One year after his fraud conviction forced him to resign in disgrace, former Gov. Fife Symington spends his days not in prison but in the aromatic kitchens of a renowned cooking school.
He's slicing, dicing and julienning his way toward becoming a gourmet chef.
"I've always wanted to learn to cook," he said. "I'm a pretty good breakfast cook, and for 20 years I've wanted to do this."
Symington, a two-term Republican governor, was convicted a year ago Wednesday on federal charges of defrauding lenders of $23 million as a real estate developer in the 1980s and early '90s. He tearfully resigned two days later.
A judge sentenced Symington to 2 1/2 years in prison, but he remains free on appeal.
These days, Symington, 53, and his wife, Ann, spend 6 1/2 hours a day, five days a week in a 15-month degree program at Scottsdale Culinary Institute. The ex-governor, whose wife is a partner in Roy's, a posh Scottsdale restaurant, says his $17,000 cooking classes are therapeutic.