Vernal Lee “Vern” Crow of Glendale was sentenced to probation for two concurrent terms recently after being convicted on connection with two counts of conflicting interests in his tenure as vice president of the Arizona School Facilities Board, according to Attorney General Mark Brnovich.
On Nov. 9, 2021, Crow was charged in an indictment that he failed to disclose his and his son’s interest in a business named Red Tree Consulting LLC while participating in three board decisions, which benefited that business.
In a plea agreement entered on April 20, 2022, Crow admitted intentionally failing to disclose his association with Red Tree Consulting and not recusing himself when he voted on March 2, 2016, for an award of $ 111,800 in taxpayer funds for replacement piping at Taylor. Elementary School in the Snowflake Unified School District. Red Tree Consulting was paid $ 12,050 of those funds.
Crow also admitted to intentionally failing to disclose his son’s association with Red Tree Consulting and not recusing himself when he voted on Sept. 6, 2017, for an award of $ 623,600 in taxpayer funds for roof replacement at the Desert Winds Learning Center School in the Casa Grande Union High School District. Red Tree Consulting was paid $ 42,200 of those funds.
The case arose in part from a performance special audit of the SFB by the Arizona Auditor General’s office, which was submitted to the Arizona Legislature in June 2019.
The indictment covered three individual items benefiting Red Tree Consulting, which were voted on by the board in March 2016 and September and November 2017, while Crow served on the board.
These were three of 62 cases identified by the investigation where Crow was required to make a record of his recusal and his or her son’s association with the business. However, no records showed he did that. In the three charged votes, Crow moved for the passage of the agenda item, which benefited Red Tree Consulting.
Crow failed to make the disclosure required by law of his association or his son’s association with Red Tree Consulting from the business’ founding in 2015 until speaking to the auditors in February 2019.
Crow no longer serves on the board, but he has been an investigator for the Maricopa County Sheriff’s Office general investigations unit for seven years.
Crow was also the chair of the Glendale Planning Commission chair for a three-year term. 11. As a condition of his sentence, Crow was required to notify the Glendale City Manager Kevin Phelps of the conviction and filed proof of notice with the court on June 1.
Assistant Attorney General Todd Lawson prosecuted the case.
This case was investigated by the Arizona Attorney General’s Office Special Investigation Section.
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