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Issue Date: February 2009

And Another Thing

Erick Trickey
If you read our profile of Pat O’Malley (“Porn, Fisticuffs and the Fall of Pat O’Malley,” October 2008), you know the former county recorder used his office as a patronage machine. Now we know how much tax money he wasted doing that: $1 million a year.

O’Malley hired too many people and paid them too much, says a Dec. 30 report from state auditor Mary Taylor. Ten people were hired to spread the word at community meetings about the recorder’s work — serious overkill for an office that records deeds. Taylor says O’Malley’s successor, Lillian Greene, could save $1 million by laying off 24 unnecessary employees.

O’Malley wasn’t in town to react to this postscript to his political career. He’s in federal prison, serving 15 months for downloading obscenity. This fall, the U.S. attorney’s office filed a brief that confirmed a key part of our story: that child porn was found on computer discs O’Malley’s ex-wife, Vicki, turned over to the FBI. But prosectors said they charged O’Malley with obscenity instead so their case would not rely on evidence acquired from her. (In court, O’Malley denied ever looking at child porn.)

The sentencing quieted speculation that O’Malley might’ve aided the FBI probe of county officials. The feds usually hint at such cooperation at a defendant’s sentencing, and they didn’t at O’Malley’s. If he had aided the FBI in hopes of leniency, he’d have wanted the judge to know. What’s more, his lawyer’s brief said O’Malley had been “wrongfully accused” of helping the FBI — as if that would’ve been the real scandal.

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