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County won’t make investigation report public

December 4, 2018

KINGMAN — Mohave County supervisors voted Monday to view the complete investigation report into a Mohave Valley construction project.

The board voted to look at the entire report, including backup documents, taped interviews and exhibits of an investigation into employee complaints regarding the development services and building department operations. The entire report will go before the board for review in executive session and will not be available to the public.

District 3 Sup. Buster Johnson, of Lake Havasu City, asked for the entire report after the Aug. 20 board meeting but was told by the Arizona County Insurance Pool that it would not release the entire report. Johnson’s issue is that ACIP refused to provide the entire report.

Mohave County Attorney Matt Smith asked the board not to release the entire report to the public. He said the board could vote to disclose the entire investigation report, deny disclosing the report or have Phoenix attorney Jim Jellison meet with the board in executive session.

Smith said more than two dozen interviews with county employees were done. Disclosing details of the investigation could cause employees a lot of problems and might prevent employees from coming forward in the future, Smith suggested. There also might be litigation issues.

If there is, for example, a board member or county department head or any county employee who faces a criminal charge, then that criminal case would be heard before another county or possibly the Arizona Attorney General’s Office, Smith said.

District 2 Sup. Hildy Angius suggested, and the board agreed, on the fourth option of releasing the entire report to the board only in executive session and not make it public.

Deputy Mohave County Attorney Ryan Esplin previously said an employee accused county employees of cover-up and corruption in a construction project in Mohave Valley and possibly other projects. Shortly after the accusation was made, an investigation began into the complaint.

Esplin added that a 58-page investigative report was provided to the county supervisors in an executive session at the Aug. 20 board meeting, but Johnson wanted the entire report including supporting documents.

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