Gov. Evan Mecham's son lied in his testimony on an impeachment allegation that the governor misused $80,000 from his protocol fund by loaning it to his auto dealership, the company's former bookkeeper told the Senate Wednesday.
Dennis Mecham, general manager of Mecham Pontiac, said last week that the dealership was in "very strong" financial shape, but former bookkeeper Lee Christman testified Wednesday that the company needed hundreds of thousands of dollars when it borrowed $80,000 from the governor's fund in July 1987.On Tuesday, Dennis Mecham announced that the dealership was being sold because of lagging sales blamed on bad publicity that has dogged his father since he took office in January 1987.
Asked by defense lawyer Jerris Leonard whether she contacted prosecutors on her own initiative, Christman answered, "Yes, when I heard Dennis lie."
Leonard immediately objected, and the presiding officer said Christman's answer went beyond what the question sought. She did not immediately elaborate on what she meant.
Christman, shown a report on Mecham Pontiac's record of delays in paying the bank for cars it sold in mid-1987, told the Senate, "If someone handed this to me I would say they were in big trouble."
Dennis Mecham announced Tuesday that Mecham Pontiac was being sold because of lagging auto sales blamed on negative publicity about the governor.
Prosecutor William French asked Christman, "Was there an immediate need for cash in July 1987?"
"Yes, there was," she said. Dennis Mecham had told her the company needed $497,000 in cash flow, and he called her to his office and handed her an $80,000 check, she said.
"Did he use the word `protocol fund?"' French said. "Yes," she answered.