Letter | Rick Veradt: Things aren’t always what they seem

Mohave County Attorney Matt Smith needs to go. The reasons are really quite simple. He is either incompetent or is covering something up. I will explain.

At the very least Smith is not being truthful to the public. According to A.R.S. section 38-510 the charges against two NACFD board members and its current chief could have been filed as a misdemeanor. To file as a felony you must be able to show intent. His “greasing the skids” theory should be offensive to anyone with half a brain.

I have asked Smith for an accounting of the time and money expended to prosecute this case. I was given a letter that said, “the money was in his budget so there was no cost.” I was treated like a school child who couldn’t get out of his own way. Again, anybody with any education knows the records must be kept of time spent investigating a case and time spent in the courts. These are charged against the case. Again Mr. Smith, at the very least, is being untruthful.

The revelations brought to light Jan. 21 are even more revealing of the incompetence of his office. It turns out the person who filed the complaint, NACFD board member Mike Collins, is very possibly part of a long running conflict of interest with at least one other NACFD board member (Jim Bailey) and its former chief, Pat Moore. Collins was quoted in the Sunday (Jan. 21) Daily Miner as welcoming an investigation and that the board had a long-running relationship with True Value Hardware. Perhaps Smith should have told his star witness to shut up. Vic Riccardi also had a long running relationship with NACFD. What about that Mr. Smith? “Good for the goose, good for the gander?”

There is also the Conflict of Interest charge being leveled against his chief deputy, James Schoppmann, who actually worked for the NACFD board at one time. What the hell? It also came to light at the last board meeting that the attorney working for the NACFD board was also communicating information to Smith’s office. The NACFD attorney refused to divulge what he communicated to Smith’s office, all the while charging the fire district for his “services.” Complaints have been filed with the State Bar of Arizona regarding these issues.

These are just the highlights. Matt Smith has made a mess of something that should have been handled in-house. He now has a conspiracy that stretches over an eight-year period for much more than $1,357.

What’s going on Mr. Smith? The public has a right to know. You need to be forthcoming. One last question: What agency handles government corruption? Is it the Arizona Attorney General or the FBI? You are a public servant.

Do your job and answer citizen concerns now.