Fife's Sweetheart Deal
Arizona Gov. Fife Symington loaned himself $30 million of other people's money.
In 1983, Fife Symington was a land developer hoping to build a major residential and commercial complex in Phoenix called Camelback Esplanade. Providentially, Symington was also on the board of directors of Southwest Savings and Loan, a Phoenix thrift.
Southwest lent Symington $30 million to build Camelback, making the loan despite Symington's position as one of the thrift's directors and even though the property had not been appraised--both serious violations of federal regulations.
Southwest's $30 million investment provided virtually all the funding for Camelback; in return, Southwest received a 50 percent share in the project. Symington, meanwhile, received a 19 percent share for a reported investment of $432.