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Apache County Attorney Michael B. Whiting is being investigated for public corruption

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Apache County Attorney Michael B. Whiting is being investigated for public corruption

Jun 07, 2024 | 5:56 pm ET
By Jerod MacDonald-Evoy
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Apache County Attorney Michael B. Whiting is being investigated for public corruption
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Attorney General Kris Mayes is investigating Apache County Attorney Michael B. Whiting for misuse of public money and threatening a political opponent. After serving a search warrant at his office and home, Mayes is now overseeing the county attorney's office. Photo by Jerod MacDonald-Evoy | Arizona Mirror

Apache County Attorney Michael B. Whiting is still unaccounted for days after agents with the Arizona Attorney General’s Office served a search warrant at his office in relation to an investigation into alleged misuse of public monies and threatening and intimidating a political opponent. 

And Mayes is functionally taking over oversight of the Apache County Attorney’s Office as a result of her investigation into Whiting, a Democrat.

On June 4, the AG’s Office served a search warrant at Whiting’s office and his home. Two days later, his office’s top staff wrote a letter asking him to resign. The letter further elaborated that Whiting was not present for the search and later turned off the GPS tracker on his government-issued vehicle and turned off his phone. 

The AG’s Office has declined to comment on the scope and extent of the investigation, but a letter Mayes sent to the Apache County Board of Supervisors on Friday has shed some light on the matter. 

“As part of an ongoing investigation into the alleged misuse of public monies and threatening and intimidating a political opponent, my office served a warrant on the Apache County Attorney’s Office on Tuesday, June 3, 2024,” Mayes wrote. “Seeking and executing a warrant on a County Attorney’s office was a significant decision that I did not take lightly. Since serving the search warrant, County Attorney Michael Whiting has not returned to the office, and attorneys from the office are now calling on him to resign.” 

Mayes also said her office will now be overseeing the Apache County Attorney’s Office for the next 90 days, and she laid out a list of demands that the county will need to comply with in that time. 

The Chief Deputy in Apache County now has decision-making authority because of Whiting’s continued absence, according to the letter. Mayes directed the agency to “preserve any and all evidence necessary for the Attorney General’s investigation” and said it must also provide monthly expenditure reports to the AG’s Criminal Division. 

If Whiting returns to the office, he will have to seek approval from the chief of the AG’s criminal division before making any personnel decisions or spending more than $200. This division of the AG’s Office will also be assisting the Apache County chief deputy “as needed.” 

“The exercise of my supervisory authority is intended to assist the Apache County Attorney’s Office, not control it,” Mayes’ letter said. “Nor is it intended to interfere with the Board of Supervisor’s (sic) authority over County Offices.”

Details on the warrant and the scope of Mayes’ investigation into Whiting remain unknown.

The warrant issued earlier this week remains sealed by the court and the Attorney General’s Office has no additional comments to make at this time,” AG spokesperson Richie Taylor said. 

Whiting claimed in an email to the Arizona Republic that he was “driving home from a pre-planned vacation with family.”