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Many have had the dream of getting rich through real estate, and Bill Clinton, then the attorney general of Arkansas, was no different from countless others when he and his wife chased that dream in by becoming partners in a venture known as Whitewater Estates. Chris Wade, the real estate agent who handled sales for Whitewater, said he remembers Clinton telling him about his hopes for making money--and perhaps even settling down--on scenic property in the Ozark Mountains of northern Murdock-MN wife swapping. I might retire up here.
Today, Whitewater has turned into a political nightmare for President Clinton and his wife, Hillary Rodham Clinton, becoming the subject of a broad federal investigation into the their financial dealings during their years in Arkansas. McDougal, to provide the Clintons with low-risk profits with little investment by them. When it was disclosed in December that Whitewater records were removed from the office of White House deputy counsel Vincent Foster after his suicide last July--and then that the papers were kept from investigators--suspicions escalated rapidly.
Clinton gave in to subsequent congressional and public pressure and agreed to the appointment of a special counsel, who is now beginning to investigate the affair. The expanding trail of le and political charges drew much attention to Whitewater, the affair, but left Whitewater, the real estate Murdock-MN wife swapping itself, only more obscure. In recent weeks, Times reporters have interviewed more than 30 people associated with the project and reviewed hundreds of s of records in an attempt to reconstruct what happened.
Aspects of the venture remain tangled in an underbrush of small-time real estate deals and missing documents. However, the evidence now available seems to offer more support than contravention for two core claims made by the Clintons: that rather than rewarding them financially, Whitewater was a money-loser and that during the key phases of the project, the Clintons seemed to exercise little management control. At the same time, the records and interviews document several transactions that raise questions about the venture:.
Murdock-MN wife swapping was McDougal who in came up with the idea to cash in on the Sun Belt land boom by developing lots for vacation and retirement homes along the White River. The waterway is famous for its trout fishing and rafting. Similar developments were springing up in Florida, Georgia and Texas. McDougal had known Clinton since they had both worked for Sen.
William Fulbright, the powerful Arkansas Democrat, in the late s. McDougal had later made some successful property investments, including some for Fulbright. Clinton, meanwhile, had been elected attorney general and McDougal offered to help his friend build a financial future.
On Aug. The couples borrowed the entire purchase price from two small Arkansas banks. Slightly over a year later, they transferred the land to the newly formed Whitewater Development Co. Wade, a local real estate agent who served as the salesman for the project, said he was overseeing the surveying when Clinton asked him to pick out a prime location. Bruce Lindsey, a senior White House aide and longtime Clinton friend, says the President remembers it slightly differently: that someone suggested that land had been set aside for him.
Lot 7 was Murdock-MN wife swapping acres high above the river. Tax stamps, which indicate the sales price in a real estate transaction, show that Whitewater sold Lot 7 to Wade on Oct. The following day, Wade sold the property to a Houston doctor, M. Bronstad said he paid cash for the lot. Why would the Clinton-McDougal development, later to be characterized as a money-losing venture, virtually give away a choice property?
Wade says Whitewater was not shortchanged. To stimulate sales in latethe Whitewater partners decided to put a model home on one of the lots. Lindsey said McDougal asked the Clintons to come up with the money for the house because the McDougals had already paid for subdivision improvements. On Dec. The mortgage loan was made by the Bank of Kingston, a tiny institution in distant Madison County, Ark. Whitewater Development could not borrow the money because its only asset--the White River land--was already pledged as collateral for the current loans.
This also helped sidestep any possible questions about a federally insured institution--the Bank of Kingston--lending money to the personal ventures of one of its owners, McDougal. The prices were not high, but land was moving and revenue was generated to help pay the loans.
Many early buyers were middle-class people looking for inexpensive retirement or vacation property. Most early lots were purchased on installment contracts. Whitewater used the revenue to make payments on its loans, and the deeds were retained by the banks.
Nearly half of the 44 lots were sold in the first two years, but no sales were recorded in Land records show that from throughonly two additional lots were sold. Gary Fancher, a businessman in nearby Flippin, was trying to develop a smaller piece of property near Whitewater in the early s when he got caught in the same squeeze. The phenomenon was repeated across the Sun Belt as projects went bust or developers tried to hold on long enough for the economy to change. For the Clintons and McDougals, the dream of getting rich was replaced by a dream of getting out.
It was Wade who came to the rescue. Lindsey said McDougal later sold the Cessna and pocketed the proceeds as a commission for the sale to Wade and Webb. Others have questioned whether this transaction was related to other events occurring Murdock-MN wife swapping this period. Meanwhile, Hillary Clinton, on retainer as a lawyer for Madison Guaranty, successfully petitioned the Clinton-appointed state securities commissioner to approve a recapitalization plan for the institution, which was weakened by bad loans.
The White House has asserted that the matters were unrelated, and the commissioner, Beverly Bassett Schaffer, has said she showed no favoritism. But critics have expressed doubts. Through it all, Whitewater continued to be a financial headache. Although the lots had been sold, the Clintons and McDougals were still obligated to make the payments on the original purchase loans.
Lyons, a Denver lawyer who examined the Whitewater transactions for the Clintons. Whitewater continued to be a financial problem for the Clintons into the late s. Occasionally, property buyers defaulted on their purchases and the lots were returned to the development company for resale. His marriage had broken up, and his wife had moved to Los Angeles. Clinton and asked her to see about getting a power of attorney to approve the sales. On Nov. Lindsey said McDougal never returned a ed power of attorney. The transaction was handled by Foster. McDougal said last fall that Whitewater was his first money-losing venture in real estate, and he regretted the losses sustained by the Clintons.
But today there is little to show for the development. A handful of mobile homes and fishing shacks are scattered across the largely undeveloped land, along with a couple of homes. All Sections.
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Clinton Land Dream Turns Into Political Nightmare : Inquiry: The Arkansas investment was a basic get-rich idea gone bad. But ties to banker weave a complex web.