Skip to comments.CONGRESS: ROGER CLINTON IN SHAKEDOWN Report ties Clinton's brother to airport bid
Posted on 03/26/2002 5:06:19 PM PST by Liz
WASHINGTON A movement to build an international airport in Alabama fizzled in 1997 after a former Birmingham City Council member refused to hire President Clinton's half brother, a congressional panel concluded.
A 470-page report from a probe initiated after Clinton's last-minute pardons dedicates an entire section to what authors called "The Shakedown of John Katopodis."
In greater detail than previously released, the House Government Reform Committee describes how Katopodis alleges he was pressured to hire Roger Clinton for $35,000 a month in exchange for getting a cabinet secretary to attend a symposium on the airport idea.
After Katopodis ultimately declined to hire Roger Clinton, his overtures to then-Secretary of Transportation Rodney Slater were ignored, investigators said.
"Support for the airport and its promotional symposium lost all momentum because of the delay in receiving a response from the secretary," the report states.
Katopodis said Monday the local political enthusiasm for the airport was already wavering and his refusal to hire the president's younger brother may have been a factor in, but was not the sole cause of, the failure of his proposal.
"I don't think the Clinton administration's extortion attempts were very helpful to the whole process, but there were other factors as well," Katopodis said. "That wasn't it alone. I think they took some editorial license there."
Metropolitan-area leaders remain divided over whether a new, larger airport outside the city is needed or resources would be better spent expanding the current site. Katopodis said the idea of a new airport is not dead, and discussions continue behind the scenes.
Although the Katopodis section of the committee's report was largely overlooked nationally, the House investigators declared the airport scheme a harbinger of Roger Clinton's later attempts to "sell" pardons and paroles to convicted criminals.
"Moreover, Roger Clinton's lobbying efforts in these other areas would show no more subtlety than did his crude dealings with Katopodis," they wrote.
Efforts to reach Roger Clinton's attorney in Los Angeles for comment were unsuccessful.
The committee's probe was led by Rep. Dan Burton, R-Ind., and its report offered strong criticism of Clinton affiliates, mostly for dealings widely reported after the post-election pardons.
The report carries no legal weight, but a grand jury in New York continues to look at whether some of the pardons were illegal. A spokeswoman for the former president has said the report's conclusion that he encouraged his half-brother to use his presidency for personal financial gain was "simply false."
The section on Katopodis, a former member of the Birmingham City Council and the Jefferson County Commission, was based largely on interviews he gave the FBI in 1997. The report does not allege the law was broken in the Alabama-related case.
Katopodis, who was working as executive director of the Council of Cooperating Governments, said he was contacted in the fall of 1996 by an attorney from Arkansas who claimed connections to the Clinton administration and offered help to schedule the transportation chief for the conference. Katopodis told investigators he went to an election-night celebration with the man, Larry Wallace, where they discussed a contract for Roger Clinton.
Katopodis apparently considered the idea, but expressed reservations about possible "influence peddling" and complained he had never met the president's half brother.
Roger Clinton eventually contacted Katopodis by phone, he said, but a deal was not struck. A few minutes later, Wallace called him and "informed Katopodis that the airport project would remain at a standstill until Katopodis `showed him the money,'" the report states.
Katopodis' invitations to Transportation Secretary Slater continued to go unanswered, he told investigators. In May 1997, Katopodis faxed a note to Slater's scheduler that stated, "I can't begin to tell you how disgusted I am with this whole matter. If it is the normal policy of your office to not respond to written requests from established organizations, then perhaps I am wrong in my assumptions about the lack of response being tied to an attempt at extortion."
Katopodis also said his request to Rep. Earl Hilliard's office for assistance in scheduling Slater confirmed his suspicions.
Six days after the fax was sent to Slater's office, a staffer in Hilliard's office told Katopodis that he had "been bad again" and that he should stop incriminating Roger Clinton and Wallace, according to Katopodis.
Two days after that, the FBI contacted Katopodis. He had one meeting with investigators and two telephone interviews.
In a September 2001 interview with the House committee investigators, Katopodis said he recorded some of the phone conversations with Roger Clinton but could not locate the tapes and believed he may have given them to the FBI.
Don't panic. You're OK. It was reported previously. This is
the Congressional report on the incident, after their investigation.
Yeah, I did say that. Guess there's no cure for this pestilence.
The FBI? You mean the Federal Bureau of Incompetence.
Moanica, what are you doing under my seat?
Course it's illegal. But the Slime Brothers have a knack of slipping out of the grasp of the law.
