Patterson: Allegations prompting resignation calls are 'blackmail'
House Dems call for ethics investigation
Calling the domestic troubles of state Rep. Daniel Patterson an "ongoing distraction from doing the important work of the people," state Democratic leaders have called on the South Side legislator to step down, while the state House Democratic delegation called for an ethics investigation.
Patterson, a Democrat, said Monday that he's being "blackmailed" by his former girlfriend and campaign manager and that he "will not resign."
All of the Democrats in the state House, other than Patterson and Reps. Steve Farley and Debbie McCune Davis, who serve on the Ethics Committee, called Monday for an investigation.
Saying his behavior is "at best inappropriate and at worst dangerous," the 17 Democrats sent a letter to Rep. Ted Vogt, the Republican who chairs the Ethics Committee, asking for an investigation.
"At this point, Mr. Patterson's issues are interfering with the business of the state," House Minority Leader Chad Campbell said in a news release Monday.
"The impending legal issues that Rep. Patterson faces render him unable to fully serve the voters," state party Executive Director Luis Heredia said.
Patterson has been embroiled in an ongoing child-custody dispute with his ex-wife, and now faces allegations of domestic abuse involving his campaign manager.
Georgette Escobar, who was also Patterson's girlfriend, filed a restraining order against him last Friday, alleging that he threatened to harm her.
Tucson police were called to the scene of a confrontation between the two on Friday. As the TPD public records office is closed Monday, copies of any police reports filed are not available.
Patterson tweeted Monday afternoon that the "Allegations are lies from person w bad mental problems & violent criminal history trying to blackmail me (sic)."
"I will not resign," he said in an interview Monday afternoon.
Patterson said he called police to his home after a confrontation with Escobar became heated.
"I wasn't cited or charged" in the incident, he said, denying allegations by Escobar that he physically hurt her.
He'd asked her to move out of his home on Thursday after "becoming aware that she has severe mental health problems and a career of basically violent crime," he said.
"She went into a rage," he said.
Escobar had lived with Patterson for about a year.
She had served as his campaign manager in 2010, and in December took on his ongoing reelection campaign.
While he couldn't refer to specific incidents, Patterson said Escobar has "a well-documented history" of past legal trouble related to domestic violence and "grand theft auto."
"It was in California, I think," he said.
Patterson, who's about 6 feet 3 inches tall and weights about 250 pounds, said he fears for his safety, and that of his nine-year-old daughter.
"She punched and kicked me about 30 times" on Friday, he said.
Patterson said Escobar has bipolar disorder, PTSD, and ADHD.
"I think she's stopped taking her medication," he said.
Patterson said Monday that he won't resign from office.
"I'm not going to be blackmailed," he said.
Escobar "wants a lot of money that I don't owe her," he said.
The "Phoenix political bosses" calling on him to step down "are going to look pretty foolish for rushing to judgment," he said.
Patterson said the fact that he "doesn't toe the party line" might be leading party officials to "throw me under the bus."
"I might think about running as an independent," he said.
"Patterson needs to have the same rights and be held to the same legal standards as every other citizen of our state. We need to let the legal system run its course on those matters," Campbell said.
Sunday, Patterson tweeted that he was hiring a new campaign manager.
In August 2010, Patterson's ex-wife, Jeneiene Schaffer, filed a restraining order against him the same day the couple filed for divorce.
Escobar did not respond to a request for comment Monday.