Dumb AZ Politician Easily Falls For FBI’s Free Baseball Ticket Trap

  the easiest one in the book

Not so much!

It is time for another Arizona politics bedtime story! Undercover FBI agents running a fake real estate company bought former Tempe City Councilman and current state Representative Ben Arredondo a few thousand dollars’ worth of tickets to baseball and football games. He loved this gesture so very much that in return, “Arredondo brokered meetings between the undercover agents and other public officials, divulged information regarding the city of Tempe’s bidding process, and attempted to persuade other city officials to approve the purported development project,” allegedly, according to the indictment. If it’s this cheap to buy off corrupt Arizona politicians, shouldn’t the local underfunded public school science clubs hold a few dozen bake sales and take the proceeds over to the nearest elected official and get, say, a particle collider to put behind the gymnasium?

Because, come on:

This started in 2009, according to the indictment, when Arredondo had the agents buy tables at charity events a couple of times, and then Arredondo would choose who got to sit at those tables.

Then Arredondo hit up an Arizona Cardinals game, courtesy of the “company”/FBI, followed by four tickets to see the New York Yankees in a playoff game in Los Angeles, then 18 Arizona Diamondbacks tickets, and finally, two tickets to a college basketball game between Duke and Michigan State, the indictment says.

The grand total of the charity tables and the tickets: Around $6,000.

Meanwhile, Arredondo was working with city officials to make the deal happen, at one point saying the company would have “continued support” when he transitioned from the council to the House.

“You guys will ask, you guys will have,” Arredondo’s quoted as saying. “I don’t know how else to say it. We’ll be just fine because not only [are we] covered at the city, we’re covered now at the state.”

Clever! And now Arredondo, a Republican turned Democrat, may end up paying a $1 million fine with some prison time, for his sports tickets. [Phoenix New Times]

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146 comments

    1. Dudleydidwrong

      He'll be a switch hitter. As a Republican turned Democrat he's been working both sides of the plate for awhile.

      1. Lascauxcaveman

        And WTF, a Dem in Tempe? I thought they were all in Tucson.

        Is there a college in Tempe, too? University of Phoenix or something?

    2. Doktor StrangeZoom

      Hahaha! Prison rape jokes are just the funniest thing EVER, especially since it's only bad people being raped! Rape is hilarious when it happens to bad people!

      1. Wile E. Quixote

        Oh come on, look me in the eye and tell me that if you somehow wandered into an alternate universe where Bush and Cheney had been impeached in 2007 by a Democratic Congress and turned over to Den Haag and ended up being convicted of war crimes that you wouldn't crack a bit of smile when they were thrown into a cell with a bunch of horny, and not very particular, Serb militiamen.

        1. thatsitfortheother1

          You might be surprised to learn that prisons in Northern Europe aren't run by the inmates like those in America.

          1. sullivanst

            Except for a couple of wings of the Maze for a few decades.

            While the Europeans don't have the same attitude that prisons should (a) be a profit source for private corporations and (b) be made as ghastly as possible and therefore no attempt may be made to prevent inmates from suffering dehumanizing brutality on a daily basis, there's nowhere on earth where it's a safe place to be.

            For example: "All Inmates of a prison for prisoners awaiting trial (Bordeaux, France) were eligible for this cross-sectional study. 375 inmates have been face-to-face interviewed by an experienced psychologist … Of them, 24% were victim of physical violence at least once a month and 10% perpetrated physical violence at least once a month."

          2. sullivanst

            No, because the detention unit for the ICTY is run with considerably more focus on inmate safety than the rest of the Dutch prison system. Yes, I acknowledge that's quite relevant to this thread, but it does mean it's inappropriate to generalize from there to all of Northern Europe.

          3. thatsitfortheother1

            And, come to think of it, Bordeaux is only marginally Northern European.

          4. sullivanst

            Well, true, but given the choice I'd much rather be imprisoned in Bordeaux than Warsaw.

    1. Omophagist

      I don't think driving Mexicans out to a remote part of the desert and shooting them in the back of the head is considered a sport…even in AZ.

    2. SnarkoMarx

      Bullfighting. But the Mexican bullfighter has to be wearing pink jailhouse garb and doesn't get a sword. And there are five bulls.

  1. V572 Is this him?

    It's not nice, and apparently illegal, to obviously do politics in the way it's actually done. Duke Cunningham taught us this. You have to have PACs and chiefs-of-staff and campaign committees. If you just take the lucre yourself, it doesn't look that good.

