Former Attorney General Terry Goddard accused attorneys for the Arizona Department of Water Resources (AWDR) ethical lapses and of blindsiding the Central Arizona Project (CAP) over their filing of a legal brief in an employment lawsuit involving the water district, Arizona Capitol Times reports.
The lawsuit was filed in 2012 by a former employee of the Central Arizona Water Conservation District, who alleged CAP violated the federal Family Medical Leave Act.
In an amicus brief in the case, ADWR said CAP is overstating its role in Arizona’s water management by claiming it is the “single entity” created by Arizona to secure, manage and deliver more than half of Arizona’s share of water from the Colorado River, also arguing it is entitled to sovereign immunity under the U.S. Constitution’s 11th Amendment.
During a CAP board meeting on April 6, Goddard, who is a board member, took aim at ADWR, calling the agency’s amicus brief an “extremely hostile” action.
“It was a sneak attack, pure and simple,” he said.
Goddard asked why ADWR did not try to work with CAP ahead of time to address its concerns and instead filed a legal brief without letting CAP know about it.
“I’m really just concerned, as a lawyer, about the ethical implications of sandbagging what I thought was a collegial and cooperative fellow agency by appearing to damage their case in a Court of Appeals,” Goddard said.
ADWR Director Tom Buschatzke sent a letter to CAP Board President Lisa Atkins saying Goddard should retract his allegations of impropriety against the department’s attorneys.
Buschatzke noted the lawsuit has been going on for five years, but CAP had not made any efforts to inform ADWR of its existence, and nor is he aware of public meetings where the case was discussed.
“An allegation of ethical or professional impropriety against an attorney is extremely serious. The allegations made against my attorneys are without merit and should be retracted,” Buschatzke wrote.
But Goddard isn’t retracting his comments, telling Arizona Capitol Times he doesn’t regret making them