Rep. Patterson says will not resign despite call for ethics probe

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Rep. Patterson says will not resign despite call for ethics probe

CREATED Feb 28, 2012

Reporter: Craig Smith

TUCSON (KGUN9-TV) - An apparently stormy relationship has a Democratic Tucson State lawmaker in so much trouble that his own Democratic colleagues want him to resign.

A woman filed for court order to protect her from State Rep. Daniel Patterson, now there's a formal House Ethics complaint that could force him from office.

The claims against Daniel Patterson are just that---claims---but his fellow lawmakers---from his own party--say they're enough of a distraction that he should resign...and if he won't, they'll force him out.

While getting an order of protection, the woman claims in November Patterson threatened to have his militia kill her. The complaint goes on to say last Friday, Patterson stole her keys, and jerked her out of her car.

Patterson says the woman is someone he allowed to live in his house until he found she had what he describes as serious mental health issues and a violent criminal record from out of state---that she hid from him by using assumed names.

Patterson says, "When the police have come to my house it's because I called them to try to keep the peace because she'd been dangerous.  My neighbors have called the police on her because she's been dangerous."

Now, Luis Heredia, the executive director for the Arizona Democratic Party says Patterson should go, so the distraction will stop.

KGUN9 reporter Craig Smith asked him: "Is it important at this stage to you that these are allegations, no one has really decided what's proven?

Heredia: "Representative Patterson will move through his process of going through the court and addressing these allegations and he has every right to do so, however these distractions that have occurred continue to take away from the important business of being a member of the Legislature."
When Republican State Senator Scott Bundgaard was accused of abusing his girlfriend, he resigned as the ethics hearing for him was underway.
In Patterson's case, lawmakers know his ex-wife leveled domestic violence claims against him as part of their divorce.
And Patterson's shown flashes of temper as a lawmaker.  Two years ago, he was removed from a committee after arguing with then State Senator Russell Pearce, then stomping out.
House minority leader Chad Campbell suggested Patterson's problems are more than domestic.

"There's been ongoing issues. There's no need to dwell on them.  I think we just need to move forward and I think Mr. Patterson needs to move forward."

Lawmakers are calling for an ethics investigation that could force Patterson from office. 

Patterson says he will not resign.  He says lawmakers are rushing to judgment and could end up embarrassing themselves by rushing to force him from office and replace him with a new appointee.