By Amy Silverman
By Olivia LaVecchia
By Monica Alonzo and Stephen Lemons
By Chris Parker
By Michael Lacey
By Weston Phippen
But Marjorie Jane Kendall told the attorney general that Coopers & Lybrand had all of its competitors' secret bids before submitting a "best and final" offer for the Project SLIM contract.
The accounting firm was the highest of five bidders in the first round. Armed with illegal data, however, Coopers slashed its final proposal by $440,000 and took the prize.
Marjorie Jane Kendall deserves a statue in a local park for her pivotal role in revealing this corruption.
And she told investigators a lot more than has previously been made public.
The secretary charges that shortly after Symington was elected governor, illegal campaign contributions were hidden, bogus checks were written but never cashed and a phony check ledger was kept by Coopers & Lybrand.
During Symington's first run for the Governor's Office, Yeoman served as the campaign's treasurer. He made it clear to Kendall that she had to work on the election records.
The secretary did not like what she saw or what she was forced to do to keep her job.
On the phone, Marjorie Kendall was blunt.
"I am a born-again Christian," said Kendall on Monday. "If something evil is happening, I don't want to be part of it. The stuff that was going on at Coopers & Lybrand wasn't good."
Her transcribed remarks are contained in a report buried in the 14,000 pages of records in the attorney general's Project SLIM investigation. In an interview this week, she expanded upon those statements.
Kendall kept records for the campaign to show that wealthy Republicans had contributed only the maximum allowed under the law when, in fact, the donors contributed much more.
"I remember there were people who gave large sums of money, and they would be over the maximum. . . . The limit from what I was explained was $500, and there were people who would give more and they would just . . . document it so it wasn't," said Kendall.
"What they were doing is, they would record a payment, and then they would say, 'Well, we have to send a check back because they paid too much.'
"But the check never got sent. So they would write a check to someone who overpaid, but that person never got the check."Kendall didn't merely observe this going on around her; it was her responsibility to reconcile the bank statements with the campaign records.
"I did not sign the checks, but I balanced them," she added. "The statements would come to me, and I would balance them."
Though a ledger was kept showing that all these excess, and illegal, funds were paid back, the checks were not cashed.
"They never cleared [the bank]," said Kendall.
Because Kendall worked on postelection mop-up, most of the fund raising had already been done. The scale of the activity she witnessed was more galling than monumental.
Though she no longer recalls specific dollar amounts or the names of contributors, she said that by the time she left there were ten file boxes of financial documents on all aspects of the campaign.
Specific answers, she says, reside in those boxes.
One name she does recall is that of Annette Alvarez.
"He [Symington] had an assistant, Annette . . . they paid her taxes, and we had to fudge those records because the news media had gotten ahold of it. . . . It started when the media was really getting involved, and they would want things to be proved to them.
"They would have me go back and doctor documents. Then they would provide those documents to the media as the original document, and it wasn't."
Kendall said the doctored statements related both to income and disbursement.
After the election, state records revealed that Symington's election committee had indeed used campaign contributions to pay off tax liens assessed against Alvarez.
Two checks were sent directly from the campaign to the tax man: $8,149 went to the Internal Revenue Service; $479 went to the Arizona Department of Revenue.
At the time, state officials said no laws were broken.
Not everyone was so sanguine.
Governor Evan Mecham had just been impeached for diverting citizen contributions in the state Protocol Fund for his own use. Consequently, folks were a little sensitive about campaign-finance shenanigans.
Dana Larsen of Arizona Common Cause protested the Alvarez tax diversions at the time they were discovered.
"The money that was given to the candidate . . . was given, for the most part, by people who felt they were trying to elect someone to office, not for use for personal reasons," said Larsen.
After working for John Yeoman at Coopers & Lybrand for one year, Kendall was fired.
Except to question the reliability of Kendall as a witness, Yeoman's attorney, Douglas Behm, said his client, who was out of town at a funeral, would have no comment.
It is possible that Marjorie Kendall is a disaffected secretary, bitter over her dismissal. But I don't know that.
Is it even a relevant consideration? I don't believe so.
It is a matter of public record that Symington paid Annette Alvarez's delinquent taxes with campaign contributions and hotly defended this action afterward.
Even accepting Dana Larsen's criticism, campaign irregularities are small transgressions in the grand panoply of the governor's sins. After all, it was Symington's utter disregard for regulations that played such a crucial role in the billion-dollar collapse of Southwest Savings and Loan.