Gary Peter Klahr will pay you $10,000 if you can prevent Tempe Councilman Len Copple from being re-elected.

If you they are both crooks. Gary Peter Klahr ripped me off for $100 and then kicked me out of his law office after 2 minutes. And Tempe Councilman Len Copple is also a creep.

No takers on $10,000 offer to unseat councilman

Jahna Berry The Arizona Republic Mar. 30, 2006 12:00 AM

A veteran Phoenix politician is offering $10,000 to any political consultant who could make sure that Tempe Councilman Len Copple isn't re-elected in the May 16 runoff.

The problem? Gary Peter Klahr, a former Phoenix City Councilman, ex-lawyer and former Phoenix Union High School District governing board member, hasn't found any takers yet.

He's not the only one who wants to unseat the councilman, who was first elected in 1998. Former Republican state legislative candidate Jesse Hernandez has formed a group called "Tempe Deserves Better" that funded an anti-Copple mailer that hit residents' mailboxes shortly before the March 14 primary.

While Copple's opponent in the May runoff has distanced herself from both efforts, the developments may be a sign that the runoff could be muddier than the mostly congenial competition in March.

Copple was the Arizona State Bar Association-appointed hearing officer when Klahr was investigated for misconduct, and Klahr says Copple made unfair rulings that led to his disbarment in 2002.Klahr lost his legal license for, among other things, improper billing practices.

Klahr says Copple also showed a lack of ethics when he gave Mayor Hugh Hallman's W-2s to rival candidate Dennis Cahill's campaign during the 2004 mayoral race.

"I don't want this to sound like sour grapes," said Klahr, adding that he was unaware of the Tempe Deserves Better group. "Mr. Copple was more than unfair in my bar proceedings and he's not in a position to question personal ethics."

Copple said Klahr is simply motivated by a personal beef.

"It's all my fault because I said something that the (state) Supreme Court agreed with," Copple said.

Meanwhile, Copple's opponent this May - Onnie Shekerjian- called Klahr's anti-Copple efforts a "complete surprise."

"Any ethical issue (Klahr) raised about Len really isn't my problem," she said. "My problem is getting my message out."

And at this point, Klahr's problem is finding someone to take his money. For now, Klahr says, he's given up.

"I want to know why people like Joanie Flatt, who make their money doing this, won't return my phone calls," Klahr said.

Flatt, a Scottsdale consultant, says she doesn't want Klahr's money. Flatt said she recently received a voicemail from Klahr saying, "he has $10,000 to spend on a legal, arm's length campaign to make sure the Len Copple did not get elected."

Flatt ignored the call, saying she doesn't do candidate campaigns anymore, and "there is no reason that I would be part of a smear campaign against an elected official such as Len Copple, who I respect, or any elected official."

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