Ben Arredondo, a state representative and former Tempe CityCouncilman, was charged with bribery, mail fraud, extortion andlying in a federal indictment unsealed Wednesday for allegedlydemanding and accepting gifts and other items from a company thatwas actually fronted by undercover FBI agents. Roberts: Arredondo channels his inner Don Corleone |
The indictment The 10-page court document includes allegations that Arredondoasked the fictional company's representatives to purchase a $525table for a charity event with the understanding that the formerTempe councilman would invite guests of his choice to sit in theseats. The indictment includes allegations that Arredondo took officialaction for the benefit of the fictitious company, including that heshared information with an FBI agent about the City of Tempe'sbidding process for a project that Arredondo believed thefictitious company was interested in bidding on. The indictment also alleges that Arredondo accepted $300 in ticketsto an Arizona Cardinals football game, more than $1,200 in ticketsto Major League Baseball's American League Championship game in2009 and that he accepted 18 tickets worth about $2,400 for ArizonaDiamondbacks game sin 2010.
Tempe Mayor Hugh Hallman declined to comment citing the "ongoing"nature of the investigation. But one Democratic House leader calledon Arredondo, a Democrat, to resign. "In the interests of our constituents, Rep. Arredondo shouldimmediately resign to ensure that those in our community haveunabridged representation," said Rep.
David Schapira. "TheDepartment of Justice allegations against him are deeply troublingand, whether he is guilty or innocent, will pose too great adistraction for him to fulfill the duties of his office. "Arizonans expect and deserve more from their elected officials.Sadly, this is another reminder of why we need more ethics reformsat all levels of government and leaders who are willing to upholdthem." Arredondo could not be reached for comment but his attorney, LeeStein, said Wednesday that they intend to "do our talking incourt." Stein also said the indictment does nothing to take away fromArredondo's lifetime of community service as a teacher, coach,councilman and legislator. The indictment alleges that In April 2010, Arredondo set up ameeting between representatives of the fictitious company and arecently elected Tempe councilmember. Before the councilmemberarrived, investigators allege, Arredondo talked about his upcomingcampaign for the Arizona House and reiterated his support for thefictitious company's project.
"Arredondo assured the representatives of (the fictitious company),'You guys will ask, you guys will have'," according to theindictment. "I don't know how else to say it. We'll be just finebecause not only we're covered in the city, we're covered at thestate." The indictment also alleges that Arredondo accepted $300 in ticketsto an Arizona Cardinals football game, more than $1,200 in ticketsto Major League Baseball's American League Championship game in2009 and that he accepted 18 tickets worth about $2,400 for ArizonaDiamondbacks game since 2010. "To conceal that he had agreed to accept the tickets while a memberof the City Council, Arredondo instructed a representative of (thefictitious company) to mail them to his home in Tempe," theindictment reads.
"Arredondo gave that instruction 'to make it alot easier' for him because, as he explained, 'I'm through withthis council after that, and then I can honestly say I've nevertaken a look at these guys until after this.' ".
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