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.
Forerunner - Home » Pass The Word » Pass The Word - March/April 1996
Your comments are welcome!
Download the Free Study Guide!
Just what is Calvinism?
Does this teaching make man a deterministic robot and God the author of sin? What about free will? If the church accepts Calvinism, won’t evangelism be stifled, perhaps even extinguished? How can we balance God’s sovereignty and man’s responsibility? What are the differences between historic Calvinism and hyper-Calvinism? Why did men like Augustine, Luther, Calvin, Spurgeon, Whitefield, Edwards and a host of renowned Protestant evangelists embrace the teaching of predestination and election and deny free will theology?
This is the first video documentary that answers these and other related questions. Hosted by Eric Holmberg, this fascinating three-part, four-hour presentation is detailed enough so as to not gloss over the controversy. At the same time, it is broken up into ten “Sunday-school-sized” sections to make the rich content manageable and accessible for the average viewer.
Running Time: 257 minutes
$19.95 — ORDER NOW!(We accept all major credit cards and PayPal.)
Special Two-Disc Set!
After 40 years of intense study and world-wide ministry, Dr. Francis Schaeffer completed his crowning work of scholarship – to present profound truths in simple film language. Dr. Schaeffer’s brilliant analysis of the past and predictions for current trends have proven so uncannily accurate that this amazing series still feels contemporary almost three decades after its initial release. Ultimately, Schaeffer concludes that man’s only hope is a return to God’s Biblical absolute, the truth revealed in Christ through the Scriptures.
Available for the first time on DVD, this documentary spectacular also includes intimate in-depth conversations with Francis and Edith Schaeffer. With the on-disc study guide, this presentation forms a unique course of comprehensive study. While this series forms an innovative analysis of the past, this outstanding work is more than history. Each episode focuses on a significant era, yet speaks clearly to 21st-century man with answers for modern problems.
$49.95 — ORDER NOW!(We accept all major credit cards and PayPal.)
“Here I stand … I can do no other!”
With these immortal words, an unknown German monk sparked a spiritual revolution that changed the world.
The dramatic classic film of Martin Luther’s life was released in theaters worldwide in the 1950s and was nominated for two Oscars. A magnificent depiction of Luther and the forces at work in the surrounding society that resulted in his historic reform efforts, this film traces Luther’s life from a guilt-burdened monk to his eventual break with the Roman Catholic Church.
Running time: 105 minutes
Special offer: Order 5 or more for $5 each.
Watch a clip from Martin Luther.
$9.95 — ORDER NOW!(We accept all major credit cards and PayPal.)
What is true Revival and Spiritual Awakening?
Discover the answer in this eyewitness account by Dennis Kinlaw, President of Asbury College, Wilmore, Kentucky, who recounts the story of a visitation of the Holy Spirit in 1970. This is the presentation that has continued to spark the flames of Revival in the hearts of people around the world. Contains eyewitness footage from the Revival at Asbury College in 1970 in Wilmore, Kentucky.
Certain to challenge you to greater holiness and a deeper commitment to full-scale revival. Original news and private footage has been included. If you are a student who longs to see a spiritual awakening at your school, you must see this video!
“This simple video does a wonderful job of conveying something of God’s heart and power, Everyone we have ever shown this to has received an immediate impartation of faith for revival and the power of prayer.”
— Bob and Rose Weiner, Weiner Ministries Int’l
Running Time: 40 minutes
$19.95 — ORDER NOW!(We accept all major credit cards and PayPal.)
High Quality Paperback — 40 pages of dynamite!
Revival, Resistance, Reformation, Revolution
An Introduction to the Doctrines of Interposition and Nullification
In 1776, a short time after the Declaration of Independence was adopted, Thomas Jefferson, John Adams and Benjamin Franklin were assigned to design an official seal for the United States of America. Their proposed motto was Rebellion to Tyrants is Obedience to God. America owes its existence to centuries of Christian political philosophy. Our nation provided a model for liberty copied by nations the world over.
By the 21st century, we need a “Puritan Storm” to sweep away the Hegelian notion that the state is “God walking on earth.” We need revival and reformation in full force to vanquish the problems that plague us as a nation — from government controlled healthcare — to abortion on demand — to same sex “marriage.” This booklet gives a primer on our founders’ Christian idea of government and examines how the doctrine of nullification was woven into the Constitution as a safeguard against federal tyranny. It concludes with the history and theology of civil resistance. A Second American Revolution is coming with the Word of God growing mightily and prevailing! (Acts 19:20).
$7.95 — ORDER NOW!(We accept all major credit cards and PayPal.)