By Amy Silverman
By Olivia LaVecchia
By Monica Alonzo and Stephen Lemons
By Chris Parker
By Michael Lacey
By Weston Phippen
In his interviews with New Times, Ling at first reveled in his purported musical relationships with Brecker and Metheny.
"Yes, sir, I've played with them," he said in December. "In my opinion, it was more of an honor than anything else. But my main gig is international law."
When entangled in his own web, Ling seamlessly slips from one explanation to another. He'll characterize a glaring contradiction as an unfortunate misunderstanding. If pressed, he apologizes profusely and carries on.
For example, after New Times queried Ling last week, he first denied he'd ever said he'd played with the famed musicians. Then, confronted with a transcript of the earlier conversation, he glibly explained he'd meant to say he wanted to play with them someday.
Andy Ling apparently hasn't spun his yarns for financial ends. He seeks to benefit by impressing friends, strangers and, apparently, himself.
But his lies have hurt people, especially friends and lovers who had grown to admire and trust him, only to be betrayed.
"I'm not a disgruntled ex-girlfriend who wants to get back at him," Michel Allen explains. "I'm not into that at all. I still want him to get help. It's that he has lied to a very major degree, and other women need to know that. . . . He never needed to do any of this. I just don't think Andy can love anyone but Andy. And he doesn't even do that."
Others, including the musicians and their managers, are incredulous and chagrined.
"We don't take kindly to this," Michelle Craig, special-projects coordinator for Metheny's management firm in Boston, says of Ling's purported collaboration with the jazz-guitar impresario. "For someone to invent liner notes and a tape that he supposedly recorded and composed with someone like Pat, who has worked his whole life at his music, is very wrong."
Many acquaintances of Andy Ling describe him as an intelligent, eager-to-please fellow who grew up under the thumb of a demanding father. He is erudite, a sterling conversationalist.
Ling works as an attorney for GTX Corporation, a computer-related firm that does business internationally and is owned by his father.
He's a fixture in the Scottsdale/East Camelback corridor social scene. A fitness buff, he works out religiously at the Village Racquet and Health Club.
With his lively patter, nonpareil "credentials" and trim appearance, Ling has had little difficulty meeting women.
But there's been a troubling pattern in Ling's romances. Several women say his tales grew taller as their relationships progressed.
One woman whom Ling dated briefly years ago recalls how his fantastic yarns compelled her to investigate.
"Andy told me about being on the Olympic tae kwon do team in 1980," says Esther Slater, a Scottsdale woman who was one of many people contacted by the Secret Service last year.
"I questioned it because of other things he'd told me. So I did some checking. It was just lies. Last year, I told him I was going to Kyoto, in Japan. He said, great, that's where his temple is. I asked him, 'Oh, what's the name of it?' He didn't know. Just lies. It's sad."
Few, female or male, have been immune from Ling's barrage.
"He would spew on with me about being in the Secret Service, about this and that," says Betsy Banovac, a former neighbor. "I never took him seriously. I just saw him as this really troubled person who needed help."
In early 1992, the March of Dimes prepared for its annual Bid for Bachelors event. Local bachelors strut their stuff on a stage for eager, single ladies, then go out on dates with the highest bidders.
The whole thing is for charity. New Times spoke with two of that year's bachelors. The pair, who don't know each other, attended a pre-event session in which bachelors to be auctioned told each other about themselves.
Both men vividly remember Andy Ling. He described himself as a well-connected international attorney and a most busy fellow. He disclosed that he'd soon be flying to Washington, D.C., for an important meeting with George Bush and the president's Cabinet.
One of the men, a Valley medical doctor, recalls being agog.
"This guy knew the president, for God's sakes," says the doctor, who requested anonymity. "His political ties were incredible. The Lear jet, the whole thing. All I could say was, 'Holy cow, what competition!'"
Michel Allen attended the event, held at Westcourt in the Buttes, as a volunteer worker. She saw Ling there, but didn't meet him until about a year later.
"We did have some good times," Allen says. "I just trust in people, okay? I'd tell him, 'Andy, you have accomplished so much in life. Why do you want to date me? I'm nothing fancy. But here you are telling me you just landed another $250 million deal or whatever.'"
Ling's web became steadily more complex, Allen says.
"One time," she says, "the first thing he said to me when I saw him was, 'There's been another attempt on the president's life.' He'd tell me about counterfeiters, about wearing the black garb, the black stuff under his eyes. He told me Barry Goldwater had gotten him elected to the War Council, whatever that is. He told me he'd gotten shot wearing a bulletproof vest. I remember him moaning--`Oh, the pain, the pain!'"