Dial's Dirty Laundry

Page 7 of 8

"You just don't keep this kind of thing--especially attorney-client information--to yourself," says Wolfe. "The minute those documents came into Dial's possession, someone at Dial should have said, 'We have a situation.' To do otherwise is a serious breach.

"The level of corporate arrogance here was incredible."
Asked for an explanation, Dial's Peltier first responded: "Our lawyers tell me they never received any client-privileged information whatsoever."

But New Times has seen the documents and assured Peltier that attorney-client materials were turned over to Dial. In a later interview, the spokesman tried a different explanation.

"Okay," he said, "the lawyers say that no one of any responsibility or anyone in our legal department ever looked at the stuff or knew what this woman had been up to. I know the stuff was here on the premises, but they apparently didn't know what to do with it."

In other words, a citizen handed over documents relevant to a pending court case and reported an alleged death threat against the company boss--and no one in authority at Dial knew about it.

In late June, Edwards underwent bowel surgery. Kay Cook stayed with her at the hospital, worried more about her friend's depressed state of mind than her physical condition.

"She was constantly talking about wanting to die by her own hand," Cook says, "but they released her from the hospital anyway. The next day, she took a bunch of pills and just went to sleep."

Kay Cook found the body. Gila County sheriff's detective George Ratliff investigated the case, then deemed it a suicide.

"There's nothing to indicate anything other than a suicide," Ratliff says. "My main question at first was whether we had a death related to her surgery. We didn't. She wasn't a drinker, so no one could have slipped her a Mickey Finn. She was just very depressed. The word 'Dial' never came up in my investigation."

Cook says she sorted through Edwards' belongings after the suicide. That, she says, is when she found the tapes:

"There were boxes and boxes of them. Most of them were Eve talking dirty to unknown men. I hadn't quite believed her with all this wiretapping talk. But I heard what she must have given to Dial--Jerry and Rad talking. I said, 'Holy cow! She wasn't kidding.'"

Cook, however, says she burned all the tapes in an impulsive moment.
"I didn't want anyone, especially her kids, to listen to these things and think that was Eve," she says. "Until she got mentally sick, she was a great gal, a fun gal. All this James Bond stuff with Dial was ridiculous."

On July 11, Rad Vucichevich launched a frontal assault on Dial. As part of his attempt to reopen the divorce case between Ingalls and Potter, Vucichevich served a subpoena to the firm, demanding to know everything about its contacts with Eve Edwards.

"Many boxes of privileged and confidential documents belonging to [Jerry Ingalls]," he wrote, "including attorney-client work product, as well as illegal tape-recorded attorney-client telephone conversations, are believed now to be wrongfully in the possession and control of The Dial Corp."

Vucichevich was on a fishing expedition of sorts. Dial wasn't biting.
"The information sought is irrelevant to any issue in the marriage," the firm's lawyer argued, "and the information sought would subject Dial to annoyance, embarrassment, oppression and undue burden ..."

In August, Dial returned 52 pages of documents, which included the client-to-attorney letter and the other personal material. But the firm never has officially acknowledged it had any of the recordings that Eve Edwards claimed she'd given to Dial.

That doesn't sit right with Vucichevich, who repeats that an attorney for Dial told him that a tape did exist.

"You know the old saying, 'Where there's smoke, there's fire,'" says Vucichevich. "Their lawyer told me there was a tape, okay? And if there's one tape, how many are there?"

This spring--not long after Eve Edwards introduced herself to Dial--Joan Potter left work one day and never returned.

The 24-story building was abuzz. This wasn't just another big shot biting the corporate dust: This was Joan Potter, JohnTeets' right-hand woman and a force to be reckoned with. Employees speculated over lunch in the second-floor cafeteria and over smokes in the beautiful Dial gardens. But no one in authority was saying anything.

At first, talk was that she'd taken a leave to care for her ailing mother. But weeks turned into months, and the rumor mill wouldn't stop.

KEEP PHOENIX NEW TIMES FREE... Since we started Phoenix New Times, it has been defined as the free, independent voice of Phoenix, and we'd like to keep it that way. With local media under siege, it's more important than ever for us to rally support behind funding our local journalism. You can help by participating in our "I Support" program, allowing us to keep offering readers access to our incisive coverage of local news, food and culture with no paywalls.
Paul Rubin
Contact: Paul Rubin