Arizona Daily Sun from Flagstaff, Arizona on May 15, 1997 · 1
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Arizona Daily Sun from Flagstaff, Arizona · 1

Flagstaff, Arizona
Issue Date:
Thursday, May 15, 1997
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262? VM?CRCPiJ8LlsuTi l 1,1 A R I 0 N 17 sIC bony y v . nets worker award See Page 2 t f SUB mm&J Volume 51 , No. 272 j A Pulitzer Community Newspaper May 15, 1997 j I II I 1 ! ' 1 i I I ! " I I ) 4 ' f At a Glance i :m Experience Sinaguas softball team now has a little taste of the Class 4A State Tournament after facing Peoria Centennial Wednesday. PAGE 9 Pigeon stew NEW ROCHELLE, N.Y. (AP) Suzanne Levy is ready to go behind bars for feeding the birds. Shes battling City Hall over a birdhouse perched on a 6-foot wooden post in her back yard. After a neighbor complained that pigeons were flocking to the feeder and leaving behind silver dollar-size droppings, the city told Ms. Levy she should have obtained a building permit before she put up the feeder. Now she faces a possible $250 fine or 15 days in jail for putting out '' the free smorgasbord. If they want to make me a spectacle, I would go to jail over this, Ms. Levy said Wednesday. Im divorced, my children are grown, I was lonely and I wanted to see the birds. The birdhouse isnt the most garish or elaborate yard ornament in her Sycamore Park neighborhood. Theres a pink, green and yellow plastic playhouse down the street, and a basketball hoop with 7-Up on the backboard Statues of the madonna, plastic basketball hoops and colorful swing sets dot some yards. Ms. Levys feeder towers above an overgrown lawn. Earth saverS BUYING TIME Tropical plants have yielded medicines and lifesaving drugs The chances of finding more plant cures are threatened by the destruction ol the ram forest Buying sustainable ram forest products such as fruits, nuts pigments, oils, essences and fibers helps preserve the fnroci for later riismvpnes Source Body Shop Inc mjj PRINTED WITH SOY INK Th Mont My Sun k printed on riqriM pap U BLOCKBUSTER Eric DrotterAssociated Press George Leckie, former aide to Gov. Fife Symington, talks to reporters outside the federal courthouse in Phoenix Wednesday after he was acquitted on all counts in his bid-rigging trial. Death of codefendant seen as key to verdict LEGAL Leckie hopes his acquittal aids governor By PAUL DAVENPORT Associated Press Writer , PHOENIX A former state official says he hopes his acquittal on bid-rigging charges will help what he sees as the prosecutions actual target Gov. Fife Symington. George Leckie, Symingtons former deputy chief of staff and his 1990 chief campaign fund-raiser, was acquitted Wednesday of three fraud charges accusing Leckie of leaking confidential bid information to another Symington associate. Symington went on trial this week in the same courthouse on unrelated charges mostly stemming from his former career as a real estate developer. What I really hope is that this is the start of momentum to help the governor and that it sends a signal, Leckie said. The federal prosecutors handling both cases are from Los Angeles, where the Symington investigation was transferred by Arizonas U.S. attorney because of possible conflict of interest I think its time we get the LA prosecutors out of the state, Leckie said. Theyve ruined and brought damage to a lot of fine people. Leckie denied he had provided the information to John Yeoman, Symingtons 1990 campaign treasurer and a partner of an accounting firm which was awarded a $1.5 million state contract for a Symington-initiated cost-cutting study, Project Slim, in 1991. After the verdict, Leckie said he hoped it would comfort the family of Yeoman, who died in an April 1996 traffic accident. I hope a little bit of this victory is for John ... John is not here to defend himself, Leckie said. Symington said Leckie, who has been treated in the past year for throat cancer, had endured the pain of a lift-threatening illness, reckless allegations, relentless attacks in the press and the loss of a good friend. He has faced it all with courage. He has my prayers, my congratulations and my admiration, Symington said. Leckie and his lead defense attorney, Thomas Connelly, each said the charges were intended to force Leckie or Yeoman to testify against the governor. Ive always felt I was innocent and that the motivation for bringing this action was more than Project Slim. This matter arose out of the Symington grand See LECKIE, Page 11 By PAUL DAVENPORT Associated PresS Writer PHOENIX The death of a codefendant and George Leckies own testimony in his bid-rigging trial were turning points toward his eventual acquittal, say lawyers familiar with the case. A federal jury acquitted Leckie on Wednesday of three mail- and wire-fraud charges contained in a March 1996 indictment that also named political associate John Yeoman. Leckie, formerly Gov. Fife Symingtons