Don't hold your breath. BTW, I like the graphic. Noticed Klintoon's "pin-up (barf) girl."
She looked like a fat cow because she is a fat cow.
How true. I just feel creepy all over thinking about that entire group of low class hoods. What disgusting people. I would not stay in a room with any of them, ever.
I sure would like to know more about the Wallace thug mentioned above, wonder if he was to Rodger what Bruce 'the arm' Lindsey was to Billy Klinton.
Extortion attempts and no indictments??????
Gubmint at it's best......
.....Clinton slime crimes seem to go unpunished......
Sure make your skin crawl, huh?
DemonRats'll vote for anything. The rest of the electorate?
Who knows? Gulled by the Klintoons I guess.
And look at Roger sitting there half-smiling... Bet he's thinking, "Man, how fast can I get another hit of coke without anyone noticing?"
You mean E. Bubba? Is that the disease you were referring to?
$35,000 A MONTH??? .. WHAT THE ........
Gee how many OTHER airport deals did the Clinton's make???
NO,and no, you are lyinAlgore!! right??
Ethics panel reprimands Hilliard
By Edward-Isaac Dovere
The House Committee on Standards of Official Conduct concluded its investigation into the alleged campaign finance abuses of Rep. Earl D. Hilliard (D-Ala.) last week, issuing a formal letter of reproval.
The committee deplored three separate actions, stating, in knowing violation of the Code of Official Conduct, you expended funds from your campaign account for purposes not attributable to bona fide campaign or political purposes and you converted campaign contributions for political use.
The violations included misappropriated salaries for non-campaign employees and payment of rent for members of Hilliards family.
The committees four-year inquiry was prompted by a series of articles in 1997 and 1998 in The Hill that analyzed the Federal Election Commission records of Hilliards first campaign alongside Hilliards business and personal ledgers.
The reprimand was the least severe penalty the committee could impose. It chose this form of rebuke because Hilliard admitted to what the committee called serious official misconduct that brought discredit to the House of Representatives. The panel said its decision was influenced by a recommendation from the House Investigations Subcommittee, which had been supervising the investigation.
The letter was signed by Reps. Joel Hefley (R-Colo.) and Howard Berman (D-Calif.), the chairman and ranking member. The 10-member committee, equally divided between Republicans and Democrats, manages all ethics inquiries into House members. It has the power to recommend a fine or even a members expulsion.
In 1992 Hilliard became the first African-American to represent Alabama in Congress since Reconstruction after serving 18 years in the Alabama state Legislature, He was reelected last year with 75 percent of the vote.
I am pleased that the four-year ethics committee investigation of my conduct has concluded, Hilliard said in a statement on Friday. I look forward to putting this investigation behind me and focusing my attention on the needs of my district and serving my constituents.
Friend of Clinton Aides Offered Help to Milosevic Politics: Businessman secretly said he could act as contact between Serb leader, White House, officials say.
By JAMES RISEN, Times Staff Writer
WASHINGTON--A Little Rock, Ark., attorney and international businessman with close ties to senior advisors to President Clinton met secretly with Serbian President Slobodan Milosevic in 1994 and offered to act as an intermediary between Serbia and the United States, according to U.S. officials. Larry C. Wallace, a 54-year-old Little Rock lawyer and friend and former business associate of longtime Clinton aide Thomas "Mack" McLarty, met with Milosevic in Belgrade, when civil war was raging in what had been Yugoslavia. At the time, Wallace was attempting to gain entree to the Greek cable television market, and he said in an interview that his meeting with Milosevic was arranged by the Greek government, which has close relations with nearby Serbia.
Wallace's activities on the international stage put him in a category that includes several other Arkansas lawyers and businessmen who, as private citizens, apparently represented themselves abroad as friends of the president and who may have used their connections in Washington to advance their business interests. In this group is Mark E. Middleton, a special assistant to McLarty when McLarty was White House chief of staff at the beginning of Clinton's presidency. Middleton, whom Wallace describes as a friend, became an international deal maker after leaving the White House in early 1995, and he is now a central figure in the campaign finance controversy.
But more broadly, Wallace's tangled tale suggests that, in pursuit of his business interests, he was willing to trade on his ties to the Clinton White House at the behest of a foreign country--namely, Greece. In the process, he seems to have become a player in a complex international drama of war and peace.
