Terry Goddard’s Accomplishments
Terry Goddard has compiled an unprecedented record of achievement during his two terms as Arizona's Attorney General.
From successful criminal prosecutions to civil settlements that have brought millions of dollars in restitution to Arizona consumers, and from dramatic progress in the fight against methamphetamine to a landmark environmental recovery, Goddard has worked effectively to fulfill his pledge to protect Arizona.
He has also put together an exemplary record of financial responsibility. His office has generated far more money each year for the state than it spends. In the last fiscal year, the AG's Office received a general fund appropriation of $21 million and produced more than $267 million for the state and its consumers in settlements, restitution, penalties and other recoveries.
Another measure of his cost-effective management, the office during his two terms has defended against liability lawsuit claims of more than $14.5 billion. Less than one-half of one percent of that amount was paid to settle or discharge those claims.
Highlights of his seven-plus years as Attorney General include:
-- Historic Western Union settlement. Ending four years of litigation, Goddard reached a $94 million settlement with Western Union that will provide substantial new resources for law enforcement agencies in the four Southwest border states to combat illegal activity along the entire U.S.-Mexico border. In addition, the company will allow ongoing access to its money transfer data on both sides of the border that will assist money-laundering investigations. The settlement was hailed as a major step toward curtailing the flow of money to the drug cartels based in Mexico and reducing organized border crime.
-- Multiple steps to increase border security. With an estimated 18,000 cartel murders during the past three years, criminal cartels based in Mexico represent "the biggest organized crime threat to the United States," according to the U.S. Justice Department. Goddard has moved aggressively on several fronts to combat them. His work includes participation in large, multi-agency investigations that took down well-established operations engaged in drug-smuggling, human-smuggling, arms trafficking and money laundering; testifying at Congressional hearings in Washington on additional steps the federal government needs to take; and working with Mexico's top law enforcement officials to increase cross-border cooperation. Alan Bersin, who served as "Border Czar" in the U.S. Department of Homeland Security, complimented Goddard for "taking a lead among the states" in the fight against border crime.
-- Dramatic progress in the fight against methamphetamine. With meth use soaring in Arizona five years ago, Goddard urged the Arizona Legislature to join what would become a majority of states restricting the sale of pseudoephedrine, the key ingredient in making this devastating drug. When the Legislature failed to act, Goddard went to work helping persuade more than 40 cities and towns to enact restrictions. The new ordinances made a huge impact; the number of meth labs in the state dropped sharply, and according to the 2008 Arizona Youth Survey, meth use among young people in Arizona declined by more than 50 percent in many age groups between 2006 and 2008. Goddard also helped launch the Arizona Meth Project, a multi-media, prevention campaign targeting teenagers with hard-hitting ads.
-- Record environmental recovery. In a case that ranks as the largest environmental recovery in Arizona's history, Goddard forced Scottsdale developer George H. Johnson and two other companies to pay $12 million in a settlement over destruction of state natural and archeological resources. Charges against Johnson, who was planning to build a large residential community in Pinal County, included illegally bulldozing hundreds of acres of State Trust Lands and private lands, destroying portions of seven major Hohokam archeological sites, destroying some 40,000 protected native plants and violating the state's clean water laws.
-- Agreement Protecting Luke Air Force Base. After Maricopa County began issuing building permits near Luke Air Force Base in violation of state law, Goddard filed a lawsuit to force the county to comply with the statutes. The court ruled in his favor on nearly every point in the suit. He then brokered a comprehensive agreement with the Maricopa County Board of Supervisors this year to resolve the dispute over residential encroachment around the base. The agreement upholds state law, protects the health and safety of nearby residents and strengthens Luke's bid for selection as a training base for the F-35 Joint Strike Fighter, the next generation of U.S. Air Force jets.
-- Baptist Foundation of Arizona convictions. In one of the nation's largest financial fraud cases, the Baptist Foundation of Arizona cheated some 11,000 investors out of more than $585 million. Because of the case's size and complexity, the trial lasted 10 months, making it the longest criminal trial in Arizona history. The multi-million-dollar defense presented one argument after another to try to show their clients' innocence, but the AG's prosecutors knocked down every one. The jury found ex-CEO William Crotts and ex-General Counsel Thomas Grabinksi guilty of fraud and conducting an illegal enterprise. Crotts was sent to prison for eight years, and Grabinski received a six-year prison term.
