Whitewater was backed by the Madison Guaranty Savings and Loan, which went bankrupt in 1989. The controlling partners in both the land deal and the bank were friends of the Clintons, James and Susan McDougal. Vincent Foster, a Little Rock law partner of Mrs. Clinton, represented the Clintons in the buyout of their Whitewater shares. Accusations of impropriety against the Clintons and others soon surfaced, regarding improper campaign contributions, political and financial favors, and tax benefits. Claiming that relevant files had disappeared (they were found at the White House in 1996) and that they had in any case lost money on the Whitewater venture, the Clintons denied any wrongdoing.
When Foster, now White House counsel, committed suicide (1993), however, more questions arose. Strongly pursued in Washington, mainly by Republicans, but largely ignored by the general public, Whitewater was investigated by a special prosecutor beginning in 1994 and by congressional committees in 1995-96. Special prosecutor Kenneth Starr's investigation included testimony from Mrs. Clinton (which was the first time a first lady was subpoenaed by a grand jury) and videotaped testimony from the president.
In a 1996 trial, the McDougals and Jim Guy Tucker, Clinton's successor as governor of Arkansas, were found guilty of fraud in the case, and in another decision the former municipal judge David Hale, who had pled guilty to fraud and had been a witness in the McDougal trial, received a jail sentence. In yet another trial the same year two Arkansas bankers were acquitted of some charges, and the jury deadlocked on others. Although nothing conclusive concerning the Clintons' involvement in the Whitewater deal was proved in the congressional or special prosecutor's inquiries, Republicans charged Hillary Clinton with having sought to suppress politically damaging information and accused Clinton administration officials of lying under oath.
In early 1998, Starr won authorization to expand his investigation to include the Lewinsky scandal, and questions about Monica Lewinsky's relationship with Clinton quickly overshadowed Whitewater matters. However, in late 1998, when Starr presented his case for impeachment of the president for his attempts to conceal the Lewinsky affair, he indicated that his office had no impeachable evidence in the Whitewater matters. Starr resigned in Oct., 1999, and was succeeded by Robert W. Ray, the senior litigation counsel in Starr's office. In Sept., 2000, Ray ended the Whitewater inquiry, stating there was insufficient evidence to prove that President Clinton or his wife had committed any crime in connection with the failed real estate venture or the independent counsel's investigation into it; the final report was issued 18 months later. Susan McDougal was pardoned by President Clinton in Jan., 2001, shortly before he left office.
See J. B. Stewart, Blood Sport: The President and His Adversaries (1996); M. Isikoff, Uncovering Clinton (1999).
There were 28 households, out of which 32.1% had children under the age of 18 living with them, 75.0% were married couples living together, 7.1% had a female householder with no husband present, and 10.7% were non-families. 7.1% of all households were made up of individuals and 7.1% had someone living alone who was 65 years of age or older. The average household size was 2.79, and the average family size was 2.84.
In the town, the population was spread out with 28.2% under the age of 18, 5.1% from 18 to 24, 25.6% from 25 to 44, 23.1% from 45 to 64, and 17.9% who were 65 years of age or older. The median age was 40 years. For every 100 females, there were 122.9 males. For every 100 females age 18 and over, there were 100.0 males.
The median income for a household in the town was $31,875, and the median income for a family was $33,125. Males had a median income of $43,250 versus $26,250 for females. The per capita income for the town was $13,987. There were 9.5% of families and 6.7% of the population living below the poverty line, including no under eighteens and none of those over 64.
The last business in Whitewater was Wolf's Union 76 gas station. It consisted of a small garage and two gas pumps that were bordering Whitewater Road. It closed in May 1992.
The general store is still standing though it has not been in business for many years. It is at the corner of Whitewater Road and 227.
The barber shop was auctioned off and razed in 1995; it had been abandoned for quite some time.
There is an old apartment building that has been empty for over thirty years and was used primarily for leather storage. As of June 2007 the building is undergoing a renovation process.
A popular hang out for the children of Whitewater was the old iron bridge on Whitewater Road. A sink hole formed in the wood flooring of the bridge in the late 1990s, and it was blocked off for many months. During this time vehicles bypassed the barracades and continued driving over the bridge. Eventually permanent barracades were bolted to the bridge to prevent vehicles from crossing. Many local farmers drove through the creek underneath the bridge during this time. A new bridge was eventually put into place by 1998, and the road was drastically leveled on either side.
Though not in the actual town of Whitewater, at the end of Whitewater Road an Amish Grocery store opened up in the late summer of 2006. The area had not had a grocery store in many years and had to depend on the nearby town of Richmond for all shopping. The store became very popular with the people of Whitewater, and nearby Fountain City and Bethel. The store now carries a wide array of everyday items, and a complete deli.
Whitewater, a penny-ante scandalette, is drowning out the real issues. (Originated from Knight-Ridder Newspapers)
Apr 12, 1994; KRT FORUM Kathleen Hall Jamieson is dean of the Annenberg School for Communication at the University of Pennsylvania. She is...