Now there may well be a less cynical explanation for all these funny numbers--you know how negative the press is--but none of the players wanted to discuss the "Van Voorhees Memorandum" at length.
I first reached an attorney at the law firm of Bryan, Cave who was sent a copy of the memorandum written by his colleague Van Voorhees.
It would be "inappropriate" to comment, said Stephen Dichter about a memorandum that "was obviously purloined."
I said I understood his feelings and that I would call Van Voorhees directly rather than take up any more of his time.
"Oh, he's not going to talk to you, either," said Dichter, "because I am going down the hall right now and will visit with him before you can call back."
Windnagle is no longer with Coopers & Lybrand, nor is he listed in the Phoenix telephone directory.
John Yeoman's attorney said the accountant would not comment on his billing practices.
Two other accountants from a Big Six firm were prepared to put this all into perspective as long as I hid their identity and the name of their firm.
When I explained the billing numbers--$2,500 for 60 hours of work--to these two, this was their reaction:
"Jesus . . . that's too low. I have clerical people that keypunch for more than that. Jesus, that's low. I should have them do my taxes. They had to make those kind of numbers up somewhere," said accountant number one.
The second accountant had a more dignified response.
"I am surprised," he said, "extremely surprised. That is substantially lower than the firm would like to recover."
Even with junior associates preparing parts of the tax return, both accountants were taken aback by the final bill.
The second accountant had a thought.
"Perhaps their client was an important referral source."