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His sawmills? Yes. He said first they were paper mills. The second time I interviewed him I started pressing him on it, asking about where he got he money, and he said he had owned just one sawmill. But he originally told me two paper mills. This was on the eve of the CIA overthrow of He bought in 1952. And then he sold out in 1954-55 to Clint Murchison Jr. And Murchison Jr., of course, had CIA connections. Documented, on-the-record CIA connections. The timing is really very interesting. Because ’52 is when they started really planning the coup, the CIA and other groups started planning the coup. And of course in ’54 he gets out. After the coup he sells to a guy with connections to the CIA. So folding all that in together, you’ve got a really interesting nexus of circumstances, in addition to the statements of Richard Brenneke and Will Northrop, in reference to the CIA. You mention, I think in your book, that you kept running into these walls, which led you to believe that there was CIA involvement. CIA and government and very powerful people. I mean this wasn’t this wasn’t a scandal that was basically done by the wheelerdealer types like Don Dixon. That just wasn’t it. Because Don Dixon didn’t have the power to erect all these barriers. Only someone with connections to the government could erect all these barriers the kind of barriers we were running into. So when you’ve got government involvement, you’ve got a big story. Part of your thesis, or a central thesis of the book, is that some people in government recognized that the S&Ls were not going to function as they had because of the market and interest rates and because of what they were invested in and decided to take advantage of the situation. Right, I think they busted them out. They saw that they couldn’t make it. And it is interesting to note that they were wrong. Because the S&Ls that stayed in the traditional home mortgage lending made it. They made it through. Now we’ve got real low inflation and they’re doing wonders if they’ve got home mortgage loans. It was like a business cycle and the industry and Congress over-reacted and said, ‘Let’s just let them do anything they want to.’ Once they did that, the crooks knew they could come in and take advantage of it. How much do you suspect that people set out to sack these institutions had to do with shaping public policy to their advantage? , Well that’s a good question and a big question that I can’t answer. You’d haye to go back to Fernand St. Germain, Jake Garn and Ronald Reagan and George Bush. Did they know that they were setting the stage for S&Ls to get looted? I don’t know. I don’t think we’ll ever know the answer to that. They could deny it and hoW would you prove otherwise. All we do know is that they were looted and that the legislation and the action of government allowed it. When we start tying people in to looting them, they connect back to the very people who were deregulating the S&Ls. That’s a good indication…. But we do know that mobster Mario Renda, who was responsible for the failure of a number of S&Ls by brokering hot deposits into S&Ls, had been following the Garn-St. Germain deregulation bill through Congress. Waiting, like an Oklahoma Sooner. Waiting for the bell to go off. Vice President, or then-Vice President Bush, certainly knew what he was doing when he called in a regulator in one chapter in your book you recount how Bush called a regulator in and told this woman she had to stop this investigation at Sunrise, I think Savings, yeah. But we’ve got some new information on that. The Sunrise CEO has told two different stories on that. In one story he told everybody that he met with Bush, in another story he said he met with Bush’s top aides. This is information that has come out after the book was published. But we’ve got additional information that shows that after the meeting, with either Bush or his top aides, that the federal regulators stopped a very tough regulation action BILL LEISSNER Lloyd Bentsen against Sunrise and replaced it with a very weak one. And the government, a congressional committee, found that this action cost the taxpayers hundreds of millions of dollars in additional losses. The question then becomes ‘Why Sunrise Savings?’ Why did this guy go to Bush’s office to try to get the regulators off? You look at the people who were looting Sunrise and you’ve got mobsters, CIA people. You find a Houston guy … who at that time was involved in trans-shipping arms to Iran and Iraq. And one of the top regulators involved in this meeting in Bush’s office was Anne Fairbanks, whose husband, Richard Fairbanks, was a State Department employee at that time in charge of Operation Staunch, to keep arms out of Iran. And he was pushing for Iraq at that time, In fact, he quit in 1985 and went to work for Iraq as one of their top lawyers and lobbyists in Washington and worked for them until they invaded Kuwait. But here we have his wife intervening to help Sunrise, which was lending over $50 million who was involved in arms in Iraq…. And Robert Corson was using, Robert Corson the CIA contract agent, was using his [the Houston man shipping arms to Iran and Iraq] plane to make money laundering trips to Latin America. Now, Corson was a son-in-law at one time of Walter Mischer. And I think that what you write about him in your book, about him acquiring Vision Bank, or Kleberg Savings and Loan, is about as good a case as can be made against deregulation. Because if there was ever anyone who wasn’ t a candidate to own a financial institution that was underwritten by the federal government, it was Corson. Could you elaborate on that? Well, Corson was, I’d say, just a two-bit developer. He did strip shopping centers and day-care homes. And he was basically being controlled by his mother, who is a very strong-willed individual. They all eventually, of course, got indicted. Corson is now dead. He’s dead? About three weeks ago he was found dead in a motel room in El Paso. The El Paso M.E.’s [medical examiner] office is saying it looks like suicide; they found some empty pill bottles around his body. But he wasscheduled to go on trial in Houston next week [late November] and he had, he was turning state’s evidence. And then he shows up dead under very suspicious circumstances. Anyway, back to when he bought Kleberg County Savings and Loan. He got help from, he threw Walter Mischer’s name around a lot with the regulators. He got a letter of recommendation from Harris County Judge Jon Lindsay. His application to buy Kleberg County Savings and Loan got approved in record time by the state and the Feds, when he never had any experience with financial institutions, his mother had no experience, none of his employees had any experience. And of course, he proceeded to bust it out in a matter of months. Primarily through a $200 million Florida land deal. That was just an unbelievable thing. Somebody was working behind the scenes to push it through. You mention that this is a bipartisan scandal. But there doesn’t seem to be as much involvement by Bentsen except as a seller, or perhaps his intervening. Am I reading that correctly? There’s not as much direct involvement by Lloyd Bentsen as there is by George Bush. But there was some. And it’s not just Bentsen’s former ownership of S&Ls that end up in the hands of crooks. Bentsen, as the vice-presidential nominee, went to the Democratic campaign headquarters and told them not to bring up the S&Ls scandal. So the American public didn’t know about a severe problem until after the election. Silverado Savings was not shut down until after the ’88 election. But Bentsen is also part of this circle of Houston businessmen that George Bush is a part of and Walter Mischer is at the center of. Bentsen and Mischer are very close…. Jim Bath is a CIA agent who did business with Lloyd Bentsen’s son and George Bush’s son, they were doing deals with the CIA and borrowing money from savings and loans. And Bath , was selling some investments to Bentsen’s trust. You start looking at all these 16 DECEMBER 25, 1992