By Editorial Staff
Published May 2, 2008
- or –
How to make $2 million developing a worthless tract of land without selling one square foot of it
By Nicholas A. Guarino
When the media folk told you about Whitewater, they left out a few amusing details. So in a spirit of altruistic service and public education, I’m going to let you in on the secrets. Pay attention, because you’ve never heard this before.
A. Real estate developing is more fun when you can borrow all your capital without having to pay it back … or even sell any land. So to get started, you need two friends: one an appraiser, one a banker.
B. Next, you find some dirt-cheap dirt. Anywhere in the boondocks will do. In the Whitewater case, it was 230 acres of land along the White River for about $90,000. (Some housing tract! It was fifty miles to the nearest grocery store.)
C. Then you get your appraiser friend to do a bloated appraisal. Hey, what are friends for? Let’s say he pegs it at $150,000.
D. You go to the bank and get the usual 80% loan (e.g., 80% of $150,000 with the land as collateral). You now have $120,000, so you pay off the land ($90,000), and you still have $30,000 in your pocket. You’re on a roll.
E. You pay $5,000 to subdivide it and bulldoze in a few roads. (Or if you know the ropes, you get the state to do it, as Bill did to get a $150,000, two-mile access road.)
F. Voila! You now are the proud owner of a partly-developed luxury estate community. So you call up your appraiser friend again, and he re-evaluates it at a cool $400,000.
G. You hustle back to the bank (run by your friend McDougal) and get a new 80% loan based on the new value. (Nothing out of line so far. An 80% loan is standard, right?)
H. You draw up plans for some fine houses (which will never be built.)
I. You get a new appraisal.
J. You get a new loan.
K. You make two or three phony homesite sales to friends. You shuffle the funds around among your shell corporations and bounce it back to your friends – plus a little extra for their help.
L. You get a new appraisal.
M. You get a new loan.
N. You do a “land flip,” selling the whole thing to Company X for $800,000, which sells it to Company Y for a million, which sells it back to you for $1.25 million. (All these companies are your friends.) And yes, this kind of thing did happen in Whitewater and Madison. In fact, Whitewater figures David Hale and Dean Paul once flipped Castle Grande back and forth from $200,000 to $825,000 in one day!
O. You get a new appraisal.
P. You get a new loan.
Q. Finally, your development corporation declares bankruptcy, and the bank has to eat your loans because the money is all gone, and since the record-keeping is so poor, nobody knows where it went.
But weep not for the bankers. You pay them nicely – perhaps a third of the $2 to $3 million you skim off. Weep for the taxpayer who bails out their banks. Which is to say, in the case of Whitewater, weep for yourself.
Does This Actually Work?
Whitewater was just the first of a series, like a pilot for a sitcom. Using Whitewater as a prop, Bill and his partner Jim McDougal milked – by my rough estimate – several million dollars from the SBA (Small Business Administration) and at least five or six banks and S&Ls, starting with the Bank of Kingston.
But their later ventures, bringing in Steve Smith and now-Gov. Jim Guy Tucker, did even better. Campobello started with about $150,000 in property and squeezed over $4 million in loans from banks in about two years. Castle Grande began with $75,000 worth of swamp land and cleared over $3 million. It never built anything. The only human artifacts on it today are a few old refrigerators and mattresses.
Why do I have information you haven’t seen before? Because my firm had $10 million in Madison Guaranty S&L, and I was thinking of buying the Bank of Kingston. (I was already worth millions by that time.) When I saw Kingston’s financial statement, however, I ran like a scalded cat.
And Madison was worse. You didn’t have to be a Philadelphia CPA to spot their money laundering, dead real estate liabilities proudly listed as assets, huge amounts of 24-hour deposits from brokers, and $17 million in insider loans. It was a nightmare.
Whitewater Development Corp. had at least an appearance of sincerity. It even had TV commercials, starring Jim McDougal’s striking young wife, Susan, in hot pants, riding a horse. Another one showed her behind the wheel of Bill’s restored ’67 Mustang.
