Maricopa County report: Petersen performed county duties. Should suspension stand?

Paul Petersen at his Salt Lake City arraignment./Deseret News

By Jessica Boehm | Arizona Republic 

A report commissioned by the Maricopa County Board of Supervisors to investigate embattled County Assessor Paul Petersen turned up little evidence of professional misconduct. 

The Board of Supervisors suspended Petersen in October after he was arrested on a deluge of felony charges across three states related to an alleged international adoption scam he was operating out of his private law business. 

Petersen is appealing his suspension, arguing that the criminal charges he faces are unrelated to his conduct as the elected county assessor.

In preparation for Petersen’s appeal hearing Wednesday, the Board of Supervisors ordered the county attorney to conduct an investigation into Petersen’s work performance.

The report, released Friday, found that Petersen fulfilled all of the obligations required of a county assessor under the Arizona Constitution since he took over the office in 2013.

“No matter how badly the Board of Supervisors wishes to overturn the decision of Maricopa County voters, facts are stubborn things and today’s report confirms what we have been saying for weeks: Paul Petersen is the duly elected Assessor—and by all accounts, he has performed his duties well,” Petersen’s attorney Kory Langhofer said in a statement.

However, the third-party investigators who conducted the investigation determined Petersen spent county time and resources to conduct his private business.

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