A report released Thursday by the federal House Committee on Government Reform details a scheme by former Calumet Farms president J. T. Lundy to secretly share profits from a Venezuelan coal deal with President Clinton's half-brother in an effort to secure a pardon. According to the report, Roger Clinton was used by Lundy to try to secure the pardon to spare Lundy the 4 1/2-year prison sentence he is now serving after being convicted of bank fraud and bribery in connection with his management of Calumet Farm.
(Sold at a bankruptcy auction, Calumet Farm is now owned by Henryk de Kwiatkowski and is not involved in the former management's legal or financial problems).
The report states that Lundy suggested a scheme in which his payments to Clinton could be placed in the name of Dan Lasater. A prominent horse owner in the 1970s and longtime friend of the Clinton family, Arkansas native Lasater had a 20% interest in the Venezuelan coal venture. Lasaster and another Arkansas resident were also seeking Roger Clinton's help in securing their own clemency from drug-related convictions in the 1980s, according to the report.
According to the report, as Lundy's trial date approached there was a sense of urgency in his efforts to get Roger Clinton's assistance. "I am sure you know why I am so anxious," Lundy said in a Nov. 10, 1999 letter Roger Clinton requesting to meet with him and Lasater. "Time is getting short. PLEASE HELP ME NOW!"
The federal report concludes that "the documents strongly suggest that Lundy was providing Roger Clinton a sweetheart business deal in exchange for his help in trying to obtain a pardon."
It is unclear whether Roger Clinton asked President Clinton to pardon Lundy and it is also unclear whether Roger Clinton received any financial benefits from Lundy, according to the report. Robert Lundy, J. T. Lundy's son, met once with Roger Clinton at an airport in Dallas, the report said. In a Sept. 14, 1999 memo to Lasater, Robert Lundy claimed to have Venezuelan coal interests potentially worth more than $40-million.
Lundy did not receive a pardon and continues to appeal his conviction.
Roger Clinton declined an invitation to testify before the Congressional committee and an attorney representing the Lundys said they would invoke the Fifth Amendment if called to testify.
John O. Morgan, an attorney for Wright Enterprises, bankruptcy trustee for Calumet, told the Lexington Herald-Leader
that his client would be interested in determining whether Lundy had Venezuelan coal interests.
Lucille Wright Drinkwater, J. T. Lundy's ex-wife and Robert Lundy's mother, told the Herald-Leader
that she does not believe there is a large amount of money in South America. "I know they've had some dealings in Venezuela, but I've never seen them come out of there with one dime," she reportedly said. Drinkwater also said it was obvious why Lundy wanted a pardon: "He doesn't want to be there, like 99% of them in jail, and he's going to say anything he can to get out."