Rest in peace
Charles H. Keating Jr., the infamous financier behind the biggest savings and loan disaster of the 1980s, died Tuesday. He was 90.
Keating ran the Phoenix-based American Continental Corp., in addition its subsidiary Lincoln Savings & Loan. Many of the depositors at Lincoln Savings & Loan, especially older savers and naive investors, were persuaded to cash in their federally insured deposits for $256 million worth of uninsured American Continental junk bonds. Keating was convicted in 1993 of swindling those customers and raiding the thrift. The failure of Lincoln Savings & Loan cost the government $3.4 billion.
It also tainted the political careers of the Keating Five — Sens. John McCain (R-Ariz.), John Glenn (D-Ohio), Alan Cranston (D-Calif.), Donald Riegle (D-Mich.), and Dennis DeConcini (D-Ariz.) — all significant recipients of Keating's campaign largesse who lobbied to get federal regulators off his back as Lincoln and American Continental teetered toward insolvency.
Keating's convictions were later overturned, and he pleaded guilty to bankruptcy fraud in Phoenix. He served four-and-a-half years in prison. While Keating is best known for the savings and loan disaster, he garnered attention in other ways earlier in life; he was a college swimming champion at the University of Cincinnati and an anti-pornography activist. Read more at The New York Times. --Catherine Garcia