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who ran the Jersey trusts. Walters’ wife received at least one $80,000 check from a Jersey trust. Walters’ lawyer says his client was on Jersey for social visits, and that the money was payment for a car. FDIC officials are still trying to crack those trusts and find the money, and are complaining that the Justice Department isn’t cooperating. One of the Jersey trusts was also used to hide money from the Florida loan that wiped out Corson’s Vision Banc. Corson was awaiting trial on fraud charges in the case at the time of his death. His friend Adkinson, who had been represented in his dealings by Lawrence Freeman, Helliwell’s former law partner, has already been convicted on six counts of conspiracy and fraud in it. This is what happened in the Florida transaction: Adkinson’s company bought 21,000 beachfront acres on the Florida panhandle from St. Joe Paper Co., owned by a du Pont family foundation. The property was then traded back and forth among sham corporations to inflate its value,with the help of ever-increasing loans from friendly S&Ls. Eventually, the S&Ls had put up $100 million, making it the most expensive purchase of raw land in Florida history. \(The previous record was the purchase of the Disney World property, which was handled for money seems impossible to find out. The loans, of course, were never repaid and all of the S&Ls involved failed. Records do make clear that the du Ponts’ St. Joe Paper got $86 million cash and then, by foreclosing a mortgage, reclaimed the most valuable beachfront land before the FDIC could get to it. Brewton was quick to check how St. Joe spent this money, which effectively came from the American taxpayer. Supposedly, the du Pont trust that owns St. Joe Paper operates the company for the benefit of a charity the Nemours Foundation that runs homes for disabled children. But Brewton found that practically none of the money from the Florida land sale was passed on for the benefit of the children. Most of it was spent instead on more plants and equipment for St. Joe Paper and the purchase of securities. Millions of dollars from the land sale were sent to a trust on the Isle of Jersey after being laundered through the West Belt bank in Houston, which represented the trust in the U.S. West Belt had been started by Adkinson and a few other people, including Trine Starnes, the major borrower from Neil Bush’s savingsand-loan and, like Adkinson, one of five Americans Brewton could find who beat the S&L system for more than $200 million. The lawyer who helped set up West Belt, including getting government approvals, was Robert Clarke, the Houstonian whom James Baker and George Bush appointed to be U.S. Comptroller of the Currency. Circles, spiraling into other circles, but all within a seemingly closed universe. What had become clear to Brewton is that a group of privileged insiders had looted the U.S. Treasury of 18 DECEMBER 11, 1992 many billions of dollars, and that these people were George Bush’s friends, or their friends. So powerful were these people that when Brewton went to publish his articles in the Houston Post, he ran into problems both from his editors and from the Post’s big, prestigious law firm, Fulbright & Jaworski. Newspapers normally show sensitive stories to libel lawyers in advance of publication and the lawyers the good ones, anyway advise on how to get the facts across without dangerous overstatement or gratuitous pejoratives that can’t be defended on grounds of accuracy. What Brewton has come to question in this case, however, is the choice of lawyers. Only months after his expurgated articles were published did he learn that Fulbright & Jaworski had represented Palmer National Bank \(the one Bush campaign chairman Fred Malek helped funds for the CIA; County Judge Jon Lindsay \(whose glowing recommendation helped Corson Pulver \(the New York man who, among other things, sold the overpriced mortgages to Mainland Savings Fulbright & Jaworski particularly objected to Brewton’s reporting Fulbright & Jaworski was defending a lawsuit for Mischer at the very time Brewton was told it had no conflicts of interest. And Fulbright & Jaworski had itself at one time been represented by William Casey, before he took over the CIA. But more important than anything that might qualify in legal terms as a conflict of interest, Brewton found the intertwining friendships and daily business associations that so prominent a law firm would inevitably have with the city’s most prominent citizens. For example, the Fulbright & Jaworski partner who handled the Post’s work was a good friend and golfing companion of Mischer’s personal lawyer and close friend. And many of Fulbright & Jaworski’s clients had business and personal relationships with Mischer. \(The Fulbright & Jaworski partner says he can’t name clients publicly but that the firm has procedures for identifying conflicts of interest, and that its client in this case, the Houston Post, hasn’t complained; Brewton says he didn’t learn of the law firm’s other clients until after he left the Besides being a friend of the President of the United States, Mischer had been appointed to various state government agencies to various state government agencies by various governors, was chairman and largest stockholder of the third largest bank in Houston and regularly appeared on any list of the most powerful Texans; Brewton considered him the most powerful man in Houston. But the lawyers ruled that Mischer and some other matters should be soft-pedaled or not mentioned at all. Legal objections prolonged the editing process through the end of 1989 into 1990. The paper’s editors still wanted to make a splash with what was left of the story, and wound up accusing two generic entities, “the Mafia” and “the CIA,” of being behind the S&L scandal. Headlines on the first two stories read, “S&L probe has possible CIA links” and “Evidence finds CIA operatives may be implicated in failure of 22 S&Ls.” But documentation for these links was largely unsatisfying. There were anonymous quotes from such people as “one former CIA operative” and there were extensive attributed quotes from arms dealer Richard Brenneke, who is know to have made false as well as true statements about his dealings with the CIA. On top of that, the Post’s editor, David Burgin, was determined to play the story as Watergate had been played when Burgin was city editor of the Washington Star. Rather than publish everything Brewton had learned at once, he wanted the stories trickled out, hoping to spur an early Congressional investigation that would go hand in hand with the publication of further stories. When Congress didn’t oblige, the Post’s vague, irregularly spaced stories about the CIA and the savings-and-loan crisis just pro duced confusion. The struggle over what would be printed was still going on when Burgin who says he fought the lawyers and tried to get everything he could into the paper left the Post for another job. Brewton became the center of a minor public contretemps over whether mass news outlets should report about his work. He had his advocates mainly in the alternative press but the mainstream press, like Congress, said it couldn’t find the handle on Brewton’s stories. Brewton appeared on Donahue, signed a book contract with Simon & Schuster \(which quit the Post. Brewton had called me early in his work, since I had written about the institutions he now confronted the Mafia, the CIA, the President, and the savings-and-loan industry, though in my case not usually in the same sentence. Brewton complained that his editors wouldn’t let him print the essentials of the story. But he never confided in me what was being left out. This spring, after a long hiatus, he called me again, upset. Simon & Schuster wouldn’t publish the book, certainly not before the election. Brewton suspected a political fix. He sent me his 600-page manuscript, which I read. Hoping to resolve the impasse, I talked to the editor at Simon & Schuster, Alice Mayhew, whom I knew and admired. She convinced me she was rejecting the book solely because she thought it was hard reading and wouldn’t sell. My entreaties that it was maybe the best job of reporting I had ever seen, and that the information it contained was vital, didn’t budge her. I went to Shapolsky, who I knew could get the book out quickly. He has. And I lined up journalistic treatment for the material, which you are now reading. This mass of land deals, stolen money, and cover-ups boils down to a sense, not just of greed or fiendish conspiracies, but of arrogance, held by a class of people that seems to be accountable to no one. And George Bush, while not part of the stealing, is part of the reason they are not accountable.