MCSO’s court-appointed monitor costing taxpayers millions

But who is reaping the benefits?
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g murray snowPHOENIX — Invoices paid by Maricopa County Office of Management and Budget (OMB) to Warshaw & Associates, the firm appointed by U.S. District Court Judge G. Murray Snow (l) to oversee the Maricopa County Sheriff’s Office (MCSO) as a result of a civil lawsuit, Melendres, et al v. Arpaio, et al, total in the millions of dollars over the course of the last 18 months.

The Post & Email obtained copies of the invoices through a public records request made to the Maricopa County Board of Supervisors and received them from Public Information Officer Fields Moseley on July 8, 2015.

Melendres court documents indicate Snow, the judge who appointed Warshaw & Associates, claims “a high degree of familiarity” with the company’s credentials. Warshaw & Associates is also monitoring the Oakland, Calif. Police Department; the Detroit Police Department; and in 2013 was assigned to monitor the Niagara Falls Police Department as a result of federal court orders following citizen complaints of excessive force or other alleged misconduct on the part of officers.

In late 2013, Snow found MCSO, led by Sheriff Joe Arpaio, had racially-profiled Latinos during “saturation patrols” and traffic stops, an allegation Arpaio steadfastly denies. Warshaw’s role is to assist MCSO in making the necessary changes to its policies in order to be considered in compliance with Snow’s numerous orders. MCSO appealed the ruling to the Ninth Circuit Court of Appeals, which “affirmed in part and vacated in part” Snow’s decision.

In May, The Post & Email contacted Warshaw’s New Hampshire-based company, Police Performance Solutions LLC, and spoke with business partner Chief Charles Reynolds, who informed us that Robert Warshaw does not give interviews. An editorial at The Niagara Falls Reporter appears to support Reynolds’ statement. Reynolds offered to convey The Post & Email’s provided contact information to Warshaw in the event Warshaw might reconsider his position, but we did not hear from Warshaw.

MCSO monitoring services began in late January 2014, with the county and Warshaw & Associates reaching an invoicing agreement on February 12, 2014. As part of the contract, Deputy County Manager Sandi Wilson was to review each invoice and supporting documentation in Snow’s chambers before approving it for payment by the county.

An order issued by Snow dated September 11, 2014, stemming from billing disputes between Maricopa County and Warshaw & Associates, declared:

“As an initial matter, unlike many services provided to the county which are performed without the benefit of personal supervision, the monitor is in constant communication with the Court regarding the performance of his services. The court has regular, almost daily meetings with the monitor when he is in Maricopa County, and frequent contact regarding developments and inquiries when he is not. Further, unlike time records submitted by attorneys, in which highly specific and detailed time records must be submitted, the court has ordered the services of the monitor and has dictated their scope. The monitor’s time, therefore, while not immune from examination by the county or exempt from being billed with some specificity, is not as subject to the specific detailed inquiry to determine whether the monitor’s time is compensable. It presumptively is. Further, unlike many of the services that are monitored by Ms. Wilson for the county, the court has a high degree of personal familiarity that the monitor team is working very hard and performing the functions that are required of it, by the court’s orders.

“The court is also aware, however, of Ms. Wilson’s good faith desire and responsibility to ensure appropriate cost verification measures for taxpayer funds.”

Missing among the documentation received by The Post & Email are invoices for September 2014 and April 2015. In his reply to our request, Moseley wrote, “I will be sending you a series of emails in response to your public records request to Maricopa County. These PDF files are large and include the contract plus amendments and the invoices plus receipts. However, many of the larger invoices for services remain under court seal, so they are not public yet.”

On May 5, 2015, Snow ordered Wilson to approve the April invoice without being permitted to review the customary supporting documentation, according to an objection filed by Wilson’s attorney, Katherine Baker, on June 8. In her filing, Baker referred to the April invoice as “huge” and “exceedingly large.”

Reynolds had informed us that for months, during which quarterly progress reports are prepared, monitoring services are normally more costly. Warshaw & Associates was also appointed to conduct “community outreach” and hold meetings with members of the community served by MCSO.

