Ex-campaign aide to Symington killed in automobile accident

By The Associated Press
Arizona Daily Wildcat
April 8, 1996

PHOENIX - A former top campaign aide to Gov. Fife Symington was killed in an auto accident - two days after pleading innocent to federal charges alleging he helped rig a lucrative state contract.

John D. Yeoman, Symington's former campaign treasurer, sustained internal injuries after the crash Friday night and died during surgery at John C. Lincoln Hospital, Sgt. John Buchanan said Saturday.

Yeoman graduated from the University of Arizona Law School in 1969. He operated the Tucson office of Coopers & Lybrand from 1980 to 1985, then moved to the firm's Phoenix office.

Yeoman was also Symington's personal and business accountant.

Police said the 51-year-old Yeoman was making a left turn when a speeding pickup truck slammed into his car about 7 p.m. in north Phoenix.

The truck driver, 35-year-old David Int-Hout, was suspected of speeding and driving under the influence of marijuana and other drugs, Buchanan said. He was treated for facial injuries and released from the hospital Saturday.

Symington spokesman Doug Cole said he was stunned by the news.

''I'm in a state of shock,'' said Cole, who first heard about the accident from a reporter. ''He was a good, decent man and a loving father.''

Yeoman pleaded innocent Wednesday to charges he and former Symington chief of staff George Leckie colluded in a 1991 bid-rigging scheme worth $1.5 million.

Investigators allege Leckie illegally provided Yeoman, then a partner in the national accounting firm of Coopers & Lybrand, with information that allowed Yeoman's firm to lower its bid and win a consulting contract for Project SLIM, Symington's cost-cutting program.

A federal grand jury last month indicted Yeoman and Leckie on seven counts of fraud. Yeoman was also charged with one count of perjury before the grand jury and one count of obstruction of justice.

Yeoman was fired from Coopers & Lybrand after the indictment was announced.

''The firm certainly has great sympathy for his family,'' company spokesman Dave Nestor said Saturday after learning of Yeoman's death. ''We can't say much else at this point.''

Police did not know where Yeoman was going when the fatal accident happened.

In a statement issued Saturday, Symington said: ''John Yeoman was a decent man, and I will miss him. All those who knew him knew of his many qualities as a person, his kindness toward others and his love for his family.''