But after Whitewater, the deals began dropping their frills. The RTC criminal referral that Bill suppressed during his presidential campaign cites such later corporations as Tucker-Smith-McDougal, Smith-Tucker-McDougal, and Smith-McDougal. Catchy, eh? If it were me, I would have called them Son of Whitewater, Whitewatergate, and Whitewater & Ponzi, L.P.
On their 1979 income tax, Hillary valued Bill’s used undershorts – donated to charity at the end of their action-studded tour of duty – at two dollars a pair. Plainly, we are dealing here with a couple that gives loving attention to detail in matters of deductions.
As you may recall, however, Clinton has proclaimed over and over that he simply “forgot” to deduct the $68,900 he claims he lost on Whitewater. Commentators have been mystified by the paradox. But it’s no mystery to me. The reason is obvious: Bill didn’t deduct the $68,900 because he didn’t lose a dime on Whitewater, and he didn’t want to do time for tax fraud. Period.
Jim McDougal put up all the money except for $500 – and Bill borrowed even that. But weep not for Jim. Not only was he Bill’s partner in Whitewater, but he owned Madison Guaranty S&L, which was the designated milk cow that provided most of the inflated loans. Weep instead for the taxpayers – like you and me -who picked up the $66 million tab when Madison folded.
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Who is the Real Jesus?
Ever since the dawn of modern rationalism, skeptics have sought to use textual criticism, archeology and historical reconstructions to uncover the “historical Jesus” — a wise teacher who said many wonderful things, but fulfilled no prophecies, performed no miracles and certainly did not rise from the dead in triumph over sin.
Over the past 100 years, however, startling discoveries in biblical archeology and scholarship have all but vanquished the faulty assumptions of these doubting modernists. Regrettably, these discoveries have often been ignored by the skeptics as well as by the popular media. As a result, the liberal view still holds sway in universities and impacts the culture and even much of the church.
The Real Jesus explodes the myths of these critics and the movies, books and television programs that have popularized their views. Presented in ten parts — perfect for individual, family and classroom study — viewers will be challenged to go deeper in their knowledge of Christ in order to be able to defend their faith and present the truth to a skeptical modern world – that the Jesus of the Gospels is the Jesus of history — “the same yesterday, today and forever” (Hebrews 13:8). He is the real Jesus.
Speakers include: George Grant, Ted Baehr, Stephen Mansfield, Raymond Ortlund, Phil Kayser, David Lutzweiler, Jay Grimstead, J.P. Holding, and Eric Holmberg.
Ten parts, over two hours of instruction!
Running Time: 130 minutes
$19.95 — ORDER NOW!(We accept all major credit cards and PayPal.)
Download the free Study Guide!
Is there a connection between pagan religion and the abortion industry?
This powerful presentation traces the biblical roots of child sacrifice and then delves into the social, political and cultural fall-out that this sin against God and crime against humanity has produced in our beleaguered society.
Conceived as a sequel and update to the 1988 classic, The Massacre of Innocence, the new title, The Abortion Matrix, is entirely fitting. It not only references abortion’s specific target – the sacred matrix where human beings are formed in the womb in the very image of God, but it also implies the existence of a conspiracy, a matrix of seemingly disparate forces that are driving this holocaust.
The occult activity surrounding the abortion industry is exposed with numerous examples. But are these just aberrations, bizarre yet anomalous examples of abortionists who just happen to have ties to modern day witchcraft? Or is this representative of something deeper, more sinister and even endemic to the entire abortion movement?
As the allusion to the film of over a decade ago suggests, the viewer may learn that things are not always as they appear to be. The Abortion Matrix reveals the reality of child-killing and strikes the proper moral chord to move hearts to fulfill the biblical responsibility to rescue those unjustly sentenced to death and to speak for those who cannot speak for themselves (Proverbs 24:11,12; 31:8,9).
