Will Sheriff Joe soon have to parade around in the striped jail uniforms he famously makes his inmates wear?
Maricopa County officials believe the discovery of a duplicate payroll log and database hidden in a secure computer system at the Sheriff's Office could reveal the extent of alleged misspending in Sheriff Joe Arpaio's agency.
The sheriff's employee database operated parallel to a county-run system, recording a different set of sheriff's staff assignments and payments than official records provided to county auditors. County officials say the system has existed since the early part of the decade, but they learned of it only recently through paperwork produced in a case alleging racial profiling against the Sheriff's Office.
The supervisors plan to subpoena 20 to 30 people to testify in the future about the hidden database, which is housed in a computer system at the center of a costly legal battle between Arpaio and the supervisors.
County administrators believe the Sheriff's Office intentionally misappropriated as much as $80 million designated for jail operations over five years to pay employees working in patrol, human-smuggling operations and investigative units. Those employees should have been paid with other funds, but county officials suspect the Sheriff's Office tried to maintain staffing levels by using money that legally was inaccessible.
The Republic reports as well that County Manager David Smith is calling for an investigation by the US Department of Justice, something I'm sure the agency will be eager to do considering the taunting Arpaio has given the DOJ in recent years.