Follow-up on Bob Worsley’s business dealings

A little over a month ago I posted the contents of an e-mail I received from Kris Heap documenting business dealings of Arizona State Senator Bob Worsley (LD-25), titled, Why would Bob Worsley spend close to $1 million to stay in the Arizona Senate? Well, it provoked a very interesting reaction.

On Wednesday, Kris Heap got a letter from Kory Langhofer, an attorney representing Senator Worsley, and I got what on first inspection appears to be an identical letter. Langhofer, writing on behalf of Worsley and Novo Power LLC, demanded a retraction and a public apology for defaming the senator.

Follow-up note entered October 31, 2014:
We have gotten several comments, now that we have invited them, an additional letter from Mr. Langhofer, and some further communication with Kris Heap. Considering all the comments and references that were offered, there may indeed be inaccuracies in the original post. Partly in the interest of complete accuracy, and partly in the interest of reconciliation, I have decided to take down the original post and move on to other matters. I have decided to leave the responses, though, in this post, though I have edited this post to remove some of the allegations as well as comments that could be particularly inflammatory. I do admit here that the one item, on the source of the money received by Snowflake White Mountain Power, Langhofer may indeed be correct. On the other item of dispute, whether Worsley benefited or not from Senate Bill 1484, we can leave that as a matter for each reader to decide for himself or herself. The positions are laid out clearly. It doesn’t seem to me that the bare facts are in dispute, only the interpretation of them.

I have also left the comments here. Those who have come to Bob Worsley’s defense have some points that some people may find helpful.

I do still believe that if Worsley wanted to truly avoid any conflict of interest, he shouldn’t be on the Senate Commerce, Energy, and Military Committee.

It doesn’t take a deep knowledge of politics to realize that a lot of charges and counter-charges are spoken about public servants. Fortunately, United States law protects free speech and is especially strong in protecting the rights of news media, bloggers, and the public when they are critical of our leaders. Mr. Langhofer has to clearly understand that in order to prevail in a defamation lawsuit he would have to prove that what I published was false and that I knew it was false, or at least suspected it was false and failed to check it out. Which makes the letter even more curious, because he spends three pages, single-spaced, trying to convince me that the information I published is false while alleging that I already knew that.

On the substance of the letter: He asserts two particular errors in the post. After a phone call with Kris Heap, Langhofer maybe has a point on one item, but the error was not in the thrust of the blog post. The post asserts that Snowflake White Mountain Power received a government guaranteed loan of $40 million. Langhofer says that is not true, but says that the Show Low Industrial Development Authority did authorize a bond offering. Further, the blog post says that the bankruptcy of Snowflake White Mountain Power resulted in losses to taxpayers, but Langhofer says that the bondholders were paid in full. This may indeed be true. However, I still have an issue with Worsley’s involvement in the “green energy” industry. This particular industry is reliant on the government and Worsley in the past has used government connections to help his business. And now, in the Arizona Senate, he has greater access to government power than ever before and the potential for abuse in using his influence to help his business is great.

Let me say this much: Worsley’s very committee assignment, on the Senate Commerce, Energy, and Military Committee, represents a serious conflict of interest. No wonder, when someone starts sniffing around too much, he starts threatening. If he really were the upstanding paragon of integrity he claims to be, he would avoid the appearance of conflict of interest and ask for a different committee assignment.

The second error that Langhofer asserts doesn’t involve a dispute over what I would call the raw facts, but just gives a different interpretation of those facts. He says, “Second, the blog post also asserts that Senator Worsley’s company, Novo Power, LLC, is one of only two companies that would benefit directly from Senate Bill 1484.” This is a bill that provides corporate income tax credits for companies investing in renewable energy. He says, “Novo Power, LLC cannot and would not qualify for any tax credits or other benefits under the terms of Senate Bill 1484.” But the post does not assert that Novo Power would benefit directly. It says it would benefit indirectly. The tax breaks go to companies who would do business with Novo Power, giving them incentives to do this business.

This blog does accept comments, and I am open to publishing any responses or disputes to anything posted here. I will not engage in endless back-and-forth banter because I don’t have endless time for this. So whatever you think is important to say, say it up front. I reserve the right to reply. I’m sure you won’t be satisfied with my reply, or my reply to your reply, so at some point I will just cut off the discussion and move on to other topics.

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About mesasmiles

By Dr. David Hall. Dr. Hall runs Infinity Dental Web, a small company that does Internet marketing for dentists. He has had a long-standing interest in politics and as a college student toyed with the idea of a political career.
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7 Responses to Follow-up on Bob Worsley’s business dealings

  1. Tyler Montague says:

    So, your response is basically that Worsley should quit whining because the First Amendment allows you to lie about a public official?

    Among other things, you asserted two things in your post about Worsley. One was that he generated massive losses to the tax payer of over $55 million. For support you claimed he took a $16 million loan, and $40 million in bonds that were all taxpayer funds, and that businesses losses resulted in the taxpayers losing that money. Problem with your claim is that they never accepted the offer of a $16 million loan, but went with private funding instead; and 100% of that bond issue was paid in full. So your first claim is blatantly false.

