By Monica Alonzo
By Stephen Lemons
By Jason P. Woodbury
By Dulce Paloma Baltazar Pedraza
By Ray Stern
By Pete Kotz
By Monica Alonzo
By New Times
So now, each day, the grand jury meets to hear testimony about the amazing guile Symington employed while putting together the deal to construct the Esplanade. The grand jury will learn:
ù Symington was actually a member of the board of directors of Southwest Savings when he proposed that the group invest its money to build his Esplanade project at the corner of 24th Street and Camelback. This was improper on the face of it. The approval of federal regulators was required before such a transaction could take place. Symington's weak excuse is that he did not vote on the S&L's investment, but merely presented the plan to the board.
ù The money Southwest gave Symington was the single largest investment ever made by the thrift. RTC sources claim Southwest lost $38 million in the deal. ù The RTC charges that Symington actually only put up $432 of his own money as his share in the Esplanade project that paid him more than $8 million in development fees. The agency initially labeled this as "blatant self-dealing."
ù When Southwest failed, it cost the taxpayers millions. In a separate civil suit, the government now seeks to recover $197 million from Symington and 11 other Southwest officials.
ù In order to sell the deal, Symington spent nearly $1 million on a high-powered radio and television campaign. It was required in order to overcome the public outcry over traffic problems the project might cause.
ù As part of this battle, Symington felt the need to engineer the election defeat of Ed Korrick, a Phoenix City Councilmember who opposed the Esplanade project. So Symington donated $30,000 to the campaign of Korrick's opponent. At the time, the campaign limit for individual donations was $200. Despite Symington's money, Korrick won the race.
But Symington, then secretary of the state Republican party, made it appear that his underhanded $30,000 donation was given to Korrick's foe directly by the Republican party. The criminal-complaint case was presented to Bob Corbin, then the state attorney general, for criminal prosecution. Corbin declined to prosecute his fellow Republican.
In Arizona, justice always takes a back seat to party protocol.