Mary Rose Wilcox wins appeal over her $975,000 settlement

PHOENIX - Former Maricopa County Supervisor Mary Rose Wilcox has won an appeal over a $975,000 settlement of a lawsuit she filed against the county for a failed criminal case against her.

The decision Monday by the 9th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals backs up a lower court's decision that ordered the county to pay the settlement to Wilcox.

Wilcox recently resigned from her county post so she could run for the congressional seat being vacated by the retirement of U.S. Rep. Ed Pastor.

Wilcox's attorneys had worked with a mediator to reach a settlement. But some county officials disputed the deal because they contended the county administrator who set up the mediation didn't have final authority over the agreement.

County spokeswoman Cari Gerchick said county officials were "reviewing the opinion and evaluation our options."

Including Wilcox's settlement, the county will have spent $39 million to settle a political feud among county officials from 2006 through 2010 that led to a spate of costly lawsuits and unsuccessful public-corruption investigations.

The disputes involving Sheriff Joe Arpaio and Andrew Thomas, who was Maricopa County attorney at the time, centered on cuts to agency budgets, a plan to build a new court complex and other issues.

The feud escalated into criminal investigations that Arpaio and Thomas launched against officials and judges who were at odds with them.

In the end, criminal cases against Wilcox, another county official and a judge were dismissed amid criticism that they were trumped up. Arpaio and Thomas contended they were trying to root out corruption in county government.

Wilcox was accused in the criminal case of voting on contracts involving a Hispanic advocacy group that had given her loans and never filing conflict-of-interest statements. A judge had ruled that Thomas had a conflict in prosecuting Wilcox and dismissed the charges against her.

In a statement Monday, Thomas called the appeal court's decision on Wilcox's settlement outrageous.

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