Maricopa County Board Of Supervisors Moves To Suspend Assessor Paul Petersen

By Kathy Ritchie
Associated Press
Published: Wednesday, October 23, 2019 - 1:57pm
Updated: Wednesday, October 23, 2019 - 2:18pm
Maricopa County Sheriff's Office
Paul Petersen

The governing board in Arizona's most populous county is taking steps to suspend an elected official accused of running a human smuggling scheme.

The Maricopa County Board of Supervisors voted unanimously Wednesday to notify Assessor Paul Petersen that it plans to consider suspending him for up to 120 days. The board is required to give Petersen five days' notice. It can't remove him from office and he's refused to resign.

Board members say Petersen can't perform his duties from jail, and auditors have found documents related to his adoption business on his county computer.

Supervisor Clint Hickman also raised another, new concern during the brief meeting.

"Furthermore the multitude of documents not related to his public duties but to his private law practice on Mr. Petersen’s Maricopa county computer, demonstrates additional neglect of duty," said Hickman.

Prosecutors say Petersen illegally paid women from the Marshall Islands to have their babies in the United States and give them up for adoption. Petersen former lawyer has denied that Petersen's adoption business broke the law.

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