Originally Published: August 11, 2016 6:08 a.m.
A records request to the Yavapai County Sheriff’s Office has revealed that David Hess – referred to as someone “working on the campaign to elect Judd Simmons to the position of assessor” – sent Sheila Polk an email alleging nepotism in the Yavapai County Assessor’s Office by County Assessor Pam Pearsall.
Simmons, running for County Assessor against Pearsall, denied involvement of himself or his campaign, stating in an email dated Tuesday, Aug. 9, to The Daily Courier: “As far as I know, no one associated with my campaign filed a complaint.”
Hess contributed $1,500 to Simmons’ campaign.
The document identifying Hess as part of Simmons’ campaign is an Inter-Office Memorandum from Polk to Sheriff Scott Mascher.
Simmons responded in an email to the Courier on Wednesday, stating on July 24 he received an unsolicited email concerning further nepotism in the Assessor’s Office, and forwarded it “to volunteers on my campaign team” for their review.
“Unbeknownst to me, on (July 25) a member of my campaign team forwarded the unsolicited email to ... Sheila Polk for her review. I first became aware of the actions of this campaign member on Wednesday morning, August 10.
“I am not going to share the contents of the unsolicited email with you, since it is still part of an ongoing investigation.”
Penny Cramer, administrative assistant to Polk, provided the documents to The Daily Courier that included Hess’ email correspondence indicating that he was forwarding an email from someone he knew who wished to remain anonymous. He stated it was the third time he had heard about the relationship between Pearsall and her niece-in-law who also worked in the County Assessor’s Office.
Hess questioned the relationship of another county employee to Pearsall, stating that person “…has a large number of Pearsall names on her friend’s list on Facebook.” Polk’s memo to Mascher indicates this employee is a friend, not a relative, of Pearsall.
The anonymous email asked the unnamed receiver, “If you are elected, how do you plan on dealing with the current employee situation?”
Polk turned the matter over to Mascher for investigation, as reflected in the undated memorandum, and noted a conflict with any request for prosecution because her office also serves as the legal advisor for Pearsall’s office.
On July 28, Mascher requested Coconino County Sheriff’s Office (CCSO) investigate the allegations. The detective assigned to the case returns today, Aug. 11, from vacation, said CCSO Cmdr. Rex Gilliland.
No charges have been filed against Pearsall.