PHOENIX (Tuesday, February 21, 2012) -- Arizona Attorney General Tom Horne today announced that three defendants in the ongoing Fiesta Bowl criminal investigation have signed Plea Agreements admitting guilt to multiple criminal charges, and the Court has entered and accepted these pleas. Among those accepting agreements in Maricopa County Superior Court is the organization’s former Chief Executive Officer of the Fiesta Bowl, John Junker.
Horne stated: “He has pled to a charge that carries a presumptive sentence of 2 ½ years. The court can sentence him to the 2 ½ years or less. The court can also impose fines.”
“I want to recognize the cooperation of the current leadership of the Fiesta Bowl, which has taken measures to ensure these types of criminal activities are never repeated. I also want to thank our partners in the U.S. Attorney’s Office, F.B.I. and the I.R.S. for their cooperation in this ongoing investigation,” Horne concluded.
Under the terms of the agreement, Junker has pled guilty to one Class 4 Felony count of Solicitation to Commit Fraudulent Scheme and Artifice.
The plea agreement details Junker’s participation in an effort to direct campaign contributions to state and federal office holders by asking some Fiesta Bowl employees to make individual contributions in the employee’s name. The Fiesta Bowl would later reimburse the employee for the exact amount of the contribution and describe the reimbursement as an employee bonus. The agreement also lays out details demonstrating that Junker knew the scheme was illegal, and was aware that donor lists and campaign finance reporting documents would be falsified.
The agreement reached in court today also requires that Junker reimburse the Fiesta Bowl the $62,500 that represents the amount of the prohibited campaign contributions and other miscellaneous questionable expenses. It further requires that he cooperate in the ongoing investigation.
Other Fiesta Bowl investigation defendants that have reached Plea Agreements today are:
Peggy Ann Eyanson and Jay Lee Fields: Each has pled Guilty to one Class 1 Misdemeanor count of Making a Prohibited Campaign Contribution, a violation of A.R.S. §§ 16-907(A). The agreement is for a $2,500 fine plus surcharges. Eyanson is the Bowl’s former Director of Business Operations, and Fields is the former Sr. Vice President for Marketing. The charge is that they made contributions for which they were reimbursed from Fiesta Bowl funding. They are also required to cooperate in the ongoing investigation.
Copies of the Plea Agreements are available through the Superior Court website.
This case was handled by Assistant Attorney General Leesa Berens Morrison and James Keppel, Chief of the Criminal Division.