November 10, 2004

Maricopa County Assessor Kevin Ross is going to have to stand trial on all charges against him.

Maricopa County Superior Court Judge Thomas O’Toole on Tuesday re fused to th row out charges stemming from allegations he gave a mortgage broker the names and addresses of 15,000 elderly taxpayers.

The judge rejected arguments by John Hannah, Ross’ attorney, that the records his client sold were already public.

O’Toole also rebuffed the contention that state laws about disclosure of confidential information are too vague to be enforced.

The people whose information was sold had sought to take advantage of a 2000 voter-approved constitutional amendment permitting limited-income

seniors to freeze their property tax assessments.

According to an Arizona Attorney General’s Office investigation, the broker was going to use the list to sell reverse mortgages in which older homeowners can get cash while remaining in their houses without monthly payments. Ross, the report says, was going to get $400 for each mortgage sold.

Ross was charged with improper disclosure of confidential information and using his official position for personal profit. He never denied providing the records but insisted they were public.

Ross told taxpayers their personal information would be kept confidential. O’Toole said Ross cannot argue now that the law is too vague.

A third charge, which Hannah did not seek to have dismissed, accuses Ross of obstruction of a criminal investigation.

According to the indictment, Ross told the mortgage broker to "act stupid if anyone asked him about the list."

A trial is set for Dec. 7.

(0) comments

Welcome to the discussion.

Keep it Clean. Please avoid obscene, vulgar, lewd, racist or sexually-oriented language.
Don't Threaten. Threats of harming another person will not be tolerated.
Be Truthful. Don't knowingly lie about anyone or anything.
Be Nice. No racism, sexism or any sort of -ism that is degrading to another person.
Be Proactive. Use the 'Report' link on each comment to let us know of abusive posts.
Share with Us. We'd love to hear eyewitness accounts, the history behind an article.