Wallace's meeting with the Serbian president, widely regarded in the West as one of the primary aggressors in the Yugoslav civil war, triggered a highly sensitive investigation by the Central Intelligence Agency, which learned of the meeting only when informed of it by Serbian intelligence, according to CIA sources. The CIA's inspector general is still examining how the matter was handled within the agency, CIA officials said. Wallace confirmed in an interview that he met privately with Milosevic and discussed the Balkans crisis, but he insisted that he never told anyone at the White House about it.
Wallace said he told Milosevic during their private meeting in Belgrade that he could act as a messenger to the Clinton White House, but only if he sought permission from Washington first. He said that Milosevic did not give him any message to take back to Washington and that he never heard from the Serb president again.
In their meeting, Wallace said, Milosevic conducted a nearly hourlong monologue, insisting that he was working for peace and stability in the region, that he was tolerant of ethnic minorities and that he considered himself a friend of the United States. Above all, Wallace said, Milosevic expressed concern about the international economic sanctions imposed on his country.
"I hardly said five words," Wallace recalled. At the end of the meeting, Wallace said, he pointedly asked Milosevic what he wanted from him.
"I said to Milosevic, 'I don't know if you are expecting me to deliver a message, but if you are, you have got to let me know. And if you do want me to take a message, I've first got to seek permission to do that.' So I did offer, but it was in the way of being polite." Wallace said that he has never had any business dealings in Serbia and did not discuss business opportunities in Serbia with Milosevic.
After their meeting, Wallace said: "I wrote the man a thank-you note and I never heard from him again. And I never discussed this with anybody at the White House." Wallace's visit came to the CIA's attention after the Serb government contacted the agency's station in Belgrade to check up on Wallace, agency sources said. Eventually, the CIA learned that Wallace's meeting with Milosevic had been arranged through the Serbian ambassador to Greece.
CIA officers were told by the Serbs that Wallace "was there to offer his services to attempt to solve the problems of Yugoslavia," said a former CIA official. The CIA was told by the Serbs that Wallace claimed that "he had all these high-powered connections, and could do all kinds of things to ease the [international] sanctions" that were then in place against Serbia, the former CIA official added.
Wallace is a lifelong friend of McLarty and more recently, a Clinton political ally, serving in 1992 as a member of the Clinton-Gore Arkansas Finance Council. Since 1992, Wallace has contributed a total of $47,000 to Clinton-Gore campaigns and the Democratic National Committee, according to Federal Election Commission records.
Wallace became involved in a wide variety of business ventures, including the acquisition of real estate, a frozen yogurt franchise and a Little Rock television station. He also had his share of business setbacks, including the demise of the Little Rock law firm that he had helped found, and he suffered through a long-running financial dispute with his former partners in an ill-fated arms company.
A White House spokesman said records show that Wallace visited the White House at least a few dozen times from 1993 through 1997, primarily to see his friends from Arkansas, including McLarty and Middleton.
McLarty said through a White House spokesman that while he and Wallace "have been friends for over 20 years," he had "no knowledge of Mr. Wallace's activities in Serbia."
Robert Luskin, an attorney for Middleton, said Wallace's visits to Middleton were "primarily social. . . . Mr. Middleton was never asked by Wallace to do anything on a visit to Yugoslavia."
But it didn't take long after the 1992 presidential election for Wallace to realize the business value of his Arkansas political connections.
In 1993, Wallace began to commute frequently to Washington to work as a lobbyist, operating out of the offices of the Washington law firm of Ackerson & Bishop. In an April 1993 Associated Press interview, Wallace was candid about how he took advantage of his White House ties on behalf of his clients.
"I have asked Mack, 'Mack, would you be receptive to having a meeting in the office with the chairman of some company or having lunch with him?' And he says, 'Yeah,' " Wallace told AP.
"What I've done is find out through the chief of staff's office who is responsible in the administration" for specific policy decisions. "I set up an appointment and get an idea what the plans are--see what way they're leaning on policy and how we could assist them."
In 1993 he also began to take advantage of his White House connections to make international business and political contacts. "I was trying to get into the television business in Greece," Wallace said in the interview with The Times. "I did a lot of research on cable television there."
In the process, Wallace met then-Greek Prime Minister Andreas Papandreou, who soon began to ask Wallace for small favors in Washington. Among other things, Wallace said, the ailing prime minister, who died in 1996, asked Wallace to help him gain access to experimental drugs in use in the United States and to try to arrange for him to receive care at Walter Reed Army Hospital in Washington. Wallace said he passed on Papandreou's requests to the State Department.
