N4T Investigators: The Sheriff Opens Up - KVOA | KVOA.com | Tucson, Arizona

N4T Investigators: The Sheriff Opens Up

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Tucson - Chris Nanos says the he was voted out partly because people wanted new blood in the sheriff's office and he was an ally of Clarence Dupnik, the long time sheriff and fellow Democrat, who retired last year.

In his first broadcast interview since losing the election last week, Sheriff Nanos told the News 4 Tucson Investigators, “I think they were against the past administration and even the decisions made by the past administration and they wanted a change. And maybe I was collateral damage. 
People looked at this race and said, 'You know what? It's time for a change. So they did it.”

More than just voters wanting a change is something else: the FBI investigation of the department. 

Nanos told us he knew he was going to lose to Mark Napier only a month before Election Day, when federal authorities announced the indictment of his Chief Deputy, Chris Radtke, for Conspiracy to Launder Money. Nanos' opponents then told voters more indictments would follow.

“They've been telling you all these indictments are coming, there's five more indictments, they still talk of that,” Nanos said.” We asked him, “Do you know if any more indictments are coming?” He said, “There are no more indictments.” Nanos said he was told “the case is done” by Andy Black, the Assistant Special Agent in Charge of the Tucson FBI office.  The FBI declined comment. 

Regarding the alleged illegal spending of RICO funds (money seized from Racketeer Influenced and Corrupt Organizations) for non-permissible items, such as food an entertainment, Nanos said, “There were people here who knew this was going on and they didn't bring it to my attention. Instead they took it to the FBI's attention.” We asked him, “But doesn't the buck stop with you?”  “Absolutely,” he replied. We asked, “Shouldn't you have known about these expenditures?” “I should have,” Nanos said. 

His critics, including those within his department, said during the campaign that Nanos plays favorites, is vindictive and a bully.

“People may read me as being a bully or intimidating and all those things that they said. I don't believe that's the case. I'm Chris Nanos. I've been a cop my whole life. And I say what I believe is right, every time. If you do something around here that I think is wrong, I'm going to tell you about it.”

Nanos says he knows he's not a politician. In a county where Democrats outnumber Republicans, Nanos lost big to Napier, a Republican and himself a long time Tucson cop who won the endorsements of many police organizations, while Nanos made few public appearances, and there were no debates.

We asked Nanos, “If you had to do the campaign over, would you do anything differently?” He said, “My strategy in this campaign was to just be a good sheriff, let your work speak for itself.” 

The outgoing sheriff says despite some bitterness within the department from his critics, he's working on a smooth transition.

“This campaign caused some friction, internally, Nanos said, “So my role now in the next four to five weeks is to fix that. We have to set our differences aside. We still have a community to serve.”

Nanos isn't sure what he'll do when he leaves his $102,000 a year job on Dec. 31. He has a number of ideas, and at 61, he says retiring isn't one of them.  He adds that his future could include a run for another public office.
If you have any story you would like us to investigate, email us at investigators@kvoa.com or call our tip line at 520-955-4444.

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