-- Standing up for Consumers in the Marketplace. Goddard reached a $1 million settlement with WalMart, the state's and nation's largest retailer, for repeated price posting violations. WalMart agreed to establish a rigorous price inspection system and monitoring program to ensure its customers have access to accurate prices. He also participated in a $12 million, multi-state settlement with Tempe-based LifeLock over deceptive advertising claims for its identity theft protections. He forced Qwest Corp. and Qwest Wireless to pay the state $3.75 million, plus nearly $1 million in restitution, over their practice of billing customers for products or services they did not order. A $1.3 million settlement was reached with Central Coast Neutraceuticals over deceptive sales tactics. He also has sued several auto dealers for deceptive advertising, recovering several hundred thousand dollars.
-- Aggressive work to stop housing fraud. With Arizona among the states hardest hit by the foreclosure crisis, a surge in mortgage fraud has followed. Goddard has used both criminal prosecution and civil lawsuits to go after fraud artists. He recently joined U.S. Attorney General Eric Holder in a Mortgage Fraud Summit in Phoenix that brought together federal, state and local law enforcement officials, whose work will be helped with an additional $1.7 million in federal funds to Arizona to fight mortgage fraud. Goddard also has stepped up educational efforts aimed at preventing mortgage rip-offs.
-- Landmark settlements with two national mortgage lenders. Goddard helped achieve a multi-state settlement with Countrywide Financial Corp. that benefited an estimated 13,000 Arizonans who were expected to receive up to $245 million in economic relief. Countrywide, which was the largest provider of sub-prime mortgages in the nation, was accused to using unfair and deceptive tactics in its loan origination and servicing and placing borrowers in structurally unaffordable loans. He also negotiated a settlement with Ameriquest Mortgage Co. that provided more than $5 million in restitution for some 9,100 Arizona consumers. Ameriquest and its affiliates were accused of not adequately disclosing the terms of home loans, charging excessive loan origination fees, refinancing borrowers with inappropriate loans and improperly inflating appraisals used to qualify borrowers for loans.
-- Restoring the rule of law in Colorado City. For 50 years following an ill-fated law enforcement raid into the polygamous community of Colorado City, the state had given scant attention to reports of crime and public corruption. Goddard sent investigators to the remote town, then moved to protect women and children by restoring the rule of law. Action included the appointment of a receiver to run the mismanaged school district; replacing trustees of the United Effort Plan trust, which owns most of the town's property; multiple indictments of Colorado City men on sexual abuse charges; and a 10-year prison sentence for polygamist sect leader Warren Jeffs, who was convicted on two counts of being an accomplice to rape.
-- Major agreements with pharmaceutical giants. Goddard has put together an impressive string of settlements with international drug companies, bringing tens of millions of dollars to the state and its consumers. Most of these were multi-state cases involving deceptive marketing. They include a $70 million settlement with GlaxoSmithKline over fraudulently inflated drug prices; a $62 million settlement with Eli Lilly over its anti-psychotic drug, Zyprexa; a $58 million settlement with Merck and Co. over its painkilling drug, Vioxx; a $20 million settlement with Bayer Corp. over its oral contraceptive, Yaz; and a $19.5 million settlement with Purdue Pharma over its painkiller, Oxycontin.
-- National award for civil rights work. The U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development (HUD) gave the Arizona AG's Office its highest honor in 2008 for outstanding programs addressing fair housing issues. HUD's Blue Ribbon Award was presented to the Office's Civil Rights Division for the office's work in attacking predatory lending and resolving building design issues that affect handicapped residents.
-- Stronger law enforcement partnerships. As Arizona's chief law enforcement officer, Goddard knows his office can be most effective when it collaborates with local, state and federal agencies. He has made it a top priority to maintain solid working relationships with law enforcement at all levels. He also developed unprecedented cooperation with Mexican law enforcement agencies to increase security on both sides of the border. As Chair of the Conference of Western Attorneys General in 2007-2008, he made building a closer partnership with Mexican authorities his No. 1 goal. With federal funding from the Merida Initiative, Goddard’s office has also taken the lead in training Mexican prosecutors in American-style jury trials to help reverse Mexico’s low conviction rate.