is defined in the ARS 38-502.9 "Relative" means the spouse, child, child's child, parent, grandparent, brother or sister of the whole or half blood and their spouses and the parent, brother, sister or child of a spouse."

Tobey Orr is the brother-in-law of Yvonne Orr. How many projects have either of the Orr brothers performed for the County?

So this is much more a reflection of the management of the County for failing to follow the law, and requiring employees to make the required disclosures.

Not only does Manager Walker insult a Supervisor and a citizen, he shows a complete and reckless disregard for the Law!

Posted: Wednesday, May 2, 2012
Article comment by: Miss Leading

First, Hildy was wrong on the size of the library annex then wrong on Orr & Brooks being guilt of being involved in the lease. What else is she wrong about??? Perhaps she should eschew obfuscation and strive for accuracy.

Posted: Wednesday, May 2, 2012
Article comment by: mohave county greed

Mohave County we can't hide our true hearts from god. One day we will have to pay for our sin. When It's time to "pay" well your money won't help.

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