Pinal Attorney’s chief of staff to sue county for $5M, alleging defamation by supervisor

Left to right: Pinal County Supervisor Kevin Cavanaugh [Pinal County] and chief of staff for the Pinal County Attorney’s Office Garland Shreves. []

Garland Shreves, chief of staff for the Pinal County Attorney’s Office, notified Pinal County on Wednesday morning he would file a $5 million lawsuit against it for allegedly false and defamatory statements made by Supervisor Kevin Cavanaugh. Starting in June, Cavanaugh will serve as Maricopa’s representative on the Pinal County Board of Supervisors after the city was moved to District 1 in a realignment last month. 

Garland Schreves is chief of staff in the Pinal County Attorney’s Office.

In a Notice of Claim, announced by Shreves during the public comment period of Wednesday’s Board of Supervisors meeting, he alleges in mid-October 2021 Cavanaugh raised concerns that Shreves had hired Amanda Stanford for the position of county finance director in exchange for sex. InMaricopa obtained a copy of the claim. 

Shreves told the supervisors Stanford was filing her own claim for $8 million. 

“When a publicly-elected county supervisor makes wild allegations without any accountability,” Shreves said, “I have no recourse as an employee, nor does Ms. Stanford… 

The Shreves complaint alleges Cavanaugh brought his concerns to Deputy County Manager Mary Ellen Shepherd, who inquired about it with Shreves’s supervisor, County Attorney Kent Volkmer. Volkmer, in turn, interviewed Shreves about the accusations. Volkmer reported back to Shepherd and Cavanaugh that due to a lack of evidence, he could not substantiate Cavanaugh’s claims.  

The complaint contends Cavanaugh further pursued the accusations and claimed several witnesses had come forward to support his claims that Shreves was engaged in sexual misconduct with Stanford, a subordinate. Two of the witnesses, when contacted, denied they had ever made such statements to Cavanaugh. The third witness was an anonymous person who has yet to be identified. 

According to the complaint, Cavanaugh offered in January 2021 to hire Shreves as his executive aide, which would have included a significant raise from his current salary in the County Attorney’s office.  

Shreves took notice of the raise and asked Cavanaugh how he planned to get it past the Board of Supervisors, according to the complaint. Cavanaugh responded that Shreves should “leave it to him, because they were ‘stupid mindless puppets’ and the ‘stupidest one of all was Jeff Serdy,’” the claim contends. 

The two went back and forth over the potential job and finally in February or March of 2021, Cavanaugh requested that Shreves decide, the claim alleges. Shreves said he wanted time to think about it and to at least remain with the County Attorney’s office to finish up a project to be completed by September or October of the same year. 

At Wednesday’s meeting, Shreves said the situation is going to cost county taxpayers millions of dollars. 

“I want you to know,” Shreves told the supervisors. “I have a great regret that I have to do this, but there is no mechanism in place for me as an employee to do this. I also think it’s incumbent on all of you as electeds, in particular, and even those in my position who supervise people, to treat our subordinates with dignity and respect.” 

No supervisor commented following Shreves’ remarks.