APRIL 5, 1991 $1.50 A JOURNAL OF FREE VOICES : . “”,.; , . The S&L BailOut -#”” : PaAT \(9/710. MATT WUERKER Spookbuster Pete Brewton Tells All HOUSTON POST investigative reporter Pete Brewton, the journalist who lifted the lid on the CIA-Mob-S&L connection, recently discussed his findings with Observer editor David Armstrong. The following is an edited transcript of that interview. Armstrong: How did you first begin writing about S&Ls? Brewton: One of our business writers, Greg Seay, got a tip, an anonymous tip from someone who told him to take a look at Mainland Savings and a man named Howard Pulvar. And so Greg went down to the courthouse and started looking at the deed records and there were hundreds of thousands of pages on Mainland doing deals with Howard Pulver and his associates. And so Greg started saying: “Help! This is overwhelming.” And I guess the business editor went to the city editor and said can you give us some help. The city editor at time was Tom Nelson and he came to me and asked me if I would just help Greg look at the records. So I went with Greg down to the courthouse and we started looking at the records. They were incredible records. Mainland paid out over a $100 million to these apartment syndicators from Long Island, New York. And so we wrote a big story about that. Just these deals how See Brewton page 15 SPECIAL FINANCE ISSUE The Great S&L Robbery The 561 Crisis UST OVER A YEAR AGO, Houston Post investigative reporter Pete Brewton exposed an explosive new angle to the savings and loan scandal. In a front page article dated February 4, 1990, Brewton declared that “During an eight-month investigation into the role of fraud in the nation’s savings and loans crisis, the Post has found evidence suggesting a possible link between the Central Intelligence Agency and organized crime in the failure of at least 22 thrifts, including 16 in Texas.” Moreover, Brewton reported, “the m may, have used part of the proceeds from S&L fraud to help pay for covert operations and other activities that Congress was unwilling to support publicly.” That story, and subsequent follow-ups. set off a controversy that has not died down since. Congress, the CIA, and federal law enforcement officials have devoted enormous energy and resources to efforts aimed at discrediting Brewton’s thesis. Corporate media, taking their cue from Washington and East Coast power brokers in typical lapdog fashion, have almost entirely failed to pursue Brewton’s lead. Several more adventurous media groups, however, have rallied to Brewton’s side. Earlier this year, Brewton’s Post series was named among the 10 most underreported stories of 1990 by Project Censored, a 16 year-old media monitoring group in. Northern California. In March, Brewton received the PEN Center USA West Literary Award in Journalism. He is currently working on a book for Simon and Schuster that is due out in the fall. Henry Ford once remarked that if people really understood the banking system, they’d riot in the streets. Given what Pete Brewton knows about the S&L crisis, that notion may be more applicable today than ever before. D.A.