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Don SorchychThe costly slate

There are few consequences that exceed attempted destruction of a reputation. The enemies of this newspaper attempt it all the time.

The same could be said about a town hero named Usama Abujbarah. I went to the naturalization event where a crowd of people were made citizens on July 4, 2002. Usama, his wife Juman, and his children, Kinda and Nasser Abujbarah were there with tears in their eyes as new U.S. citizens. This was what good immigration is all about.

Usama began work here as a planner and then became town manager. Juman, a physician, currently is a high level executive with United Health and manages their multi-state western offices. Kinda was born with cerebral palsy and is confined to a wheelchair. Nonetheless, she has earned a bachelor degree and will earn her masters degree in December. Nassar got his law degree at ASU. The attempts to discredit Usama came early.

bil canfield editorial cartoon
Thomas Ropp, then with the Arizona Republic, wrote an article about Cave Creek Town Manager Usama Abujbarah. It was definitive and supportive of Abujbarah’s performance and acceptance of the western way of life. Usama is trusted and respected here by most everyone I know.
For some unknown reason, perhaps because I am fond of Abujbarah, without diminishing my role as the government watchdog, Gerald Freeman wrote a twisted e-mail about Abujbarah, with attached pages 5 and 6 of Ropp’s article.

Freeman sent this e-mail on Sunday Jan. 2.

“Did you know any of this?

“I have known for years that we had a Muslim ex convict for a town manager. Did you?
“I am wondering if the council that hired him knew any of this. He was not a citizen when (he) was hired. That seems strange to me. Try going to Jordan and becoming a town Manager without being a citizen … or a Muslim.

“I wonder what was their reasoning for hiring an ex convict and non citizen?

“Did anyone check the prison or courts records to see what he was actually imprisoned for? Or did they just accept this unvetted news article as below?”


We are confident of our knowledge of the Abujbarah family. I attended the family conversion to American citizenship on July 4, 2002 and witnessed their pride as American citizens.

The term ex-con is misleading and obnoxious. Yes, he was incarcerated as a political prisoner and beaten morning and night for three years. Dictators were politically favored by the United States as long as they supported the efforts of the United States in their country.

The Monarch of Jordon, King Hussein, ruled with an iron hand and anyone dissident to his rule was jailed. Abujbarah was on death row until Amnesty International was able to gain his release and subsequent visa to America.

Why is it important that Abujbarah is a Muslim? Abujbarah is one who speaks out against Muslims who are terrorists and believes heart and soul in America. Should anyone who is jailed for political purposes, not murder, theft or other anti-society actions be called an ex-con? That is like calling all the jailed dissidents in China or Cuba that are released due to global pressure ex-cons and I have never seen one example of such a slur.

But it is not surprising Freeman has continued his assault on the town and Usama.

I was angered by Councilman Durkin’s assertion: Durkin said, “I want to assure council I have done my due diligence and it’s very hard to change 17 years of bad behavior … This town manager creates too much of a risk for success.”

Councilman Durkin, although you claim to have assessed a large body of voters to come to this conclusion, you couldn’t have and come to this absolutely false conclusion if you had done your due diligence.

Although Durkin came to a different conclusion in the vote against Rodney Glassman his vote to kick Usama out was a pre-meditated, slate driven decision. Let’s hope he votes as an individual from now on. And shame on Trenkster and his shadows, Monachino and Spitzer.

No council with any fair balance could kick out a town manager who is as storied as he is. In the first place he was less than five years away from retirement and should have been able to retire with many accolades and awards of all kinds.

For anyone to not praise Usama’s fine performance, shows total lack of knowledge about town affairs. What it shows is racism in its worst form or the recent recognition of low information voters coupled with revenge by people who were kicked out by voters. You will note Thomas McGuire came in second in the general election barely behind Durkin which indicates voters awakened to being hoodwinked in the primaries.

The lynching of Usama led voraciously by Trenk will lead to huge costs for Cave Creek when Usama files his lawsuit against the town. Usama has hired an experienced and competent attorney who gave the council notice about the road they were traveling. Furthermore, the contract is clear which requires 90 days notice rather than setting him aside in favor of someone in the slate pocket. So the town will be paying two town manager salaries for 90 days while they claim they are for transparency and less cost.

There is no town crisis but the slate has lied about the town debt. Yes it is large, but every payment has been made on time thanks to Usama’s leadership. The town is set for the future with first class water and sewage facilities for eventual development of the annexed property to the west. That is exceptional planning by the past council, Usama and his staff.

It was surprising and rewarding to see Durkin respond to heart felt complaints by citizens of merit. When we held our forum Durkin said the town should sell the water company for a dollar. He said on the podium he would not vote for sale of the water company, which I believe is Mike Chutz’s plan. So it appears one member of the slate has a mind of his own. That leaves the rookie lawyer, Trenkster and his two echo chambers. An experienced lawyer would read and follow an employment contract.