Speakers include: George Grant, Peter Hammond, RC Sproul Jr., Paul Jehle, Lou Engle, Rusty Thomas, Flip Benham, Janet Porter and many more.
Ten parts, over three hours of instruction!
Running Time: 195 minutes
$19.95 — ORDER NOW!(We accept all major credit cards and PayPal.)
Who is the dreaded beast of Revelation?
Now at last, a plausible candidate for this personification of evil incarnate has been identified (or re-identified). Ken Gentry’s insightful analysis of scripture and history is likely to revolutionize your understanding of the book of Revelation — and even more importantly — amplify and energize your entire Christian worldview!
Historical footage and other graphics are used to illustrate the lecture Dr. Gentry presented at the 1999 Ligonier Conference in Orlando, Florida. It is followed by a one-hour question and answer session addressing the key concerns and objections typically raised in response to his position. This presentation also features an introduction that touches on not only the confusion and controversy surrounding this issue — but just why it may well be one of the most significant issues facing the Church today.
Ideal for group meetings, personal Bible study — for anyone who wants to understand the historical context of John’s famous letter “… to the seven churches which are in Asia.” (Revelation 1:4)
Running Time: 145 minutes
$17.95 — ORDER NOW!(We accept all major credit cards and PayPal.)
Download the Free Study Guide!
God’s Law and Society powerfully presents a comprehensive worldview based upon the ethical system found in the Law of God.
Speakers include: R.J. Rushdoony, George Grant, Howard Phillips, R.C. Sproul Jr., Ken Gentry, Gary DeMar, Jay Grimstead, Steven Schlissel, Andrew Sandlin, Eric Holmberg, and more!
Sixteen Christian leaders and scholars answer some of the most common questions and misconceptions related to this volatile issue:
1. Are we under Law or under Grace?
2. Does the Old Testament Law apply today?
3. Can we legislate morality?
4. What are the biblical foundations of government?
5. Was America founded as a Christian nation?
6. What about the separation of Church and State?
7. Is neutrality a myth?
8. What about non-Christians and the Law of God?
9. Would there be “freedom” in a Christian republic?
10. What would a “Christian America” look like?
Perfect for group instruction as well as personal Bible study.
Ten parts, over four hours of instruction!
Running Time: 240 minutes
Watch over 60 on-line video interviews from God’s Law and Society.
$19.95 — ORDER NOW!(We accept all major credit cards and PayPal.)
“Give me liberty or give me death!”
Patrick Henry’s famous declaration not only helped launch the War for Independence, it also perfectly summarized the mindset that gave birth to, and sustained, the unprecedented experiment in Christian liberty that was America.
The freedom our Founders envisioned was not freedom from suffering, want, or hard work. Nor was it freedom to indulge every appetite or whim without restraint—that would merely be servitude to a different master. No, the Founders’ passion was to live free before God, unfettered by the chains of autocracy, shackles that slowly but inexorably bind men when the governments they fashion fail to recognize and uphold freedom’s singular, foundational truth: that all men are created in the image of God, and are thereby co-equally endowed with the right to “life, liberty, and the pursuit of happiness.”
This presentation is a similar call, not to one but many. By reintroducing the principles of freedom that gave birth to America, it is our prayer that Jesus, the true and only ruler over the nations, will once again be our acknowledged Sovereign, that we may again know and exult in the great truth that “where the Spirit of the LORD is, there is liberty” (2 Cor. 3:17).
Welcome to the Second American Revolution!
This DVD features “Liberty: The Model of Christian Liberty” along with “Dawn’s Early Light: A Brief History of America’s Christian Foundations.” Bonus features include a humorous but instructive collection of campaign ads and Eric Holmberg’s controversial YouTube challenge concerning Mitt Romney’s campaign for president.
$14.95 — ORDER NOW!(We accept all major credit cards and PayPal.)