By Amy Silverman
By Olivia LaVecchia
By Monica Alonzo and Stephen Lemons
By Chris Parker
By Michael Lacey
By Weston Phippen
I don't say these things to demean Dennis. He's pleasant enough. But one of his family's neighbors in Tucson was actually Joe Bonanno, the former New York Mafia don.
Dennis insists his family always thought Bonanno was in the cheese business. I smile each time I think of that explanation. So does everyone else.
And his performance at the hearing was not a success. There was that terribly tacky strategy of dragging his grandchild into the hearing room. There was the constant presence of his wife, once again at his side. She was in the hearing room more than Howell Heflin, and he was supposed to be running the show.
Such bad form. But what can you expect of Italians? Always, they are too emotional.
I have plenty of family background. Sometimes I find myself thinking about it as I sit in my office and catch a glimpse of the portrait of my great- grandfather that sits above my desk.
I remember how impressed Evan Mecham was by it the day he came to visit my office on the third floor of the Esplanade.
He was already out of office. Just a year or so before I had publicly called him "a schoolyard bully who deserved a punch in the nose." Mecham sat down in front of my desk. He looked up past me and saw the oil portrait of my great-grandfather Frick glaring down at him.
In the little Mormon town where Mecham came from, I don't suppose they have pictures like that even in the library.
"Pretty fancy place you have here," Mecham said, still staring at great-grandfather. "Who's that in the picture?" "That's my great-grandfather," I said. I never let on there was anything out of the ordinary. "His name was Henry Clay Frick. He founded U.S. Steel." "You don't say?" Mecham said, giving me that little car salesman's smirk that was his trademark.
But I could tell he was impressed. He had to be.
I must make certain of my strategy and not waver from it. My mission will be to denounce the investigators who insist I behaved without integrity in my dealings with Southwest Savings and Loan.
I will continue to insist the Esplanade is a world-class project and will eventually make money for its investors. Perhaps I'll even repeat some of the phrases from my press conference at the Esplanade when I roundly denounced the government tactics and threatened to investigate its investigators.
This will give me a chance to demonstrate how well I understand my great-grandfather's business philosophy. He became a multimillionaire by buying up acres and acres of land filled with coal during a depression in the 19th century. Later, he combined his holdings with those of Andrew Carnegie and they formed U.S. Steel.
In 1892, when their Homestead Plant in Pennsylvania was hit by a strike, great-grandfather hired his own police force to run the strikers off. Ten men died. Great-grandfather himself narrowly missed being assassinated by the anarchist Alexander Berkman.
Henry Clay Frick was a man who never cultivated close friends. He was a fair but tough employer. Liberal do-gooders called him ruthless.
Matthew Josephson wrote slightingly of great-grandfather in The Robber Barons:
"In his palace, he was seated on a Renaissance throne under a baldachino and holding in his little hand a copy of the Saturday Evening Post." I always wondered what the author thought was so funny about the Saturday Evening Post, or my great-grandfather, for that matter.
He certainly had the last laugh when he died in 1919. He was so wealthy that he bequeathed New York City his mansion and a fabulous art collection that was worth millions.
I remember that, as a young man, I was presented by an aunt with a leather-bound version of great-grandfather's biography.
"To J. Fife Symington III," the inscription read, "may this biography of your great-grandfather inspire you to excel in everything you undertake." I have always had that in mind. It carried me when I created the Esplanade against all odds. It carried me to the governor's office by the narrowest of margins.
It enables me to make the constant tough decisions a governor has to make. My job is not made easier by the people in the state legislature I must deal with. They are so limited.
They resent me and try to portray me as a governor who doesn't have time to do his job because of his business failures.
I am going to Washington, D.C., to show them all how wrong they are. It should be great fun tussling with those fellows.
The last time I had so much fun was when I was growing up in Maryland and we used to have all those wonderful fox hunts.
"It was wild and crazy. It was survival. You've got 150 people on horseback trying to jump the same fence at the same time, and the foxes heading off into the country and the hounds are in full cry and it's crazy..."
And I bet that's just what it will be like when I face Congressman Hubbard of Kentucky on Thursday.