deputy chiei of staff and his 1990 campaign fund-raiser, was accused of giving confidential bid information to Yeoman. The accountant was Symingtons 1990 campaign treasurer and worked for an accounting firm which won a state consulting contract in 1991. But less than a month after the indictment, Yeoman was killed in a traffic accident. Federal prosecutors would not discuss Leckies acquittal in any detail Wednes day, but Arizona Attorney General Grant Wools said their case probably was lost when Yeoman died. When that happened, it complicated things so much that it made it almost impossible to get a conviction, said Woods. Yeoman had given a still-sealed statement in a Coopers internal investigation, but the judge in Leckies case did not allow the prosecution to present it to jurors. If they could hear that the co-conspirator admitted that the whole thing was true, it could have made a difference, Woods said. Leckies defense had argued that allowing use of Yeomans statement would violate their clients constitutional right to confront his accuser. U.S. District Judge Earl Carroll, in ruling that the statement could not be used, noted it contrasted with previous testimony in See DEATH, Page 11 More condors soaring By LUKAS VELUSH Sun Staff Repotter Four more of North Americas largest ( flying birds are now roaming Arizonas skies. At 7 a.m. Wednesday four California condors were released from pens atop the Vermilion Cliffs, raising the number of rare birds in the wild in Arizona to nine. The condors hopped out of their pen not far from the North Rim of the Grand Canyon, looked around, stretched out their nine-foot wingspan and then took to the air for their maiden flights. The flights werent long ones, though. Basically they look like theyre out of See CONDORS, Page 7 Found skull shoots down UFO theory By BLAKE MORLOCK Sun Staff Reporter Devin Williams disappearance from his lettuce truck nearly two years ago fueled rumor and speculation that he was abducted by aliens. Williams end now looks pretty earthly. Coconino County Sheriffs deputies said a skull found at the base of the Mogollon Rim about 40 miles southeast of Flagstaff has been identified as that of Williams. Detectives used dental records to identify the skull turned over to Coconino County by Gila County on May 2. Sheriffs officials have said the lettuce truck drivers disappearance on Memorial Day 1995 was one of the strangest cases that has passed across their desks. Sheriffs Detective Bruce Cornish said the find does close the missing persons case, although the rest of the story might never be known. Were not going to know how he died, Cornish said. There was no trauma to the skull. Such skull damage could have proved that Williams, a Kansas resident, died in a fall or from a gunshot wound. Cornish said when bodies are found in the woods, the remains tend to be scattered by coyotes, See SKULL, Page 7 Computer glitches slow Flag courts By BECKY RAMSDELL Sun Staff Repotter People trying to do business recently in Flagstaff s courts may have run into technical difficulties, courtesy of a cranky statewide computer system. Computer operations at Coconino County Superior Court and Flagstaff Justice Court were shut down for a day and a half this week because of apparent fiber-optic problems with the Arizona Courts Automation Project system. Flagstaff Municipal Court was also down for about an hour Tuesday. The computers at all three courts were up and running Wednesday, but local officials say this week isnt the first time the 8-month-old system has gone down. 1 Nor is it the only glitch theyve experienced: A sexually explicit menu programmed into the system was fixed recently in computers across the state after some court employees complained that it was offensive. . The computer system is an effort by the Arizona Supreme Court to , link the states 183 courts in a single network. Flagstaffs courts and 71 others installed the system in September, and another 32 came online earlier this year. Local court employees say the new system has helped ease their manual workload, but occasional crashes create a backlog. We havent really had any problems until the last two to three weeks, Superior Court Administrator Gary Krcmarik said. It was ' pretty stable, and all of a sudden at the end of April and the first couple weeks of May weve been down more than we should be. When the system is down, his staff cant enter paid fines into the system or set up payment schedules. They use a separate word . .i 'V See GLITCHES, Page 7 Choo-choo food Sean OpenshawArlzona Dally Sun Jordan Sella, 8 (foreground), and his sister Tierza, 6, watch a toy train make its turns at the Shamrock Food Show Wednesday at NAUs Walkup Skydome. Jordan and Tierza were accompanying their father, Todd, a Shamrock sales representative. More than 1 ,700 people attended the show. V i t Vaa,

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