    The reason every NFL and MLB and NBA city is golden-showering taxpayer money on team owners to buy facilities for their teams is that politicians lust after luxury box tickets like junkies after crack cocaine. Wouldn't have thought the moral pollution extended all the way to Tempé.

    1. Fukui-sanRadioBarb

      One of the many things which makes me proud of my adopted city is that the SF Gigantes' AT&T park didn't use public money.

      1. SorosBot

        Man, AT&T must have got us cheep and paid SF the big bucks; here the city just renamed the subway station at the stadiums to AT&T station.

          1. Fukui-sanRadioBarb

            Tribute to your daughters and our friend Radio is all.

            Hope everything is good.

          2. Barb

            Everything was great until 2 minutes ago when Jeff told me that there will be a total solar eclipse here on Sunday, LOL! That kinda shit freaks me out.

            That's very sweet of you, thank you. I am very much honored.

            When are the rest of you guys going to change your names too?

          3. Lascauxcaveman

            I think we had a commenter here named "Tinfoil Hat."

            He could change that to "Tinfoil Barb," but that would be kinda fishy.

          4. HistoriCat

            I'm open to changing my name but not sure what would look good:
            HistoriBarb
            RadioBarbcat
            Historadiobarb

            They just don't sing!

          5. Steverino247

            It won't be total. Annular. About 85 to 90 percent coverage. Depending on where you are you will see a big black thing in front of the sun from an angle or a brilliant ring with the moon in the middle. Be sure to be safe and don't look directly at it. Even the ring is enough to cause damage. Poke a hole in a piece of card stock and then project the Sun's image through that hole onto a white surface.

          6. Wile E. Quixote

            Damn. I can't find that absolutely hilarious monologue from Don DeLillo's The Day Room which describes how best to safely view a solar eclipse. My Bing-fu is weak.

          7. Fare la Volpe

            Considering my name literally translates to "Do the Fox," I'm not so sure how Barb would sound wedged in there.

      2. BerkeleyBear

        Nah, they just got the land for next to nothing and a massive tax abatement. So it just used public assets, not money.

        Heck, Eddie DeBartolo would have built the Niners a new stadium with no dedicated long term public funds – he just wanted a tax free shopping mall on sight and a low interest loan in the form of bonds to hold him over. Of course that was before he got popped trying to buy off people in Louisiana (and how out there do you have to be to get popped for corruption there?)

        1. Fukui-sanRadioBarb

          Oh, I knew the advantageous terms they got the land on, but let's be fair and say that the regeneration of the area around AT&T was probably a decent deal.

          The new 49ers thing is a boondoggle, and as for the new Warriors and A's crap … well. Business as usual, it seems.

          1. BerkeleyBear

            I was talking about the old 49ers thing (the whole moving to Santa Clara unless we get a new home is a boondoggle I agree). Back in 97-98, the voters actually approved a bond that would have supported a stadium at no direct public funding (since it would have all theoretically been raised from buyers on the market and eventually repaid) but Eddie got in trouble before he could get all the other pieces in place. Then Steve Young and Jerry Rice went down in rapid succession, the team went in the crapper and the Yorks didn't want to spend any money.

            At least the other issues the Niners bond helped (mainly a bond for the Zoo) went ahead as planned.

      3. Callyson

        How nice…

        …meanwhile, I am praying that my adopted city does not give us a double whammy of using public tax funds (and I am counting tax credits as public funds–money has to be made up somewhere, and don't tell me the stadium will be a money maker) AND placing it in downtown Los Angeles (just what the area needs–yet more congestion)…

        1. not that Radio

          Am I the only one who found that Dad bug alien who was trying to fix the spaceship totally sympathetic and relatable? That movie made me so weepy.

    1. HarryButtle

      Yes. Yes, it is. We eat dirt and cactus thorns here at least twice a week for dinner. Six grand (grande?) buys a lot of tacos (from the drive thru shack that we all know employs undocumented workers, but the food is just too damn good to call ICE on them).

    2. Steverino247

      It's not the money. It's the thought (corruption) that counts. This fucker is toast. Way to go FBI!

  2. HateMachine

    Just a few dinners and ball games? He could've gotten way more if he'd just played it a little more coy before he let the feds fuck him.

  3. Monsieur_Grumpe

    Sports tickets? Without any gay hookers, wet suits or Truck Nutz abuse I give this scandal a D-. Ben, you are a disappointment in so many ways.

