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Catching Up With The Sick Thrift Five



Time for an accounting in the thrift debacle, which so far has cost taxpayers $80 billion to clean up. The last of the key figures in the savings and loan scandals, former CenTrust Savings Bank Chairman David Paul, was found guilty on Nov. 24 of fraud. Here's where the S&L poster boys are now:

-- Neil Bush. The son of former President George Bush gained notoriety as a director of Denver-based Silverado S&L (failure cost to feds: $1 billion). Bush, 38, agreed to pay $50 million to settle charges. Published reports had him in Kuwait this spring, trying to cut oil deals. He couldn't be reached for comment.

-- Don Dixon. He's behind bars these days for bank fraud as onetime head of defunct Vernon S&L in Vernon, Tex. (failure cost: over $1 billion). In April, a federal judge doubled his five-year sentence. Reason: It surfaced that Dixon, 54, had used Vernon funds to buy a private jet.

-- Charles Keating. He is the best-known of the S&L financiers. You probably recall the brushfire touched off two years ago by his gifts to five U.S. senators. Keating, 70, just had his 10-year sentence increased for federal offenses. The former chief of Irvine (Calif.)-based Lincoln S&L (failure cost: $2.6 billion) is appealing an order to pay $36 million in restitution.

-- David Paul. His case centered on charges that Paul, 54, diverted $3.2 million in bank funds to pay for a 95-foot yacht and to decorate his homes. Witnesses say he hid the cost of his home improvements amid bills to revamp the thrift's headquarters. The former CEO of Miami's CenTrust (failure cost: $1.6 billion) could get up to 10 years in jail.

-- Thomas Spiegel. The erstwhile chief of Columbia S&L in Beverly Hills, Calif., (failure cost: $2 billion) is facing charges of misusing Columbia funds. Plus, there's a federal claim for $40 million in damages. The government also holds the Columbia-issued mortgage to his mansion. Spiegel, 47, has defaulted on the mortgage, and the feds seized his house on Nov. 1. EDITED BY LARRY LIGHT AND JULIE TILSNER Kelley Holland and Gail DeGeorge

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