Best of Fife Vol. II

Fife has done much in — and to — Arizona. We've been keeping track

Best Martyred Wife of a Candidate:
Ann Pritzlaff Symington
Despite well-publicized Fife-Annette relationship, Ann does not dump Fife. Instead, she keeps giving him money.

Best Way to Illegally Buy an Election in 5 Easy Steps:
1. Ann "lends" Fife's first campaign $750,000.
2. Fife's mom, Martha Frick Symington, "lends" the same campaign a total of $600,000, making the total of both "loans" from rich mom and rich wife $1.3 million.

3. Fife sneaks $10,000 from the campaign chest to pay Annette's delinquent state and federal taxes. Fife collects $115,907 in interest from the campaign donations made by mother and wife.

4. Ann "buys" the $600,000 "loan" from mom for $10, then "forgives" it. Ann also "forgives" her $750,000 "loan."

5. Because campaign contributions are limited to $550 per person, the $1.3 million in "forgiven loans" become illegal campaign contributions.

Best Way to Weasel Out of Being Prosecuted for Violating Campaign Law: Lie
When questioned, Ann and Fife's mother tell prosecutors the $1.3 million they "lent" Fife constitute bona fide debts that will be repaid by Fife. Prosecutors don't learn of Ann's "forgiveness of debt" for years. By then, the feds are after Fife for bank fraud.

The Guv Years
Best Stonewall: The Symington Administration and Public Records Requests
Governor Symington is twice awarded the "coveted" Brick Wall award from the Arizona Press Club, for his knack at ignoring public records requests. The club considers renaming the prize after Fife. In keeping with his image, the Fifester has no comment.

Best Quickies: 100-Day Legislative Sessions
There are many fans of Fife's 100-day legislative sessions, particularly the big-business lobbyists who use the frenetic pace to ram through goodies for their clients. One longtime lobbyist describes a Symington session as "just like a candy store."

Best Friend to Suffering Kids--Not:
The Symington Administration

Best Reason to Offer Government Assistance:
Personal Gain
Sumitomo-Sitix's north Phoenix silicon-wafer plant doesn't just mean a lot of jobs and a lot of concern about hazardous waste. It also, potentially, means big bucks for the First Lady's family. Olin Microelectronic Materials Inc., the Valley's sole supplier of hydrofluoric acid--a compound Sumitomo will need--is a division of Olin Chemicals, which, in turn, is owned by Olin Corporation.

Ann Symington is an heir to Olin Corporation and the beneficiary of at least two Olin Corporation trust funds.

Best Foreign Flim-Flam: A Bargain for Sumitomo
State appraisals made in September 1995 for land wanted by Sumitomo look suspiciously low: The state wants to sell prime land in the Desert Ridge area for $63,000 per acre when nearby lots were going for more than $100,000 per acre.

But for Fife, the discount of land intended to raise money for Arizona's schools isn't deep enough. Fife writes to a Sumitomo manager in Japan, assuring him that the appraisals were "flawed," and Fife's lackeys at the Land Department order new appraisals and demand that estimators take a cool $7 million right off the top of Sumitomo's parcel. The new fire-sale estimations will save Sumitomo $60 million over the life of its lease--money that would have gone to school districts.

Best Judgment: Ramon Alvarez
The father of Annette, of course. His appointment to a judgeship by Fife causes an outcry in Cochise County. But after being handed his seat, he's so muddled he forgets to file paperwork to stand for election to the Superior Court bench. Locals say he would have been drubbed anyway.

Best Obsequious Republicans: Legislators
They still think he's a great guy.

Best Story Ignored by Mainstream Media:
Grand Jury Probe
New Times reports in September 1993 that a federal grand jury is investigating the Guv. Five months later, the Arizona Republic stumbles onto the story.

Best Car of the People: The Guv's Chevy Suburban
Fearing that his chauffeured Lincoln Town Car casts an elitist image, Fife trades down to a new, chauffeured, four-wheel-drive Chevy Suburban, equipped with tinted windows, grille lights, cellular phone and police radios. Price tag: $30,000. He calls it a "Car of the People."

Symington trades in the Suburban for . . . a Lincoln Town Car.

Best Attempted Coup:
Fife's Move to Take Over the Grand Canyon
In 1996, the governor hatches a brilliant plan: Wrest control of Grand Canyon National Park away from the feds. The idea comes about after the park is closed as part of the federal government shutdown forced by congressional budget battles. During the 1995 shutdown, Symington successfully deploys the Arizona National Guard to the scene to keep a small area of the park open.

The idea that the state should permanently run the park goes nowhere, as do many of Symington's grandstanding schemes.

Best Pretend Vacation:
Fife Goes to the Grand Canyon--Sorta
The Arizona Department of Tourism admits that a plaid-clad likeness of Fife was cut and pasted onto a photograph of the Grand Canyon.

Presto! Fife Does Arizona for a state tourism ad. Truth is, Fife prefers to take his vacations out of state.

Best Foreign Affair: Japan Trade Mission
Thousands of dollars in massages, poolside drinks and expensive accommodations are charged to the state by Fife and his entourage on a whirlwind trade tour of Japan and three days of R&R at a Hawaiian luxury hotel. Fife and Annette (by this time his $60,000-a-year foreign-trade adviser) stay in adjoining $320-a-night rooms and, along with Symington pal Jim Marsh, run up more than $3,000 in expenses. While in Japan, Symington secretly meets with top officials of Shimizu Corporation, his equity partner in the Esplanade.

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