Cave Creek’s rejects and others are council candidates

Reg Monachino, Eileen Wright, C.W. Jensen, Sara and John Vannucci

CAVE CREEK – Council candidate Reg Monachino was elected to council as part of former Vice Mayor Adam Trenk’s slate.

He was subsequently booted from office in last year’s recall election along with Trenk and their fellow slate council members, Charlie Spitzer and Mike Durkin.

Monachino and Trenk proved to be the two most unpopular council members during the recall, receiving the highest number of signatures on their recall petitions and only 844 votes each to their respective opponents Dick Esser’s 1,082 votes and Susan Clancy’s 1,125 votes.

Nonetheless, despite being soundly rejected by voters, Monachino somehow believes he is once again electable.

Eileen Wright also ran as part of Trenk’s slate but received the lowest number of votes, coming in fifth for the four remaining seats during the May 2013 runoff election.

Although she was unable to get elected to council, Wright was able to get appointed to the planning commission due to Grace Meeth, who was voted out of office, being the only other applicant.

Wright was even elected by her fellow commissioners as vice chair.

However, because commissioners serve at the pleasure of council, and council was displeased with her service, council voted to oust Wright from the planning commission.

Wright’s removal stemmed primarily from her demands for far more concessions from the developers of Tractor Supply than the town’s ordinances required.

When Tractor Supply refused to agree to all of her demands, Wright voted to recommend their site plan be denied.

Now, Wright claims she is the most qualified person running for council.

Her online resume states she is the founder of the Desert Firearms Training Center and as the owner/instructor she managed all aspects of the business, including marketing and operations.

It goes on to say: “Successful in the development of business strategy implication and execution with full knowledge and understanding of Arizona gun laws; Advanced training in handgun, hostage survival, combat focus shooting and home defense.”

It’s not clear what Wright means when she says she was “Invited by Attorney General Bob Corbin to attend Gunsight (sic) Academy.” Corbin served as Arizona Attorney General from 1979–1991.

Gunsite Academy, located just outside of Paulden, Ariz., was originally founded as the American Pistol Institute (API) in 1976.

When it sold in 1992 it became Gunsite Training Center, and Gunsite Academy when it sold to Buzz Mills, the current owner, in 1999.

Wright’s firearms training center was incorporated in January 1989 and revoked by the Arizona Corporation Commission in September 1990.

It sounds like Wright took classes at either Gunsite Training Center or API and then considered herself expert enough to open her own training center, which failed after less than two years.

Wright also claims to be an expert in adobe home construction and says she taught adobe construction techniques and Rumford fireplace construction to contractors.

Yet another situation where it appears Wright took a hands-on class in adobe construction and now considers herself an expert.

Her resume states, “by profession” she was a high school teacher in Houston and Austin, Texas.

That had to be a very long time ago for a very short period of time, as Wright moved to Arizona in 1969 when she was around 26 years old.

Wright claims to be an “internationally recognized triathlete,” with “national and world rankings.”

However, we are unable to find stats posted anywhere for competitions in which she may have competed.

Wright also claims to be a sports fitness certified instructor, who “authored and implemented a Sports Fitness Study Manual” to enable instructors to successfully complete the certification exam.

She claims to have been a professional model and instructor for John Robert Powers and Eileen Ford.

Last, Wright claims to have studied under “Houchol (sic) Shaman,” where she learned practices of Shamanic health and healing.

The Huichol Indians, a small tribe of approximately 35,000 that live in the Sierra Madre Mountains in central western Mexico, were once considered a nation of Shamans.

Shamanism is considered a way of living in harmony with nature and all of creation.

The Huichol’s remote, rugged region has protected them from cultural intrusion and allows them to continue the same way of life they have lived for thousands of years, without electricity or running water, relying solely on their relationship with nature.

While Wright’s resume appears quite embellished, she provides no information to lead anyone to understand why she believes she is the most eligible candidate for council.

The last time Wright ran for council, she boasted during a forum, “I have the ability to be intelligent.”

Wright recently ceased publication of the Cave Creek Pony Express, a mailer chock full of anonymous editorials and misinformation, to devote her time to campaigning.

Then we have Charles “C.W.” Jensen, the recent Portland, Ore. transplant.

In March 2004, Willamette Week, a Portland weekly, published an editorial about Jensen, a former Portland police officer, questioning whether or not he was fit to work.

It states Jensen, one of Portland’s prominent media figures, was a Portland Police Bureau spokesman “prior to being investigated in 1999 for allegedly claiming improper reimbursement on some meals, and for allegedly instructing a subordinate to do the same.”

The investigation was halted when Jensen decided to go out on medical leave in 2000.

Jensen claimed the trauma from a past shooting, as well as alcohol abuse, meant he was no longer fit to work.

While out on medical leave, skepticism grew at the bureau about his disability after he became a KGW-TV reporter, since he seemed to handle that job just fine.

In September 2003, just as his benefits were about to be discontinued, Jensen claimed he was fit for duty and asked to be reinstated.

However, that reopened the investigation into his improper reimbursements.

Although Mayor Vera Katz was supposedly considering rehiring him, Jensen first needed to be interviewed by Dr. David Corey, a psychiatrist hired by the bureau, to determine if Jensen was fit for duty.

It was during that interview that some of Jensen’s answers appeared to conflict with statements he previously made about his condition.

Then, when it appeared Katz was leaning toward firing him, Jensen filed a new claim for disability, which, once again, protected him from termination.

Katz subsequently fired Jensen for engaging in a “pattern of deceptive behavior.”

Jensen, in turn, threatened to sue the city, prompting them to reach a monetary settlement that reinstated Jensen as a captain for retirement purposes.

In May 2004, Portland Copwatch, a grassroots, volunteer organization that promotes police accountability through citizen action, reported the following:

“Former Portland Police Captain CW Jensen was fired after a long process of review regarding allegations that he asked to be reimbursed about $150 for meals he never purchased back in 1999. Jensen, who became a news reporter for NBC affiliate KGW-TV (8) while on ‘stress-related’ disability leave, applied to return to his job last fall. However, as the final decision about his fate was being determined, he filed another disability claim on Feb. 24, indicating he may not be fit to return to the bureau.

“Although Mayor Katz herself approved the firing, which was proposed by Assistant Chief Stan Grubbs (since Chief Foxworth is a friend of Jensen’s), Jensen is appealing the decision (Portland Tribune March 16).”

Then there is council candidate John Vannucci.

Readers may recall his wife Sara Vannucci was ordered in 2006 by the Arizona State Bar to cease the unauthorized practice of law.

She also worked for Robert Dillie’s Mid-America Foundation, which sold bogus securities in a Ponzi scheme that bilked investors in at least 20 states out of $44 million by the time it collapsed.

In 2004, attorneys for the receiver filed an amended complaint, adding John Vannucci as a defendant.

The amended complaint stated, “Defendant Sara Vannucci … received $5,429.30 of victim money as payment for facilitating the sale of Mid-America CGAs. At all material times, John Vannucci is and was the spouse of defendant Sara Vannucci and at all material times defendant Sara Vannucci acted on behalf of and for the benefit of her marital community.”

Vannucci submits editorials to his wife’s blog as well as to one run by Arek Fressadi, who video recorded his disruption of the June 27 Sonoran News’ candidate forum to call the town corrupt.

In one of his editorials, Vannucci takes offense that Sonoran News branded him as a Democrat, despite the fact he ran for the Arizona Senate as a Democrat, losing to Republican Sen. Jim Waring, Dist. 7, in the 2004 General Election by more than a two-to-one margin.