Honey, Would You Pass the Money?

Sealed testimony by Symington's wife shows couple mixed funds; she bailed governor out repeatedly

"It was a loving wife trying to help her husband out," she said in the deposition.

Ann Symington not only covered her husband's expenses, she also has paid legal expenses for the governor's former secretary, Joyce Reibel, who has been interviewed by federal prosecutors conducting a grand jury investigation into the governor's finances.

After a discussion with her husband about Reibel's situation, Ann Symington said she decided to pay Reibel's legal fees and was billed directly by the secretary's law firm.

"She couldn't afford to, and I wanted to do that for her," Ann Symington said in the deposition.

During her deposition, the governor's wife more than occasionally displayed memory problems similar to those shown by the governor during his public debtor's examination last Halloween.

Ann Symington repeatedly stated that she couldn't remember the reasons she had spent hundreds of thousands of dollars at a time, or where she obtained the funds, even those she has sole control over her in investment accounts, which are managed by PaineWebber and Illsey & Marshall Trust Company.

For example, Ann Symington, an heiress to the Olin Chemical fortune, could not remember how she had spent $125,000 last December 18 when shown a bank statement from her PaineWebber account.

"I'm not sure what it is for," she said.
She was also unsure of her investment role in a six-bedroom ski home the couple built in Park City, Utah, saying she couldn't remember if she contributed anything to the purchase of the land for the home. She was sure she had paid $125,000 to help build the house. But she couldn't remember where she got the money.

The ski home carried a $4,800-a-month mortgage, a payment Ann said was made by her husband. When the home sold in 1988, however, $132,000 of the sale's proceeds was deposited into one of Ann's separate accounts.

Maintaining separate assets can make buying special gifts for one's spouse tricky.

When the governor wanted to give his wife a $12,000 emerald and diamond ring on their tenth anniversary, his wife testified, both Symingtons dug into their pockets.

"From separate places the money came," Ann Symington said.

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