Wednesday, August 26, 2015

Attorney tells Corporation Commissioner Bitter Smith and her trade association to preserve records

Susan Bitter Smith may be in violation of Arizona statutes, says Attorney Tom Ryan. Here is another piece of this story from KJZZ.

A local attorney filed letters Tuesday with the Arizona Corporation Commission and Commissioner Susan Bitter Smith’s trade association demanding they preserve various documents in anticipation of a potential lawsuit.

Tom Ryan, who is known for pursuing high-profile cases against local politicians, stated in the ‘litigation hold’ letters he has evidence that may prove Bitter Smith violated a commissioner-specific conflict of interest-type law. He said he is preparing to file a complaint with Attorney General Mark Brnovich calling for Bitter Smith's removal from office.

"I am in possession of evidence which shows that you have official relations with and are pecuniarily interested in the telecommunications industry in Arizona," Ryan wrote. "Further, this evidence tends to show that you have had such relations and interests while you were a candidate for the office of commissioner. If true, this would mean that your conduct is in violation of (Arizona Revised Statute) 40-101 … and could face removal from office."

Ryan’s letters were delivered a day after KJZZ raised questions about possible conflicts of interest pertaining to Bitter Smith, a Republican and chair of the commission, and her ties with the cable and telecommunications industries. Ryan had previously told KJZZ he was considering filing a complaint with the Attorney General.

Questions stem from the fact that Bitter Smith is a registered lobbyist for Cox Communications and executive director of Southwest Cable Communications Association, a cable industry-trade group based in Phoenix.

For a recap of the various legal and political problems faced by all five ACC Commissioners, see my post from a couple of days ago.

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