VOL. 17 ISSUE NO. 31   |  AUGUST 3 - 9, 2011


Carefree businessman arrested for disorderly conduct

‘The sad thing is that [Swanson] apparently does not see himself in the same way that others perceive him’

al swansonCAREFREE – On Saturday, Maricopa County Sheriff’s Office deputies arrested local realtor Albert W. Swanson for disorderly conduct stemming from events that arose following the termination of an employee at Venues Café.

Although it is unclear as to exactly how Swanson is connected with Venues, the employee contacted Maricopa County Sheriff’s Office on Friday, claiming he was fired and was prevented by Swanson from removing his personal property from the premises.

MCSO asked the employee to provide some sort of inventory and/or documentation of the kitchen equipment he was claiming belonged to him.

The former employee provided MCSO with the requested documentation on Saturday, which is when deputies escorted him back to Venues.

That was when MCSO said Swanson became irate and began throwing paperwork at the deputies, hitting one, most likely accidentally, while flailing his arms.

Swanson was taken into custody and while at the District 4 substation in Cave Creek, MCSO said Swanson became combative with deputies once again.

Swanson was subsequently taken downtown and booked into the Fourth Avenue Jail on one count of disorderly conduct, a class 1 misdemeanor, with bond set at $500.

On Monday, when contacted for comment, Swanson, currently out on bail, spoke only “off the record” stating he would have to speak to Venues owner Catherine Marr before issuing any statement on the record and probably would not have a statement by deadline.

Records indicate Swanson is no stranger to altercations, several of which have been documented over the past decade in family court since his divorce from Anne Marie DeCoster in 2001.

An incident on Oct. 19, 2009 resulted in intervention by Child Protective Services (CPS) and an order of protection was issued against Swanson, prohibiting him from having contact with his oldest son, who was 15 at the time.

Swanson admitted to Sonoran News he hit his son with a belt “because he called his chemistry teacher the ‘C’ word.”

Swanson said, “We’d all be better off if more parents spanked their children.” Swanson noted he was never charged with any wrongdoing.

Records state Swanson beat his son approximately 20 times with his hands and a belt and pinned him by the throat against the wall.

CPS conducted interviews, performed an investigation and instructed DeCoster not to allow their sons to have unsupervised contact with Swanson.

In his April 27, 2010 minute entry, Maricopa County Superior Court Judge Andrew Klein wrote, “Although father denies physically abusing either child and describes their claims as grossly exaggerated self-serving statements calculated to manipulate the legal process, the truth is that CPS closed its investigation on his [son’s] claims on February 17, 2010 after determining that charges of physical abuse were substantiated. The CPS investigator observed [Swanson’s son] to have bruising all over his body, particularly his arms, shoulders, back, stomach, and down his legs. He also had bruising on his neck. CPS described [Swanson] in its child safety assessment as an aggressive man who is used to bullying people to get his way … It concluded that [Swanson] appears to have anger issues and has alienated both his children to the point where they only want supervised contact.”

Court records state, “Combined with a recent episode at the children’s school on November 5, 2009 when [Swanson’s] behavior reportedly caused the school to be on lock down, [DeCoster] believed [Swanson] to be out of control. She specifically feared that the verbal intimidation [the children’s father] had customarily used in an effort to gain control over the kids had now morphed into physical abuse.”

In a June 8, 2010 minute entry, Klein wrote, “The court will not clarify for father whether [his] physical abuse of [his son] is justified under Arizona statutory law. Father is misguided if he truly believes he ‘prevailed’ because no charges were ever filed. The reality is that a court hearing evidence on Nov. 13, 2009 affirmed the order of protection that prohibited contact with [his oldest son] based on the Oct. 19, 2009 incident. Moreover, CPS’s own investigation substantiated [his son’s] charges of physical abuse. If father’s behavior was indeed legally warranted as he now seems to suggest, the case never would have gotten to the point it has ...”

Recounting what he called “a long history,” Klein summarized numerous accounts expressing concern about Swanson’s behavior over the past several years, including one by Judge Mroz, who stated in April 2007, Swanson had “a very strong and domineering personality, a short fuse, and cannot control his feelings when he does not get his way.”

In June 2006, the court expressed concern about Swanson’s tone and language, indicating he appeared to be threatening Family Court Advisor Diana Vigil if she did not do what he wanted her to do.

The April 25, 2006 Parenting Conference Report prepared by Catherine Cooper noted Swanson “demonstrated a short fuse, tending toward agitation and showing worrisome signs of high frustration if he does not get his way.”

In Vigil’s subsequent report to the court, she stated Swanson was verbally threatening to the parenting coordinator during a meeting and stated more than once, “You need to watch your back.” She said Swanson tried to dominate the meeting and was very difficult to redirect.

Licensed Professional Counselor Cathy Rosick testified on April 27, 2010, when Swanson called her four days earlier he was “very angry, verbally aggressive, demeaning, insulting, called her a fool, asked her if she was stupid, and then called her an f’ing idiot, because she disagreed with his assessments.”

In an 18-page minute entry, after rehashing nine documented accounts of Swanson’s aggressive behavior, Klein stated, “The sad thing is that [Swanson] apparently does not see himself in the same way that others perceive him. The court record is replete with the complaints of reputable professionals who in trying to help this family have been met by an often angry, overbearing, domineering, and controlling personality with an inability to control his feelings when things do not go the way he believes they should. It is even sadder that [Swanson] does not seem to appreciate, or even believe, that his children fear him and are afraid to see him.”

Swanson appears to also be having financial difficulties as evidenced by a $108,772 unsatisfied IRS lien for nonpayment of income tax.

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