Pima County Supervisor Ally Miller’s embattled communications staffer, Timothy DesJarlais, quit his job on Friday, June 3.
In case you're counting, that makes at least 11 staff members that Miller has burned through since taking office three-and-a-half years ago.
DesJarlais, 19, had been in the media spotlight every since a strange news website, the Arizona Daily Herald
, emerged in mid-May. The Herald
was purportedly the work of editor Jim Falken, who does not exist, except as an alias that DesJarlias has used in online gaming and various odd projects, such as the development of a fantasy nation called the Independent Republic of Dido Place, named for the street on which DesJarlais lives with his parents.
Despite the links between DesJarlais and Jim Falken, DesJarlais has denied being behind the Arizona Daily Herald
and initially pointed the finger at another Republican activist, John Dalton. After Miller leveled accusations at Dalton, however, Dalton told the press that he didn’t know anything about the entire bizarre affair, but he would like someone to get to the bottom of it so he could take legal action against whoever was pretending to be him. And then another sketchy email arrived in the email boxes of various members of the media and political activists, claiming to be from another John Dalton who took the blame for the entire affair—except no one seems to be able to locate this second John Dalton, which suggests that he also does not exist. Or at least that what is suggests to us—Miller and her allies say that that the emergence of a second John Dalton who exists only as someone who sends emails clears DesJarlais of all charges.
Nonetheless, Miller has stood behind DesJarlais, suggesting the media should be ashamed of following the story and besmirching her staffer’s good name. Miller and DesJarlais went as far as to file reports with the FBI alleging identity theft.
If all this seems absurdly complicated—well, it is, so if you want the details, you should check our coverage here
In the meantime, we’re waiting to see if the FBI has any interest in investigating this nonsense. And Pima County Supervisor Sharon Bronson has asked County Administrator Chuck Huckelberry to look into what’s going on. Huckelberry has asked Sheriff Chris Nanos to check in with the FBI to find out if an investigation is underway. Huckelberry is holding off on any other action until the county is able to fulfill a massive public-records request from the Tucson Sentinel
that might get to the bottom of whether DesJarlais was moonlighting as Jim Falken, intrepid reporter for the Arizona Daily Herald
—and, more importantly, whether Miller had any knowledge of that project.
Huckelberry said those records could “shed some light as to any county equipment being used on premises or owned by the county—computer systems or phones or anything else, or employees doing similar actions while being paid by the public.”
We hear that Miller’s office is now reviewing thousands of pages related to that record request, so it might be awhile before we get to the bottom of this. Stay tuned!