    1. rickmaci

      Risk going to jail over Michigan State-Duke?? That seems enough to justify an insanity plea.

  4. Negropolis

    Oh, God, why couldn't this have been Jan Brewer or Trent Franks or (Fill in the Blank)? A former Tempe city councilman is like an ex-deputy Maricopa County clerk. Hell, it could have at least been a Mesa city councilperson.

    I don’t know how else to say it.

    That's great, because it makes it easier to weed out the shameless grifters.

  5. Pragmatist2

    Oh! This is all "according to the indictment"!!!!
    That's so Lamestream Media. Reporting based on indictments instead of something you maybe saw on the Internet.

    1. Sassomatic

      Fox News: Obama accused of hiding gay kiddie porn dungeon in Lincoln Bedroom [according to some lunatic in Florida]

      1. HistoriBarb

        You don't start your chain with Fox. First, get one of the smaller sources (newspaper, radio, television – does not matter) to raise the issue first. Then, Fox News can say "media reports are surfacing of Obama blah blah blah".

  6. Fukui-sanRadioBarb

    Because we all know that if there's something that Phoenix needs then it's more shitty overpriced housing.

    Enjoy jail, man with lower-case eyes.

  7. YouBetcha

    Isn't one of the Palin offspring an Arizona resident now? Someone should set them up together.

  8. SorosBot

    "New York Yankees in a playoff game in Los Angeles, then 18 Arizona Diamondbacks tickets, and finally, two tickets to a college basketball game between Duke and Michigan State, the indictment says."

    Um, why did the shitty college sports that nobody cares about seal the deal, after the tickets to real games that people actually want to go to apparently weren't good enough?

    1. Negropolis

      You obviously don't know about college sports. A Duke-MSU game is a Big Fucking Deal, let me tell you, especially if you want to compare them to any pro team out of Arizona. The Yankees? Yeah, you might have a point.

        1. BerkeleyBear

          If it was the 2011 game, it was at MSG in New York in a pre-season tourney. It was also coach K's win that put him past Bob Knight. So for any douche who considers themselves a basketball fan it might be a big deal. Sorta like Morimoto taking on Batali in Battle Fat Bastard.

          1. Negropolis

            Well, that and any game between two teams of such high national caliber is a good game, regardless. But, I'm a Spartan fan, so I'm a little biased. That said, I think some folks forget just how unpopular pro-sports are in areas of the country with major college sports dynasties. I mean, the Pistons wish they still had a following like MSU or even UofM.

    1. elgin_pelican

      Usually, attending a Cardinals game is the result of a plea bargain. You're doing it WRONG!

  9. HtmlSymbol

    The idiot should have been ejected from the park after this moronic incident. I am just as disappointed in the security at the park as well. The fan SHOULD have been ejected rather than allowed to return to his seat to possibly try it again and perhaps harm or kill someone else. Security SHOULD have bard him for re-entering the park for the All-Star game if he had tickets, and for the rest of the season at least. Shame on the fan, and shame on the security officers for a total lack of judgement on both parts.

      1. Monsieur_Grumpe

        I think this might be an example of why helmets should be mandatory for people who insist on playing full body contact croquet, other than that… WTF???

    1. Fukui-sanRadioBarb

      Security SHOULD have bard him

      When Salas strives some ball’s vast weight to throw,
      The line, too, hitters and the words move slow.
      Not so when swift Sandoval scours the plain,
      Flies o’er th’unbending field, and skims along the main.

      Wtf are you talking about, anyway?

      1. sullivanst

        Do there see I what you.

        Took me until the second reading to get it though. Damn you brainautocorrect.

          1. sullivanst

            My brain read what the OC meant, not what they wrote, so I kinda missed your inspiration.

          2. Lascauxcaveman

            I'm pretty sure we've found the next Grantland Rice, here.

            Moar Sports Reporting, Fukui-etc.

      1. Fukui-sanRadioBarb

        There was nothing else to do. It's incoherent insanity, but it's passionate incoherent insanty.

  10. Beowoof

    I am thinking he is a plant by the republicans trying to make democrats look worse than they already do to most of the dried up old prunes who retired from the Midwest in Arizona. He gets a slap on the wrist and some generous donor puts a few bucks in the Caymans for him.

    1. HarryButtle

      He's takin' one for the team. He'll do his time quietly and they'll set him up after he gets out. He's Mr Blonde, fer fuck's sake.

