2 Arizona lawmakers face ethics complaints, lawyer cites spite

May 3, 2022, 6:55 AM
(Facebook Photo/Arizona Capitol Museum)...
(Facebook Photo/Arizona Capitol Museum)
(Facebook Photo/Arizona Capitol Museum)

PHOENIX — Two Arizona lawmakers face ethics complaints that one of their attorneys said was prompted by a bitter divorce involving the Scottsdale man who filed them and his apparent intent to get back at anyone connected with his former wife.

The complaints filed by Phillip Potter allege that Democratic Sen. Robert Meza engaged in fraud and public corruption schemes for the past decade, and that Democratic Sen. Lisa Otondo helped cover up for Meza.

The Senate Ethics Committee on Monday met to consider the complaint against Otondo but took no action other than extending the time it has to review the matter until its House counterpart has a chance to consider the Meza case.

The House Ethics Committee has not scheduled any hearings on that complaint.

Meza’s Phoenix lawyer, Tim Nelson, said the allegations against his client are false and have been shopped around by Potter for years as part of an effort to get back at anyone who had had anything to do with is ex-wife.

Those efforts included providing all the information in the complaint to federal investigators, who Nelson said took no action. He also raised them in a 135-page lawsuit accusing his former wife, Meza and more than a dozen other people of conspiring to support an order of protection his ex-wife obtained against him.

The suit also named health care companies and a major utility for their alleged participation in the fraud.

“Every allegation that’s in the Ethics Committee complaints were also in the Superior Court litigation, and the Superior Court dismissed them all in their entirety,” Nelson said. “And we expect that the ethics committees will do the same.”

Potter did not immediately return calls seeking comment. Otondo also did not immediately return calls and emails seeking comment.

At Monday’s meeting of the Senate Ethics Committee, the panel’s two Democrats complained that the case should be tossed immediately.

“The Senate Ethics Committee has not and should not engage in a fishing expedition,” Sen. Victoria Steele said.

“If there is (alleged unethical conduct) and there is evidence sufficient to proceed, then they should proceed,” Steele said. “But not simply based on suggestions, innuendo, suspicions or conspiracy theories.”

But Republican Sen. Sine Kerr, the committee chair, said the committee does have good reason to extend the time it has to weigh the complaint, “and that is all we’re doing here today.”

Lifetime Windows & Doors

We want to hear from you.

Have a story idea or tip? Pass it along to the KTAR News team here.

Arizona News

(File Facebook Photo/Yavapai County Sheriff's Office)...
Associated Press

Yavapai County Sheriff’s deputy wounded in shooting with suspect

A Yavapai County Sheriff’s deputy was shot and wounded Tuesday and the incident turned into a barricade situation, according to authorities.
17 hours ago
(Facebook Photo/U.S. Forest Service - Coconino National Forest)...

Coconino and Kaibab forests in northern Arizona lift fire restrictions

Having received significant precipitation from recent storms, the Coconino and Kaibab forests in northern Arizona announced Tuesday that fire restrictions have been lifted.
17 hours ago
(AP Photo/Ross D. Franklin, File)...

Arizona Gov. Doug Ducey signs $18 billion budget for 2023 fiscal year

Arizona Gov. Doug Ducey on Tuesday signed the $18 billion budget into law that makes hefty investments in education, border security and infrastructure.
17 hours ago
(AP Photo/Ross D. Franklin)...
Danny Shapiro

Former GOP congressman Matt Salmon drops out of race for Arizona governor

With about a week until early voting for Arizona's primary election, Matt Salmon pulled out of Republican race for governor on Tuesday.
17 hours ago
(Airbnb Photo)...
Kevin Stone

Airbnb makes party ban policy permanent, says it had big impact in Arizona

Airbnb said Tuesday its party ban has been so effective, especially in Arizona, that the vacation rental platform is making the policy permanent.
17 hours ago
(Facebook Photo/Phoenix Police Department)...

Phoenix police shoot armed suspect near 52nd Street and Thomas Road

Phoenix police shot and critically wounded a man they said pointed a gun at them during a confrontation Monday evening.
17 hours ago

Sponsored Articles

Day & Night Air Conditioning, Heating and Plumbing

Most plumbing problems can be fixed with regular maintenance

Instead of waiting for a problem to happen, experts suggest getting a head start on your plumbing maintenance.
Carla Berg, MHS, Deputy Director, Public Health Services, Arizona Department of Health Services

Vaccines are safe if you are pregnant or breastfeeding

Are you pregnant? Do you have a friend or loved one who’s expecting?

Best retirement savings rates hit 4.30%

Maximize your retirement savings with guaranteed fixed rates up to 4.30%. Did you know there is a financial product that can give you great interest rates as you build your retirement savings and provide you with a paycheck for life once you retire? It might sound too good to be true but it is not; this product is called an annuity.
2 Arizona lawmakers face ethics complaints, lawyer cites spite