The Crimes of Mena:

Worthen Bank

Excerpts from:

February 5, 1992

"Wealthy Investment Family a Big Help to Clinton"
by Jeff Gerth

LITTLE ROCK, Ark. -- Two days before Bill Clinton's bitterly contested 
re-election in 1990, the Arkansas Governor grew concerned that his 
campaign was slipping.  He placed calls to members of an influential 
Arkansas business group, asking them to raise $50,000for his campaign, 
according to people involved in the effort.

"He was somewhat in a panic," recalled Warren A. Stephens, one of 
those contacted by the Governor.

Mr. Stephens is president and chief executive officer of Stephens Inc., 
the investment banking flagship of the Stephens family empire, which 
has vast holdings in natural gas, finance and real estate.  Published 
estimates of the family's wealth put it well over $1 billion.

Mr. Stephens and his associates quickly agreed to raise the money, 
providing the pledges that helped Mr. Clinton get $50,000 from a 
bank the next day.  The money was used for last-minute television 
advertisements.  Thus began an important financial alliance that has
helped drive Mr. Clinton's campaign for the Democratic Presidential 

The Stephens and their associates have raised more than $100,000 for 
Mr. Clinton's Presidential campaign so far, soliciting donations 
from scores of business associates and friends who each contributed 
up to $1,000, the maximum allowed under Federal laws.

Among these Stephens associates is Curt Bradbury, a former employee 
of Stephens Inc., who is now the chief executive of Worthen National 
Bank of Arkansas and its parent, the Worthen Banking Corporation, in 
which the Stephens family own a 38 percent interest. Last month, the 
Worthen National Bank approved a credit line that allows the Clinton
campaign to borrow up to $2 million.

The Stephens group's investment firm is one of the nation's largest.  
Arkansas state auditors have criticized some of its financial dealings 
with the state, and some critics have complained that the Governor 
has allowed the Stephenses to exercise too much influence over state 

-- Ties to Republicans --

In the 1980's, there were few visible financial ties between Governor 
Clinton and the Stephens family.  The Stephenses seemed more closely 
aligned with the Republicans. Stephens Inc. and its chairman, Jackson 
T. (Jack) Stephens, donated $100,000 to the national Republican Party 
both in 1988 and 1991.

But beginning in 1990, the Stephenses started paying closer attention 
to the Democratic Governor.  Mr. Clinton's Republican opponent that 
year was a critic of the Stephenses who wanted to reduce their financial 
dealings and their general influence in the state.

"I would have brought all this to a halt, the free ride in Arkansas, 
doing what they wanted with the blessing of the Governor," the losing 
candidate, Sheffield Nelson, said in an interview.  Mr. Nelson is a 
Little Rock lawyer.

The state auditor, Julia Hughes Jones, opposed two state pension fund 
investments that Stephens Inc., arranged in 1987 and 1988, noting that 
Stephens had represented both the bond issuers and the bond purchasers.

In an interview, Mrs. Jones, who is an elected official, said she 
believed the Stephenses should have given the pension fund more 
information about what it was doing.  She added that outside advisors 
should have been brought in.  And she complained that the Stephenses' 
fees were excessive, though Mrs. Jones did support subsequent deals 
after Stephens lowered its fees.

Warren Stephens defended the state pension investment deals, saying 
their "record has been outstanding."

The trustees of the pension funds, most of them appointed by Mr. 
Clinton, did agree to the investments, and Mr. Clinton also gave approval.

Interesting to see this in the TIMES, especially back then.  On the other 
hand, the TIMES reported the Whitewater land deal not long after.

So what does this have to do with Gennifer Flowers?  The $2 million loan 
to Clinton from Worthen National came one week after Ms. Flowers publicly 
discussed her intimate relationship with the Governor.  The money paid for a 
television ad blitz that saved Clinton' campaign.  And the rest is history.

Also note, it is illegal for a securities firm, like Stephens Inc., to 
own a bank, like Worthen National. The Stephens convinced regulators to 
circumvent the law by changing Worthen's charter from federal to state.

Jackson Stephens loves a good bank deal.  He assisted the Bank of Credit 
and Commerce International (BCCI) in its initial attempts to buy an American 
bank, something the Fed did not approve of.  BCCI, of course, succeeded in 
buying First American Bankshares.

Jackson Stephens also helped arrange a loan for George Bush, Jr. from a 
BCCI affiliate in Switzerland so he could buy a chunk of Harken Energy.


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