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Embattled Arizona Governor Demands His Mail

February 19, 1988

PHOENIX (AP) _ Impeached Gov. Evan Mecham on Thursday demanded acting Gov. Rose Mofford forward all his mail unopened, and accused her of dismantling his administration before the Senate can decide whether to remove him permanently.

″May I ask you to recognize that I have only been accused and not convicted of any act,″ the embattled first-term Republican said in a letter.

″I have every confidence that I will be cleared of all charges in both tribunals and then return to the office to which I was legally elected.″

Mecham, who was impeached by the House on Feb. 5 and also faces criminal trial in March on charges of concealing a $350,000 campaign loan, complained that his mailroom staff had been removed despite an earlier understanding.

″Now I am told that my mail will be opened and read by your people who will then decide what will be sent on to me and what will not,″ he said.

″I realize that your people said that mail marked personal or confidential would not be opened, but I insist that all mail addressed to me is to be forwarded without opening.″

Athia Hardt, Ms. Mofford’s press secretary, said Ms. Mofford had no immediate reply to the letter but had no intention of meeting Mecham’s request.

Ms. Hardt said Mecham aide Bonnie Simons and her helpers were reassigned after Ms. Simons took the position that any mail addressed to office of the governor should go to Mecham first.

Much of the mail requires immediate action and ″it would be irresponsible for us to bundle it up and send it off to Glendale,″ Ms. Hardt said, referring to the suburban offices Mecham has referred to as his government-in- ex ile.

Mecham accused Ms. Mofford, a Democratic secretary of state who became acting governor upon Mecham’s impeachment, of dismantling his administration after she accepted the resignation of Washington lobbyist Fred Craft.

Last week, Mecham had urged Mrs. Mofford to retain Craft, who has helped Arizona lobby for the federal superconducting super collider and rented part of his law offices for use by Arizona. Craft had tendered his resignation Feb. 11.

″I must convey my deep disappointment and surprise at the way your people are turning a temporary acting governorship into a complete disruption and replacement of my administration,″ Mecham said.

″Step by step you have replaced enough valuable employees that it looks more like a transition of administrations instead of an interim period where most employees would be left in place until I get things cleared up.″

The House impeached Mecham on charges he concealed a $350,000 campaign loan, misused $80,000 in state money and obstructed justice.

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