When creditors were pressing for repayment, Symington had Coopers & Lybrand prepare a detailed financial statement that included all his debts, provided current market values for his real estate and revealed details of the spendthrift trusts. The bottom line: Symington's net worth was a negative $23 million.
Judge Nielsen appeared to pay keen attention to this testimony, asking counsel to give him a moment to finish writing his notes before making a procedural ruling.
The courtroom was silent for what seemed like an eternity as Judge Nielsen wrote down his impressions.
Fife Symington emerged from the courtroom last Friday seemingly oblivious to the festering wounds ripped open during his last afternoon of testimony before the trial recessed for three weeks.
Painful as the whipping was, Symington knew it meant nothing unless the pension funds can prove they reasonably relied on his financial statement -- a hurdle Symington says Manning won't overcome.
Symington bantered with reporters and said he was pleased with his testimony. Asked how he graded his preparation of the December 31, 1989, financial statement given to the union pension funds, Symington gave himself a B or a B plus.
"It's impossible to prepare a 100 percent accurate personal financial statement," he said. "You will always, unless you're a professional, make errors and omissions."
Symington thanked the press for attending and bade farewell, saying he was flying to California to join his wife for the weekend.
Asked to make a prediction on the case, Symington demurred.
"I just hope it works out. If it doesn't, life will go on."
Contact John Dougherty at 602-229-8445 or at his online address: [email protected]