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Pinnacle Bank--All the Usual Suspects

by J. Orlin Grabbe


The Directors of, and investors in, a proposed Little Rock bank, to be called Pinnacle Bank, form a rogues gallery. Pinnacle has applied for an Arkansas state banking charter (Arkansas Democrat-Gazette, September 10, 1996).

There's James Blair, the Tyson Foods attorney who helped make $100,000 for Hillary Clinton in the market for cattle futures. (Most of her profits were made by going short, a little detail Hillary seemed unaware of when her "this-was-not-a-bribe" PR hacks talked of riding the upward wave of cattle prices.)

There's Bill Cravens, former chief executive of Worthen Bank (once part of Jackson's Stephens money laundering empire) and now chairman of Alltel Information Services--otherwise known as Systematics, a Little Rock supplier of banking software replete with security holes (and operational back office manager of Jackson Stephen's national laundry).

There is Rick Massey, a partner in the Rose Law Firm, which represented Systematics in the BCCI takeover of Washington-based First American Bank. Some of Rose's former senior partners are either dead (Vince Foster), in prison (Web Hubbell), or facing indictment in short order (Hillary Clinton).

There's Joe Ford, Chairman of Alltel Corp., the Arkansas phone company, whose advertising revenue provided to Forbes helped get Jim Norman, author of "Fostergate", fired from that magazine.

There's David Knight, general counsel for Stephens Inc., the largest investment bank outside Wall Street, and one whose one-man futures trading operation, John Markle, used three different handguns (they said) to kill his wife, his two young daughters, and then himself after he lost his job on Friday the 13th (Nov. 1987) for putting profitable trades in an out-of-state brokerage account and sticking Stephens with the unprofitable ones.

Stephens Inc. was once so desperate for foreign business, they set up a joint venture with the Indonesian banker Mochtar Riady to write letters of credit in Hong Kong (the center for heroin trade), and placed Stephens Link computer terminals in Panama (then the center for cocaine trade).

And, to round out the Jackson Stephens family picture, there is W. R. "Witt" Stephens Jr., senior vice president at Stephens Group Inc., who might have helped Jackson remove those two bodies wrapped in barbed wire which recently showed up on his lawn.

"We think its a real opportunity for us," said Bob Althoff, the president and chairman of the new bank-to-be.

Bill Clinton may be going down the tubes. But it just goes to show you that the usual suspects still plan to conduct business as usual.

September 11, 1996
Web Page: http://www.aci.net/kalliste/