  11. ManchuCandidate

    "Take me out to the ball game,
    Take me out to the (private) box.
    Score me some hookers and cracker jack,
    I don't care what you get back,
    Let me root, root, root for the home team,
    You get what you want that's the game.
    For it's one, two, three wire taps you're caught,
    At the old ball game."

  12. C_R_Eature

    Well, I almost had a Pithy Comment all ready to go, but then I suddenly realized that I really don't give a rat's ass about any of this. So, I'll just post this age old question in musical form.

    1. not that Radio

      There was an interview with Wes Anderson, where he was talking about Seu Jorge's version of "Rock 'n Roll Suicide". He said "which one of those words was 'cigarette', exactly?"

      1. C_R_Eature

        Really good point. I don't even remotely understand Portuguese, but I love Seu Jorge's Bowie versions and when I'm listening to them I couldn't give a fuck about the lyrics. Go figure.

        Here's another

        1. not that Radio

          I like to imagine that his voice is an alto clarinet, just cold blendin' in with the nylon string guitar. It's magical.

          1. C_R_Eature

            That's as fine a description as I've heard. I don't have anything close to him anywhere in in my collection.

          1. C_R_Eature

            I usually make up filthy lyrics to help me deal with Earworms. They don't go away, but they become more fun.

  13. cheetojeebus

    If those kids have brownies with the pecans stuck on top I'll get a dozen, I need some damn chocolate, I am so depressed.

    1. ThundercatHo

      How about some nice chewy brownies with walnuts throughout and some rich chocolate frosting on top with a nice tall glass of ice cold milk? Good grief, now I'm jonesing. Good thing there's leftover M-day candy.

  14. Chow Yun Flat

    It took three years and $6,000 worth of tickets to get one one ex-councilman from Tempe. They must hate to have to work–thinking of the easy days in Illinois with Rod Blagojevich trying to sell everything he could think of

  15. keinsignal

    Reminds me of Dean Zimmerman, a Minneapolis councilman from the Green Party. Guy got a two-year prison sentence in 2006 after accepting like $7,200 in cash from a local developer who turned out to have been working with the FBI all along (Dean claims he was going to use the money to build a retaining wall on some property in his district, and thought he was being given a charitable contribution). I knew both him and his wife pretty well – a good guy but a little too trusting and I suspect a little bit of a Robin Hood complex.

  16. Steverino247

    This was a part-time job for the FBI. They certainly weren't working on this full-time with a bunch of agents. The idea was to keep certain guys busy and slap one asshole real hard so as to serve as a warning for the rest of the politicos whom they know are easily tempted. They can't catch them all or the system would collapse! So, they set up a few to keep the others careful.

  17. MiniMencken

    Finally, good old American know-how has created a truly affordable politician that nearly anyone can own. FTW!

  18. rickmaci

    Every time I read one of these petty corruption stories I recall the late great Speaker of the California Assembly, Jess Unruh. "If you can't eat their food, drink their booze, screw their women and then vote against them, you have no business being up here."

  19. Sassomatic

    He looks like he's thinking about the time he sniffed a girl's (boy's?) underwear.

  20. BlueStateLibel

    I just hope those weren't Mets tickets he was after, because then he really sold himself short.

  21. finallyhappy

    think I'll forward this my friends on our council. I do believe they are honest or at least would not be bought out for less than a million

  22. finallyhappy

    I add- a local politician just said that a married couple making $150,000 isn't rich(she is against raising taxes). Well, maybe not in the big scheme of rich people but if my husband and I had ever made $150,000(and we live in the same area)- I would have thought we were doing pretty darn well. Wonder if she got any baseball tickets or lots of cash from the rich(or not rich)

  23. BaldarTFlagass

    Wait a minute, the FBI was involved? How come this guy didn't end up buying a Stinger missile and a bunch of fake C-4 explosives from them, so he could blow up the Hoover Dam Bypass Bridge or something?

  24. Terry

    " And now Arredondo, a Republican turned Democrat, may end up paying a $1 million fine with some prison time, for his sports tickets."

    Good grief, give him back to the Republicans.

  25. Tundra Grifter

    Kirsten:

    That would make a great movie! A poor community with terrible schools can't get government help so it pretends to be a crime organization to bribe politicians to improve itself.

  26. mavenmaven

    Anyone who so lusts after watching grown men hit a ball around with a stick probably shouldn't be making important decisions anyway.

  27. DahBoner

    It's a good thing most Arizona politicians are dumb, otherwise they might get offended if they thought about why the Tempe City Government building is an upside down pyramid!

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