Chandler's city attorney sent the theft and tampering case of state Sen. John Huppenthal to the Scottsdale prosecutor on Friday after declaring a conflict of interest.
Jane Poston, Chandler spokeswoman, said the conflict exists because Huppenthal was a city councilman from 1984 to 1992 and part of his legislative district falls in Chandler.
Caron Close, Scottsdale prosecutor, said she is reviewing the case and should make a decision on whether to charge the Chandler Republican "fairly quickly."
She declined further comment.
Chandler police have recommended misdemeanor charges of theft and tampering with a political sign in connection with a Nov. 4 incident at a Chandler polling place.
Huppenthal has contended that he had permission from the manager of Country Brook Apartments, 4909 W. Joshua Blvd., to remove the sign, which he said contained lies about his participation in solving an air quality problem at Corona del Sol High School in Tempe.
The assistant manager of the complex told police that she said, "I don't care what you do," to Huppenthal, according to the police report.
Police wrote that Huppenthal removed a sign that didn't belong to him and it was questionable whether he actually got permission.
Huppenthal said he was following advice from the state that he could remove the sign.
State law allows the owner of a political sign to remove it, or the property owner can remove the sign if it is on private property. Huppenthal said that after he removed the sign he left it next to a trash bin for the owner, the state Democratic Party, to find it.
Ruth Levin, a 78-year-old Democratic volunteer, said she tried to stop Huppenthal from taking the sign, but he yanked it from her hands.
He denies she ever touched the sign.
Huppenthal, who has served in the Legislature for 16 years, easily defeated Ted Maish for the Senate seat, which represents west Chandler and parts of Ahwatukee Foothills and Tempe.