    The second thing you claim is that Worsley uses his position to vote himself public money. This claim is implicit in the title of your post, “Why Would Bob Worsley Spend Close to $1 Million to Stay in the Senate,” but is also explicitly stated when you say, “This means Worsley is introducing legislation that will directly and lucratively affect his business.” The problem is that the examples you use for support aren’t true. Worsley’s company did NOT get a tax credit from the senate bill you refer to. Worsley’s company didn’t use forest service logging crews, and Worsley’s company doesn’t use the railroad that you claimed serviced his business making him a beneficiary of a subsidy the railroad got. Your post is so littered with falsehoods, that it is shocking that your response would be this belligerent post whining about what a victim you are, rather than to make an honorable apology and correction of the record.

    You defend yourself by saying the First Amendment allows you to smear a public official with lies, but there is a higher standard for personal honor: truthfulness. I’m sure you would say nothing here is intentionally incorrect. One could understand making mistaken claims, but then doing the right thing by correcting the record once the mistakes are discovered. You fail miserably in that regard. You should be embarrassed.

    • mesasmiles says:

      I guess you’re having problems understanding my posts.
      About the first point, I will add that I discussed this loan with Kris Heap and he has reputable news sources for the posted information about the loan. But even if we assume that the statement was an error, it is immaterial to the main point of the post.
      And about the second point, you use the same tactic this lawyer used – the classic straw man argument. I never asserted that Worsley “uses his position to vote himself public money.” Take a deep breath, clear your head, and re-read the original post and this post. It’s all there, and you have failed to point out anything new.
      I do believe that the original post was true in all material respects.

      • Tyler Montague says:


        You say that you haven’t claimed that Worsley uses his position to vote himself public money. But read this from the original post. Most readers would reasonably interpret this article to mean exactly that Worsley is somehow using his position to vote himself financial benefits:

        “2013 – Worsley spearheads legislation to give money to companies with the express purpose—as stated in the bill—of “reducing their carbon footprint by investing in renewable energy.” (Like Novo Power LLC!) Records from the Arizona Commerce Authority show that funding for this will come from state income tax (in other words, YOU!). This means Worsley is introducing legislation that will directly and lucratively affect his business.”

        The words are clear. What else does “Worsley is introducing legislation that will directly and lucratively affect his business” mean? Pride is expensive. You should just admit to a mistake and apologize. Also, even if you claim that your original post was made in the sincere belief that it was all true, you’ve since doubled-down and re-published the claims *after* receiving formal notice that the information in your post was false. That changes things.

      • mesasmiles says:

        I admire your persistence.
        Let me explain again, as I did in the post above.
        Worsley promoted legislation that put his business in a favorable position, that encouraged other companies to buy power from his company. So the favoritism came from the government, but the money came from the other companies.
        So, as I explained in the post above, this is a tricky word game you’re trying to play here. I say he promoted legislation that favored his business. You say that he didn’t vote himself public money. Both statements are correct.
        I don’t think the whole thing is that hard to understand.

  2. Mark Organek says:

    It is kind of ridiculous to make the claim that Bob Worsley’s assignment to the committee puts him in a position of potential gain. Of course it does! It is how he proceeds to carry himself that will ultimately determine whether or not a conflict of interest was created. Your argument that although he doesn’t benefit directly by legislation he helps enact but due to lower costs for his customers they will choose to do business with him is kind of the way things should be. The blame shouldn’t be on Worsley. If there was a committee that had to do with public policy matters involving dentistry, it would make sense for you to be on it for the sake of experience. I truly believe that a guy that has more money than he can need is fighting for people in a district and state he loves. He spent the money he did to finish work that he started. I’m pretty sure a guy like that would be much happier not having to deal with accusations when he’s just trying to help.

  3. mesasmiles says:

    That is so nice, what you say: Bob Worsley is just trying to help. You do make some nice, kind comments.

    I will disagree with one point you make. I do not believe that once “a guy who has more money than he can need” then just kicks back and says to himself that is enough. I believe that is contrary to all human experience. The wealthy, no matter how much wealth they have, almost always seem to want more.

    You believe that Bob Worsley spent an insanely high amount of money, over half a million dollars, to retain a state senate seat for two more years, because he was just trying to help. That’s about four times as much as the next highest spender in the Arizona legislature. It’s an amount that Arizona Republic columnist Robert Robb called “mind numbing.”

    I believe he was making a business investment.

  4. Mark Organek says:

    I do have to agree with the generalization that there is potential for the wealthy to just want more. That is a completely fair comment that is proven time and time again. I had the opportunity to spend time with Sen. Worsley with Mesa Leadership Training and Development. My general feeling was that the guy just wants to make the city and state a better place. I took the time to read your background and I must say that there are similarities between your work in Iowa and his work down here.

    If you haven’t met him already, I think that it would be a first step. Based on my meeting with him and what I have read about you, the two of you could make some serious progress in Mesa.

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