Saturday, November 28, 2020 10:41 pm

Testimony: Johnson hired witness to find Pinal candidates against San Tan Valley incorporation

By Howard Fischer | Capitol Media Services via PinalCentral

Seeking to undermine her credibility, defense attorneys in the Corporation Commission bribery case got the government’s key witness to admit on the stand Tuesday she may have committed tax fraud.

Kelly Norton acknowledged that she never reported to the Internal Revenue Service the $6,000 a month she was paid over nine months in 2011 and 2012 by utility company owner George Johnson for political consulting work. That included Johnson’s desire to set up an organization for Johnson that could spend money to elect candidates to the Arizona Corporation Commission in 2012 without having to publicly disclose the donors.

That work, she said, also involved finding candidates for the Pinal County Board of Supervisors that year whose views were in opposition to incorporating San Tan Valley and against the proposed Curis copper mine near Florence.

But while Norton never declared the $6,000 a month she got from Johnson, she did report to the IRS the $3,500 a month that she, in turn, paid to Sherry Pierce. And Norton, by reporting that expense from her personal consulting firm, in turn reduced her own taxable income.

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