His Far East consulting business had shriveled, in part because his contract with the Dial subsidiary hadn't been renewed. Though he wasn't employed--still isn't--Ingalls wasn't broke, thanks largely to the generous divorce settlement.
Then, in early 1994, Eve Edwards came into his life.
Edwards was a spirited ex-model who didn't look as if she were pushing 50, which she was. Though she came across at first to acquaintances as bubbly and carefree, she was in the throes of her own difficult divorce from a Phoenix businessman.
Edwards had a son from the first of her four marriages. She and her last husband had adopted three girls together. But the marriage hadn't worked out; coincidentally, Rad Vucichevich also was her divorce lawyer.
Edwards was living on a ranch in Flowing Springs, near Payson, when she met Jerry Ingalls. The two became an item, and, for months, spent much of their time together.
Edwards and Ingalls broke up in January 1995. But in late February, she asked him if she and her daughters could stay at his home over the weekend. He was going out of town, and agreed.
Ingalls says Edwards stole many things from him that weekend, including a box of legal papers and other personal documents. Ingalls notified Rad Vucichevich, who made an unsuccessful attempt to convince Edwards to return the stolen materials. For that and other reasons, the attorney dropped her as a client around this time.
On March 15, Edwards went to Dial with the documents and--she later told her best friend, Kay Cook--tapes she had secretly recorded of Jerry Ingalls' phone conversations with his attorney. Edwards also relayed to Dial the alleged death threats that Ingalls had made against Joan Potter and John Teets.
(Eve Edwards' estranged husband, Bob, says Eve told him she'd given the documents to Joan Potter personally. Dial spokesman William Peltier says he's been informed that Edwards did meet with Potter that day.)
Cook, a resident of Las Vegas, would become an important player in the events that followed. She and Eve Edwards had met in the mid-1960s when they were young Air Force wives based in Clovis, New Mexico. Three decades later, they remained the best of friends.
Cook says Edwards told her about the March 15 meeting with Dial shortly after it happened. The two friends were supposed to have dinner that night at Ruth's Chris Steak House in Scottsdale.
"It was supposed to be just me and her," Cook tells New Times, "but two young guys were there. She tried to set me up with one of them--'He works at the Dial Corporation'--but he was half my age. I left and called her later.
"That's when she told me she'd given Dial all this stuff Jerry had been accumulating for a lawsuit against Dial. She said they'd given her a grand tour of the building. She didn't say whether they paid her or not."
As the days passed, Cook says, Edwards told her more:
"She told me she'd had a phone jack put in at Jerry's and that she'd be getting into his house through an unlocked window to pick up tapes ..."
Cook, by the way, is no friend of Jerry Ingalls. In fact, she says she tired of Ingalls soon after she met him through Edwards.
"He would ramble on about his ex-wife and this guy John Teets," she recalls. "I had never heard of Joan or Teets until he came along. He had an obsession going, and it got old fast."
As an example of Jerry Ingalls' "obsession," Cook recalls an incident at Ingalls' home in Payson in late 1994: "Jerry was watching TV with Eve, and he was cleaning a gun--an unloaded gun. Teets and Joan had come on the screen. I think he was on his third or fourth Crown Royal. He pointed the gun at thetube and said, 'Bang, bang.' That was about it. I saw this with my own eyes."
Responds Jerry Ingalls: "Never happened. Never happened."
Sometime this spring, Cook alerted Rad Vucichevich about her friend's new relationship with Dial. She didso, Cook says, because she knows and respects Vucichevich, not to help Jerry Ingalls.
The attorney's first instinct was to demand of Dial what the company knew and when it knew it. Instead, Vucichevich did nothing at first.
His reasoning was sound: The matter before the court was Potter's $150,000 bonus money. He recognized that he might be able to use the Eve Edwards/Dial link as leverage for a settlement.
Neither Dial nor Joan Potter's attorney said anything to Vucichevich about the documents. This infuriated him.
The sanctity of the relationship between attorney and client is similar to that of doctor and patient, or priest and parishioner. Phoenix attorney Judith Wolfe, an expert in domestic-relations law and legal ethics, says Dial's decision to sit on the information troubles her.