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State Attorney General Debate Wrap-Up

Phoenix, AZ – The squabble started when Felecia Rotellini accused Vince Rabago
of filing a lawsuit against a payday lender last December to get
some quick publicity and then abandoning the case a month later
when he quit as assistant attorney general to run for the top
job. She said that belies his claim that he has been there for
working families.

(You walked out on those families, Vince. That lawsuit has
stopped in its tracks. You didn't do anything to stop the payday
lenders. You used your position for political grandstanding.)

Rabago said her claim minimizes all the work done by him and the
attorney general's office on what he said is a very complicated
case. And he said it is Rotellini who is misrepresenting the
facts, a charge that provoked a response from her over the
efforts by TV host Ted Simons to move the show along.

(VR: This is one of the biggest payday lenders in the country. I
went into court on the day it was filed and obtained a court
injunction, a court order. So whatever she's saying, tell it to
the judge.)

(FR: That's a lie. That is a lie. There's no injunction on the

That, however, is not true: An examination of court records shows
there not only is an injunction but attorneys for the company
actually agreed to let a judge sign it, without a fight. The case
has been on hold since March, though by mutual consent, as both
sides told a judge thjey were -- quote -- engaged in settlement
discussions. The lawsuit filed by the attorney general's office
charges Quik Cash engaged in a deceptive pattern of filing suit
against those who default on their payday loans in Pima County
justice courts, far from where the consumers lived. The lawsuit
said that makes it more likely they won't respond because of the
cost of fighting the case away from home. Rabago got in a few
shots of his own at Rotellini during the debate about what he
said is an improper shift from being superintendent of the state
Department of Financial Institutions to her current job.

(The day that Miss Rotellini resigned from being the state
banking regulator, she went right to work for a law firm that
represents banks, including Biltmore Bank. She went straight to
the industry that she regulated. She's taking money from mortgage
bankers, whom she regulated. And those are also bankers.)

Rotellini conceded the point.

(I used to regulate them, the community bankers in Arizona, the
small community banks that are in our communities that support
our small businesses that are run by independent-spirited

But rather than address the question of the conflict during the
televised debate, she instead charged that Rabago does not
understand the difference between these banks and the big
nationally regulated banks. Pressed for a response by reporters
after the show, she denied there was anything improper.

(I was hired for that law firm because of my expertise in
mortgage fraud. That a firm that was going after mortgage
companies and escrow companies. There's no record that the banks
that are represented by that law firm were ever in trouble with
the Department of Financial Institutions.)

The squabbling between the two pretty much left out David Lujan,
the third contender, who said his six years in the Legislature,
the last two as House Democratic leader, make him more qualified
than the other two.

(Say what you will about the Legislature, being a legislator give
you an incredible education on all of the policy issues that
impact the state of Arizona, whether it's issues about our
mentally ill, about the environment, about our justice system.)

Lujan acknowledged after the debate that Democrats had precious
few political victories in the Republican-controlled House. But
Lujan said he was successful in getting the 25-member Democratic
caucus to have a unified message. For Arizona Public Radio this
is Howard Fischer.