As Bill Clinton hawks yet another dreary book, titled “The President is Missing,” this time with famed co-author James Patterson, evidence in the public domain is being reinterpreted that may help FBI line agents solve a real-life cold case involving the unexplained death of John Glasgow 10 years ago.
It may also shed valuable new light on oodles of missing Clinton Foundation money, and the activities of numerous members of the Arkansas elite, especially including the 42nd president.
You see, Glasgow was chief financial officer of CDI Contractors Inc., the lead firm that built the Clinton Presidential Center between 2002 and 2004, right up until Jan. 28, 2008, the day he mysteriously disappeared.
By all accounts, Glasgow understood financial risks generally and the specific perils attending the performance of large, expensive construction projects for clients who refuse to prove they actually have financial resources readily available to meet their obligations promptly.
Anyone with real-life experience eventually learns just how tough the construction business truly is. Competition is fierce, tradespeople are tough to manage, building inspectors delight in meddling, the general public complains about everything, and profit margins are never as high as one initially hopes when contracts are negotiated and signed. The more millions of dollars are involved, the longer the list of potential suspects in the disappearance of a major player like Glasgow can grow.
So the last thing Glasgow should have wanted CDI to do was to take on a large construction contract for a client such as the Clinton Foundation that refused to explain its true financial condition to anyone.
Murky Accounting for the William J. Clinton Presidential Foundation. Financial statements for the Clinton Foundation covering the period from its Oct. 23, 1997, formation through Dec. 31, 2004 — the end of the year in which the presidential library and research center opened in Little Rock — are missing or prepared using accounting techniques that are not allowed for U.S. nonprofit, tax-exempt corporations.
To see what I mean, try to find “independent audits” that meet technical accounting requirements for any year from 1997 through 2004 on the Clinton Foundation website. None are available on the main portal the Clinton Foundation uses to communicate with donors and regulators. Anyone who suggests otherwise is either naïve or lying.
That said, the first purported “audit” found in the public domain concerns 2001 and 2000. Here are purported “audits” for 2002/01, 2003/02, and 2004/03. These “audits” flatly admit the Clinton Foundation did not actually meet U.S. accounting requirements:
“The Foundation’s financial statements are presented on the modified cash basis of accounting, which is a comprehensive basis of accounting other than accounting principles generally accepted in the United States of America. Property and equipment are carried at cost or fair market value on the date of donation. Revenues are recognized when collected and expenses are recognized when paid. Therefore, accounts and pledges receivable, payables, and accrued revenues and expenses are not reflected in the financial statements. Accordingly, the statements are not intended to present financial position or changes in net assets in conformity with generally accepted accounting principles.”
Using accounting principles that are not accepted for years is a crucial error that a finance professional such as John Glasgow should have spotted in a nanosecond.
What the approach taken by Clinton Foundation trustees meant is that no outside party had any true understanding of the obligations or credit standing of the entity that was supposed to foot a gigantic bill for constructing Bill Clinton’s Little Rock library and research center.
While winning the chance to erect Clinton’s presidential complex likely was seen as an honor by those who controlled CDI, the task that fell to Glasgow was a tougher one. He had to make sure the Clinton Foundation could actually repay CDI on a timely basis as the construction firm purchased raw materials, met its own payroll, funded subcontractors, and covered its overhead.
Before Glasgow agreed to let CDI accept any contract to construct the Clinton Presidential Center, he and CDI senior management should have demanded formal assurances from Clinton Foundation trustees that funding was, in fact, accessible. Information in the missing audits suggests precisely the opposite.
Moreover, financial accounts for the Clinton Foundation during the years when construction was most active (2002 through 2004) and for subsequent years (2005 through 2007) include numerous, loud warning signs suggesting frauds, including that assigned values for the Little Rock campus may have been wildly overinflated.
In addition, starting after May 2007, we know that CDI’s finances and Glasgow’s role in making financial reports for periods ending Jan. 29, 2005, and afterwards fell under close scrutiny.
What could a renewed, objective, multi-office FBI investigation tell us soon about CDI, the Clinton Foundation, and Glasgow once forensic audits are performed going all the way back to Oct. 23, 1997?
To be continued.
Charles Ortel, a retired investment banker, concentrates on exposing complex frauds in his new career as an investigator, writer and commentator. Since August 2017, he has been hosting the “Sunday with Charles” podcast and covering the Clinton Foundation case in depth, using publicly available source materials. View his previous LifeZette contributions.
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