Candidate Faces Forgery Charges

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An eight-count felony complaint was filed in Payson Justice Court last week against would-be Gila County Supervisor candidate Mike Hull, who allegedly falsified nominating forms before submitting them to the elections department.

Hull, who was a candidate for county sheriff before he switched his bid to county supervisor, was disqualified from both races earlier this month when officials learned that his forms had allegedly been altered.

Gila County Attorney Jerry DeRose said Tuesday that his office started investigating Hull when the elections department found apparent changes in the petitions he had filed for office.

"The county attorney issued a legal opinion stating that Mr. Hull's nomination petitions had been altered as far as the name of the office and the district ... and that certain names had been collected before the change had been made to the petitions," Dixie Mundy, Gila County elections director, said.

As a result, Hull was disqualified as a candidate for either office. He later filed an appeal with the Arizona State Supreme Court in an attempt to reverse that decision.

Hull admitted earlier this month that he changed his filing forms from sheriff to supervisor, but said he did so only on blank petition forms. After contacting a Phoenix law firm, Hull said he was confident that none of his actions "were improper morally, ethically or legally."

DeRose said he sent an investigator to Payson to check out Hull's petitions, and that investigation turned up several allegations of forgery.

"There are eight counts on the complaint, because we found discrepancies on eight different petitions," he said. "We have affidavits from people who say that when they signed the petition, it was for Hull's candidacy for sheriff. We also have affidavits from people whose signatures are on the petitions, but swear they never signed them."

Hull could not be reached for comment. His attorney, Tim Forshey of Davis, McKee and Forshey said Tuesday that he could not comment on his client's attempt to get his name on the September ballot. He also said he was unaware of any complaints filed against Hull.

Forshey is representing Hull in his Supreme Court appeal.

Hull is scheduled for an initial appearance on the forgery charges at 10 a.m., July 26 in Payson Justice Court.

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