On May 6, Snow “temporarily suspended” the protocol Wilson had been following of reviewing the invoices in his chambers. As suggested in May 2014 by then-counsel for Maricopa County Douglas Irish, Snow has assumed review and approval of the invoices after determining that they are “reasonable.”

Invoices from Warshaw & Associates prior to April 2015 contain line items with accompanying documentation for airline flights, advertising, FedEx costs, cab fare, meals and tips, hotel rooms, “printing & binders,” car rental, access to the federal PACER system, and parking.

“Professional services” not itemized include “Document & Policy Reviews,” “Consultations with Court & Senior Executives,” “Investigative Oversight,” “Consultations w/Parties,” and “Invoice Preparations,” among other activities. In his technical proposal prior to being appointed, Warshaw enumerated six team members, including himself.

The invoices range from the high five figures in April 2014 to $319,584.23 for December 2014. The invoice for October 2014 is $207,557.29, while the March 2015 invoice totals $232,506.52. The last available invoice, for June 2015, totals $118,232.86 and does not appear to contain the detail present in past invoices. The September 2014 and April 2015 invoices remain undisclosed to the public to The Post & Email’s knowledge.


On June 17, Attorney Katherine Baker, on behalf of Wilson, filed a status report with the court to address A) payment of monitor’s May 2015 bill; B) Personnel to perform in-camera bill review procedure for June 2015 bill; and C) Lack of contract amendment between monitor and Maricopa County.

Wilson notified the court she had authorized payment of the monitor’s May 2015 invoice as ordered by the court on June 15.

However, Wilson asked that she and her counsel be allowed to continue the in-camera review of invoices, once that process is reinstated, “hopefully in time for review of the monitor’s June 2015 bill.”

While the court suspended the county’s receipt of detailed invoices, a procedure required by the county’s contract with Warshaw & Associates, it had also taken on the task of reviewing the monitor’s detailed bills for reasonableness, a procedure to which the county and Wilson did not object.

Wilson’s prior proposal to retain an accounting firm for the limited and economical review of the monitor’s bills had been unsuccessful.

Although Wilson indicated accounting experience was not necessary to effectuate the bill review, she made a good faith effort to evaluate the retention of a CPA firm, and found rates ranging from $260 to $372 per hour, with the former rate only being valid until August of 2015.

Since Baker’s rates are $160 per hour, and because she is well-versed in the current bill review procedure, Wilson asks that she and her counsel be allowed to continue the in-camera review once that process is reinstated.

Wilson avowed she has not revealed and will not reveal the contents of the billing detail to MCSO, the sheriff or to any other persons or entities and respectfully requested her access to the billing detail be reinstated.

In the alternative, she asked that her attorney be allowed to carry forward with the in-camera bill review, pursuant to the established procedure.

In her status report, Wilson pointed out, in light of the court’s May 5, 2015 order, no contract amendment had been entered into between the parties for the current fiscal year.

Therefore, the annual “not to exceed” amount reverted to the original contract amount, which could very well be exhausted within the next two to three months, depending on the size of the monitor’s bills.

She stated, “If the contract negotiations do not resume within the next few months, the current contract amount may be exhausted, leaving no approved funds for payment of the monitor.”

The contract limited billing to $2.2 million per year.

According to the 2015 Blackstone and Lawrence Management Provider’s List, Warshaw & Associates employs two people and has annual revenue of $1.5 million.

Since this case was originally filed, MCSO learned Snow’s wife told a friend in a restaurant that her husband hated Arpaio and would do anything to make sure he was not re-elected.

Following an investigation into that allegation and finding it was true, a number of motions were filed for Snow to either recuse or disqualify himself from the case, all of which have been denied.

Sharon Rondeau is owner/editor of The Post & Email, which started in August 2009 to perform investigative work the mainstream media has neglected to do for at least the last three decades, and is committed to being a free press for a new generation, of the people, by the people, and for the people.

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