Arizona Republic

Deadbeat parent roundup nets 17

By Jim Gintonio
The Arizona Republic
April 2, 2000

Nemor Toamih held nothing back as he told Maricopa County Sheriff Joe Arpaio and anyone else who would listen that a huge mistake was made in identifying him as a deadbeat dad.

Toamih was one of 17 people rounded up Saturday -- and put on display at Los Arcos Mall in Scottsdale -- on outstanding warrants for failure to pay child support. The arrests of 16 men and one woman made just a dent in the 150 people who were targeted, representing $172,870 in delinquent payments.

About 160 of the Sheriff's Posse, reserves and deputies participated in the operation.

Records show that Toamih is $40,000 in arrears, making him No. 1 on the day's captures. It's something, however, that Toamih can't understand.

"I paid, I'm not behind," said Toamih, a native of Beirut. Repeating that about a dozen times did not convince Arpaio.

One person not willing to discuss his case was former Cardinals defensive end Freddie Joe Nunn, who also had a DUI warrant outstanding. He is $5,000 behind in his child support payments. After agreeing to a few interviews early, he told deputies that he was through talking.

After being processed, the group was transported to the Madison Street Jail. After going before a judge, most will probably be sent to Tent City, Arpaio said. Some will be granted a work release in order to make money to pay back child support, but those with violent backgrounds will be incarcerated until they come up with a way to raise the money.

"They say they don't have the money, but it's nothing but an excuse," Arpaio said. "You have to have the responsibility to help your children."

Arpaio has conducted these operations on holidays in the past, and picking April Fools' Day was fitting, he said, "because these deadbeats apparently think the responsibilities to their children are a laughing matter."

The names of those not arrested who owe more than $5,000 will be put on the sheriff's Web site, www.mcso.org.

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Reach the reporter at Jim.Gintonio@ArizonaRepublic.com or (602) 444-7125.

Copyright 2000, Arizona Central