The Arizona Attorney General’s Office announced last week that it will not investigate Marana Councilman Russell Clanagan’s communications with area businesses and the Continental Ranch Community Association.
After a review of documents submitted by Marana Town Attorney Frank Cassidy, the office found nothing to warrant an investigation into the first-term councilman.
“After careful analysis of all the materials, the office will not investigate this matter further as there is insufficient evidence of a violation of the conflict of interest statute or bribery statute,” Unit Chief Counsel John R. Evans stated in a letter dated Jan. 20. Cassidy had previously stated in a Dec. 31 memo that he found “insufficient evidence to conclude that Council Member Clanagan had committed a crime.”
Clanagan said the attorney general’s office’s decision didn’t surprise him.
“There was nothing there, and it was just something that was blown up to look like a whole lot more than it should have been,” Clanagan said. “But that’s part of what you sign up for when you get into public service.”
Last fall, Clanagan set up a free gym membership with a fitness center that had business before the town council. And, while exchanging messages with another business seeking town approval to expand its offices, Clanagan mentioned that another council member had an out-of-work son. Clanagan wondered whom the council member’s son might contact regarding potential openings.
Also, in messages sent from his town e-mail account last fall, Clanagan pledged his support for a number of candidates for election to the Continental Ranch HOA board.
Cassidy looked into Clanagan’s town e-mails and letters last month, not long after Continental Ranch resident Angela Wagner-Gabbard sought access to them under the state’s freedom of information act.
Wagner-Gabbard wanted access to four months of Clanagan’s correspondence to determine the extent of the councilman’s involvement in the Continental Ranch HOA board election, for which she ran an unsuccessful campaign. Based on the other communications her review turned up, she urged Clanagan to resign, at a town council meeting on Tuesday, Jan. 6.
Clanagan maintains that Wagner-Gabbard’s appeal was simply a result of her anger over losing the HOA board election.