Mecham promises “every piece of paper’ on loan

November 12, 1987

By LAURIE ASSEO
Associated Press

PHOENIX, Ariz. (AP) — Embattled Gov. Evan Mecham promised again Thursday to produce “every piece of paper” to show that he properly reported to the state a $350,000 campaign loan that is being probed by a grand jury.

The governor, appearing on a live call-in radio show, also said that if enough petition signatures are validated to force him to face a recall vote, “then we’re going to go ahead and perhaps it will be a good cleansing situation for Arizona to have another election.”

Mecham Recall Committee founder Ed Buck responded: “A recall election will be a cleansing process. We are going to cleanse ourselves of Evan Mecham.”

Secretary of State Rose Mofford said Wednesday her office had counted 386,648 signatures that will be sent next week to county recorders who will determine how many are valid. The Mecham Recall Committee needs 216,746 valid signatures of registered voters to force a recall election.

Mecham told a caller he “will come forth in the next few days in a very public way” to demonstrate how his loan from Tempe developer Barry Wolfson was reported to the state.

Mecham said he wants to “hold every chart, every graph, every piece of paper up to public inspection, which is what we are working to do right now.”

No such loan is reported on any of Mecham’s personal or campaign financial records filed with the secretary of state. Mecham still owes Wolfson about $150,000 of the loan.

A state grand jury is expected on Monday to resume its probe of the loan, Mecham’s financial reporting, and whether the loan was tied to any gubernatorial appointments. The grand jury’s investigation was to begin Nov. 3 but was temporarily halted by a court stay while Mecham unsuccessfully sought to have Attorney General Bob Corbin removed from investigating the case.

Arizona House Republicans also have hired a special counsel who will recommend whether Mecham should be impeached in connection with the loan.

Mecham complained that “this so-called secret (grand jury) system has been so public that I have been tried and almost convicted in public.”

“That’s why I do plan very, in the very near future, to go public with every item that will be really presented to the grand jury so that … at least the public will have all the information because I have nothing to hide.”

On Nov. 4, the governor failed during a live television program to give details on how the loan was reported, as he had promised earlier in the day. He said Thursday his attorneys had vetoed the idea of producing documents that night.