Pima County agreed to return a lucrative civil racketeering case to Maricopa County, Sheriff Joe Arpaio said Monday.
Attorney General Terry Goddard turned over the civil case last month to Pima County after determining that giving it to Maricopa County Attorney Andrew Thomas would raise an appearance of impropriety.
At stake is the seizure of roughly $145 million in cash, cars, homes and other property from four alleged illegal gambling operations in the East Valley, which would be split 80-20 respectively between the Maricopa County Sheriff’s Office and the prosecuting agency litigating the forfeitures.
Arpaio argued that Maricopa County deserved the proceeds because it incurred all of the expense to bring the case.
Arpaio said he threatened to sue if Pima County Attorney Barbara La-Wall didn’t give the case to Thomas. “It’s very nice she saw the light,” Arpaio said.
The civil case is a companion to a two-year undercover criminal case Arpaio and Goddard had built against the gamblers.
Last month, Goddard ended his involvement with all cases investigated by Arpaio after the sheriff and Thomas announced they were launching an investigation into Goddard’s office to determine whether he improperly cut a deal last year with former state Treasurer David Petersen in return for $1.9 million.
A call to a LaWall spokesman was not immediately returned.