The town of Quartzsite has found its way onto the front page of the Arizona Republic again, with the article by Dennis Wagner citing “allegations that the municipal attorney is criminally prosecuting political enemies while smearing them on the Internet with spoof websites” and the news that “La Paz County Attorney Sam Vederman has asked the FBI to investigate ‘potential systemic corruption’ involving municipal leaders.”
The news of the County Attorney’s request that the FBI investigate Quartzsite was derived from a letter the Republic obtained by open records request:
In a Jan. 3 letter obtained by The Arizona Republic via a public-records request, Vederman said he believes residents of the town are being “targeted for arrest and prosecution simply because they are in political opposition” to town officials.
“I have a lot of concerns about what’s going on in Quartzsite right now,” Vederman said. “But to have any semblance of fairness, it (an investigation) can’t be done by local officials.” An FBI spokesman declined to comment.
Vederman told Parker Live this morning that his concern is that the Quartzsite Police Department, at the direction of Jeff Gilbert, may have arrested or charged citizens with crimes for political reasons. “I requested the FBI conduct the investigation because the FBI has a Public Corruption Unit which specializes in this type of matter and the FBI would be able to conduct the investigation fairly and impartially,” he said.
Parker Live has its own public records request in to Vederman’s office this morning, looking for further details about the County Attorney’s request to the FBI. We hope to have more information shortly.