Governor Deposed

Forced to explain his creative accounting practices, the governor steps through the looking glass

Symington's 1989 statement overstated his shares of several other properties in this manner as well.

At some point, Symington simply stopped listing his ownership percentage in an investment when determining his net worth. Instead, he began calculating his net worth according to what he hoped the properties would be worth in the future.

The governor's accounting firm--Coopers & Lybrand--didn't necessarily agree with Symington's accounting techniques.

Symington claimed in his deposition that Coopers & Lybrand periodically reviewed his "methodology" for preparing financial statements, but Symington avoided stating that the Big Six accounting firm ever approved it.

"Well, I don't know if 'approve' is the right word," Symington said.
A year after the pension funds loan was made, Coopers & Lybrand reviewed the governor's finances at the insistence of the lenders. Coopers & Lybrand's May 1991 assessment of Symington's finances reached a much different conclusion. Instead of being worth $12 million, as Symington had claimed to the pension funds a year earlier, Symington was actually $23 million in the hole.

The $15 million in real estate equity Symington claimed when he obtained the $10 million loan from the pension funds had vanished into thin air.

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