Flashes 08-03-2000

Undoing Time

Sources tell the Flash that attorneys for former governor J. Fife Symington III have again pushed back the deadline for federal prosecutors to reindict Symington on bank and wire fraud charges.

The government was expected to file charges later this month against the Fifester. But Symington's attorneys have asked the government to extend the deadline for filing charges until October 1.

Sources say government prosecutors are agreeing to the delays because the feds need more time to get a grasp of the case.

David Schindler and George Cardona, the federal prosecutors who won a September 1997 conviction against Symington, have left the U.S. Attorney's Office in Los Angeles and entered private practice.

Symington resigned as governor following the conviction, which was overturned in June 1999 by the Ninth U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals.

The Fifester, meanwhile, is no doubt hoping that a Republican presidential victory in November would lead to a new U.S. Attorney in Los Angeles and a possible reprieve from prosecution. But those betting that electing George W. Bush this fall would take the heat off Symington should remember that the criminal investigation of Symington began in December 1991 -- when another George Bush was president.

They're Baaaaaack

The Fifester may be spending his time in kitchens and courtrooms these days, but a couple of his former minions are once again up on the ninth floor of the State Capitol. This time, they're plotting strategy with Governor Jane Dee Hull.

Hull staffers are chuckling over the fact that two former Symington chiefs of staff are chairing the campaigns for Hull's two political priorities on November's ballot: Jay Heiler is running the Growing Smarter Plus campaign, and Peter Hayes is heading up the effort to get the governor's education sales tax hike through.

The Flash is guessing that Heiler refused the education-tax job.

Double Your Pleasure

Growing Smarter and the education tax are but two of as many as 15 statewide initiatives that could show up on the November ballot.

Arizona's booming initiative business is causing headaches for bureaucrats who are wondering where to put all the questions that will go to voters this November.

For the first time anyone can remember, this year the Maricopa County recorder may have to print up two separate ballots, according to Karen Osborne, county elections director.

"I went to sleep in a republic and woke up in a direct democracy," she laments.

Hey, Karen. Ever think of running for the Legislature?

Me and Julio

What were all those conspicuous narcs doing milling about outside Veterans' Memorial Coliseum on Saturday before the match between Mexican boxing legend Julio Cesar Chavez and Kostya Tszyu?

In their button-down shirts and pressed slacks, the agents were as obvious as the humidity. The Flash even saw one talking furtively into his shirt.

A well-placed source tells the Flash that federal Drug Enforcement Administration officers were on the lookout for a couple of Chavez's friends from Mexico who have long been on the DEA's wanted list. They were rumored to be possible attendees at Chavez's boxing swan song.

The narcotrafficantes didn't show up.

But then, neither did Julio.

Despite the voluble support of the 14,100 inside the Coliseum, Chavez, who claims to be 38, got the proverbial rented-mule treatment from the 30-year-old champion, who floored Chavez in the sixth round. The six-time world champion in four weight classes staggered to his feet and fought on, but the referee stopped the fight after Tszyu (pronounced Zoo) laid Chavez on the ropes and worked him like a drum. In doing so, the Russian-born Tszyu retained his World Boxing Council super lightweight title.

The ring was promptly showered with full mugs of beer, propelled by booing fans. It wasn't clear to the Flash exactly whom the patrons were upset with the referee, Chavez, his corner (which had thrown in the towel as the ref signaled the TKO) or Tszyu.

One disgruntled spectator explained it for me: "I spent $200 on these fucking tickets. They should have kept it going."

At least both fighters got their money's worth $1.25 million apiece.


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