Before long, however, Wallace said he began to receive more difficult requests. Wallace said an official close to Papandreou asked him to go to Macedonia, a republic formed from the splintered Yugoslavia, to try to convince its leaders to change the name of their country and the design of their flag. Greece and Macedonia have battled over both issues for years, and the Greeks apparently hoped Wallace's White House connections would increase pressure on Macedonia. Wallace said he refused to go to Macedonia. But in 1994, while he was in Athens trying to develop his cable television deal, he said a Greek government official asked him to visit the Greek Foreign Ministry. He said he was escorted to the office of George Papandreou, the deputy foreign minister and the son of the prime minister.
But George Papandreou wasn't there. Papandreou said through a Greek government spokesman that he had never heard of Larry Wallace and knew nothing of his visit to Milosevic.
Instead, Wallace said, he found Greek government officials who did not identify themselves. "They said, 'Could you go to Serbia and visit with the president of Serbia?' I didn't know what they were talking about," Wallace said.
But Wallace, clearly hoping to please the Greek government at a time when he was hoping for a cable television deal, agreed. The next morning a Greek official took him to the Athens airport and put him on a plane to Serbia.
In Belgrade, Wallace said, a driver from the Greek Embassy took him to meet Milosevic and picked him up again afterward.
"I didn't get any instructions from the Greeks about what I was supposed to do when I saw Milosevic, and I didn't get any instructions from Milosevic on what he wanted, either," Wallace said.
"He just poured out his heart about his efforts to bring peace and stability, and what a friend his country had been to the U.S.," Wallace recalled of his meeting with Milosevic. "And I said thank you very much, and I never had one phone call to follow up. It beats me what I was doing there."
Yet as he left Serbia, Wallace recalled, he began to realize that the meeting with Milosevic might "not have been the right thing to do." And he began to wonder whether he had been caught up in some complex international game that he didn't understand. And so Wallace kept the story to himself, unaware that the CIA investigated the matter until he was contacted by The Times.
"I never considered telling anyone at the White House," he said. "There was nothing that Milosevic said that I thought anybody really needed to hear. It was just self-serving talk."
Pardon Granted Outside of FBI Review
NEW YORK, Feb. 18 /PRNewswire/ -- Roger Clinton, pardoned by his half- brother in the last hours of the Clinton presidency for a drug conviction in 1985, also came under subsequent FBI scrutiny several times, Newsweek has learned, including one episode in which he allegedly sought to play middleman in the purchase of presidential pardons.
No charges were ever brought, and a Clinton spokeswoman says the former president knew nothing of the FBI's interest in Roger. But the White House did make a point of bypassing the FBI and processing the Roger Clinton pardon directly through high-level Justice Department officials, Newsweek reports in the current issue.
The first probe began four years ago, when FBI agents interviewed Birmingham, Ala., businessman John Katopodis. According to FBI reports obtained by Newsweek, Arkansas lawyer Larry Wallace approached Katopodis and allegedly assured him that he could help get Secretary of Transportation Rodney Slater to attend a conference that Katopodis was having to promote a new regional airport. But, in return, he wanted a job for Roger Clinton.
"President Clinton told him [Wallace] ... he was concerned about his 'baby' brother Roger," states one FBI interview with Katopodis. Wallace proposed that Roger receive a $35,000-a-month contract with a private foundation Katapodis helped run. Katopodis balked. "That's a pretty big consulting fee for someone who plays in a rock band," Katopodis told Newsweek. He says he later got calls from Roger Clinton himself, pressing for the contract.
The FBI wanted Kotopodis to set up a meeting with Roger Clinton where they would be secretly recorded. Katopodis said he "wasn't comfortable with the whole thing" and the case died, reports Investigative Correspondent Michael Isikoff and Newsweek Washington Bureau Chief Daniel Klaidman in the February 26 issue of Newsweek (on newsstands Monday, February 19).
In a second case, last year, FBI agents looked into allegations that Roger Clinton sought payments for help in arranging pardons. The inquiry was dropped after Justice lawyers spotted a legal problem. Since Roger Clinton wasn't a federal official, it wasn't a crime to seek money for promising to help deliver action by the government.
I doubt if they'll ever see jailtime for their mountains of wrongdoing. Thanks to the liberal, PC types, there is no such
thing as "right and wrong." It's all about having the best spinmeisters and lawyers so you can skate your way out of it.
... and Mary Jo White, a Clinton appointee, or one of her successors will be sitting on (er, looking into) these pardons forever.
Wonder if the move by DOJ to uncover offshore credit card tax evasion will expose money-laundering, too.
Look at the bright side Liz. They are out of power, for now. What we are seeing is history--that legacy thingy being written. And it sure isn't pretty...