AZ AG: Apache County Attorney involved in probe over alleged misconduct

Arizona Attorney General Kris Mayes

Officials with the Arizona Attorney General's Office say a letter has been sent to the Apache County Board of Supervisors, as that county's attorney, Michael Whiting, is involved in an investigation.

On June 5, we reported that a search warrant was served at the Apache County Attorney's Office by investigators with the Arizona Attorney General's Office. In the letter sent by Mayes, which was dated June 7, she wrote that the warrant was served "as part of an ongoing investigation into the alleged misuse of public monies and threatening and intimidating a political opponent." The warrant itself, however, remains sealed by the court.

Whiting was elected to his first term in office in 2008. The letter notes that since the search warrant was served, Whiting has not returned to the office, and attorneys with the office have called on him to resign.

"Seeking and executing a warrant on a County Attorney’s office was a significant decision that I did not take lightly," a portion of the letter reads. "As the State’s chief law enforcement officer, I made the determination that serving a warrant at this time was in the best interest of the state of Arizona and the Apache County Attorney’s Office."

Tune in to FOX 10 Phoenix for the latest news

AG Mayes wrote that she will exercise supervisory powers and assist the Apache County Attorney's Office for 90 days, with the county's Chief Deputy having "full authorities to make decisions as of the Chief Deputy were the county attorney in the absence of County Attorney Whiting." In addition, month expenditure reports must be provided to the Arizona Attorney General's Office's Criminal Division, and should Whiting return to office, he will be required to seek approval from the AG's Office on personnel decisions, or expenditures over $200.

"The exercise of my supervisory authority is intended to assist the Apache County Attorney’s Office, not control it. Nor is it intended to interfere with the Board of Supervisor’s authority over County Offices," a portion of the letter reads.

County Attorney issues statement

On the afternoon of June 7, we received a statement from Whiting. The statement reads:

"I want the citizens of Apache County to know I intend to work closely with the Attorney General's Office and I know Attorney General Mays to be an exemplary public servant who only wants what is best for the citizens of Apache County. I look forward to working closely with her and her office as we work through the current situation.

As a point of clarification, I was actually at the monthly Board of Supervisors meeting (at the county seat) on Tuesday, June 4th, 2024, when the search warrant was served on the Apache County Attorney's Office. Sometime later that day (Tuesday) I spoke with the special agent in charge who indicated he didn't need anything from me. After the phone call I attended another meeting in a different city in the county. Later that night, after that meeting, I drove back to the county seat and was informed that the special agent in charge now wanted a laptop and a cell phone. I provided those to him. At that point he said he didn't need anything else. (Tuesday night).

The next day, Wednesday, he was contacted again and asked if he needed anything further to which he responded no. I then went to California on a pre-planned trip with family. I came back from California today, (two days later) June 7th, 2024, have been to the office, and been in contact with County management, etc.

Accordingly, I'm not sure why there's been any statements that I am not present or my whereabouts are unknown."