PHOENIX, OCT. 21 -- The state attorney general is looking into the failure of Gov. Evan Mecham (R) to disclose, as required by state law, a $350,000 loan he received before last fall's election, a newspaper reported today.
The Arizona Republic said it learned in documents obtained late Tuesday that the loan, which constituted about 30 percent of Mecham's $1.16 million campaign fund, came from Barry Wolfson, a Tempe developer and attorney.
Wolfson and several others are defendants in a civil fraud and racketeering suit filed in August by the state attorney general's office. It alleges misuse of $368 million in industrial-development bonds intended to build low-income housing.
Ken Smith, Mecham's press secretary, said he discussed the matter this morning with the embattled first-term governor, who is facing a serious recall effort. "He said there's absolutely nothing wrong with it," Smith said.
Wolfson, contacted today, said, "I had no idea what the disclosure requirements were. It was never brought up."
He added that Mecham's chief of staff had told him there was no disclosure requirement. Wolfson said he asked that his name not be disclosed by Mecham's campaign finance aides "simply to avoid my being seen as a fat cat."
State law requires that elected officials annually disclose the identities of people and institutions to whom they owe more than $1,000.