Fif'e Slow Dance With Debt

Despite Symington's sworn statement during the debtor's examination that he and his wife have never owned joint property, Pima County records show that the couple invested in a partnership together and held title together on a lot north of Tucson.

Pima County records show that Ann and Fife Symington jointly invested in a real estate partnership called Pusch Ridge Associates in 1987. The partnership transferred 50 percent interest in alot in the pricey LaReserve development overlooking ElConquistador Resort to the Symingtons on December 17, 1987.

A special warranty deed dated December 23, 1987, conveys the property to "J. Fife Symington III and Ann P. Symington, husband and wife, as to an undivided 50 percent interest..."

Pima County tax bills show Ann and Fife Symington as co-owners of the property as recently as 1991.

Symington did not report his ownership in the La Reserve parcel in his first two financial disclosure statements filed with the state. The lot is reported as being owned by Ann and Fife Symington on thegovernor's January 31, 1992, state disclosure.

The governor's January 31, 1993, financial disclosure statement shows the couple divesting the property on December 18, 1992, with Ann repurchasing the interest in the lot on the same day. Subsequent disclosure statements show Ann Symington held the property in her name only until she sold it on November 21, 1994.

Symington's long and complicated forays with debt have left scores of lenders holding tens of millions of dollars of worthless personal repayment guarantees.

But only one lender, the union pension funds that lent Symington $10 million forthe Mercado project in downtown Phoenix, is vigorously questioning Symington's financial promises.

Meanwhile, the state's largest bank, Bank One, stands to lose $1.2 million in personal loans made to Symington. Most of the debt was incurred during Symington's first campaign. Bank One hasn't uttered a single public word about Symington's bankruptcy.--John Dougherty

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