A lawsuit brought by the Maricopa County Board of Supervisors in Phoenix, AZ against Motor Coach Industries Inc. was tossed out by a U.S. District Court judge on Tuesday. The suit centered on a custom-made $456,000 MCI bus that was purchased by Maricopa County Sheriff Joe Arpaio’s office to transport prisoners. According to the Arizona Republic, the Board claims the sheriff’s office broke procurement laws by not obtaining competitive bids for the purchase. Sheriff’s officials countered, saying they had discretionary power to use the money to buy the bus. The Republic reports that the Board refused to title or obtain insurance on the vehicle.
The Board sued MCI, claiming the company had control over procurement. The judge ruled that the Sheriff’s Office could not be excluded from the suit, ruling it denied it the ability to protect its judgment to allocate jail-enhancement monies and to buy the bus. The ruling altered the entire case because the suit could no longer be brought to federal court because it pitted two county entities against each other in a federal law suit. Federal law suits are only tried between parties across state lines. The Board could bring a similar suit in Superior Court. Another option mentioned includes selling the bus on eBay. The Republic reports that a number of county officials felt such an expensive bus was not needed to simply transport prisoners. For now, the bus sits unused in a county lot in south Phoenix. For more, visit www.azcentral.com.