One of the accounts is the RICO fund that contains money from property confiscated from criminal activity.
The other is the Jail Enhancement Fund, which is supposed to be used to increase the value, quality, desirability or attractiveness of county jail services or operations.
According to JEF Guidelines and state law, the money is supposed to be deposited with the county treasurer. But that's not happening in Maricopa County.
In a news release posted on Sheriff Joe Arpaio's Truth Behind the Headlines page, the Sheriff's Office argued that it can do whatever it wants with these funds, such as purchase a nearly $500,000 inmate transport bus. Nevertheless, the office did not address the fact that its use of the funds was under investigation.
The Sheriff's Office did, however, attack KPHO:
Like so many other overdramatic “investigative” stories generated by Channel Five on the Sheriff’s Office, this particular story was reinvented from information covered by the Arizona Republic several months ago that has already been responded to by the Sheriff’s Office...
Channel Five’s tactic is usually to find a new person to interview like Byron Schlomach form the Goldwater Institute and lead their audience to believe that they have a new exclusive story...
The documents “obtained” by Channel Five on last night’s story were supplied by the Sheriff’s Office through public records requests. How channel five can suggest that the Sheriff’s Office is failing to be transparent is beyond us.
The truth is, these funds are audited every year and the Sheriff’s Office has never been found to be in violation of any state laws. Channel five never supported their accusation about violating state laws with any proof or evidence. Another Channel Five tactic; put an idea into the public’s head by making an accusation that they have no evidence to support.
In other news, the Sheriff's Office published an e-mail sent from ABC 15's news director to one of its investigative reporters:
The letter shows that Channel 15’s news director now wants his investigative reporter, Bernstein, to “come after” the Sheriff. The letter did not admonish Bernstein to be fair and impartial in his coverage of Arpaio but rather to “COME AFTER” him.
Given the email correspondence printed below, Sheriff Arpaio and the Office as a whole fully expect that Channel 15 will soon line up behind KPHO 5 and KPNX 12 as well as the Arizona Republic in a collective effort to denigrate Arpaio and the Office at every given opportunity.
What the Sheriff's Office does not include in the publication of the letter were the e-mail headers that state when the e-mail was sent. In fact, it was sent shortly after the news broke that a grand jury had been convened to look into allegations of abuse of power by Arpaio and his office.
The Phoenix New Times wrote its own commentary on the letter. This was shortly after the paper released an issue with a cover story on the court tower investigation.