Ely Callaway, longtime friend of Bill Clinton

Tom Daschle of South Dakota with big party donors on a jaunt around Coronado Island

— Once again, scandal in the White House is bringing unwanted attention to Callaway Golf, the hugely successful Carlsbad golf-club maker run by 78-year-old Ely Callaway, longtime friend of Bill Clinton, who is frequently seen on the links with Big Bertha, Callaway's premier club. Over the years Callaway has given Clinton and the Democrats big money, including, in 1994, shortly after Clinton paid a special videotaped birthday tribute to Callaway, $50,000 to the Democratic National Committee. The day that check was deposited, reports the National Journal, Callaway was at the White House for a state dinner in honor of the emperor of Japan. Callaway subsequently gave another $110,000 to the Democrats. Two years ago, Callaway gave ex-Clinton staffer W. David Watkins a job at Callaway Golf after Watkins was forced to resign when it was revealed he had used a Marine helicopter for a trip to a nearby golf course. Watkins lasted only a few months in a rented Del Mar apartment before returning to Washington. But Callaway's time in the national spotlight may only be beginning. It appears Callaway's connection to Bill Clinton is through Vernon Jordan, the big-time D.C. lobbyist, Clinton confidant, and golfing buddy who figures large in the Monica Lewinsky scandal. "My interest in helping the President was stimulated by Vernon," Callaway told the National Journal last year. "I think he's a great President.'' Callaway once served on the board of the United Negro College Fund when Jordan was its executive director, and Callaway so admires Jordan that last year he put him on Callaway's board of directors. Callaway has insisted that his Clinton connections don't involve business. But Jordan, who Lewinsky has reportedly said told her to lie to the grand jury about her alleged dalliance with the president, sits on more corporate boards than any other lawyer in America, reports this month's Washingtonian, pulling down between $20,000 and $25,000 a meeting. Besides Callaway, he helps direct JC Penney, Union Carbide, Sara Lee, Ryder Systems, and Xerox. Notes the Washingtonian: "Colleagues aren't exactly sure what it is that Jordan does to bring in the hundreds of thousands of dollars in corporate retainers he draws for his firm, but they suspect that the long hours he spends in the presidential golf cart don't count against him."

Old boy

Big winner in the derby to get the most tax dollars from the Super Bowl: "event consultant" Stephen Redfearn, an ex-Bill Silva staffer who managed to snag a $50,000 "sole source" contract from city hall to "create production and talent budgets" for the big game. City documents claim that Redfearn was designated "sole source" -- meaning the city didn't have to bid out the contract or even look for anybody else -- because he had a "working experience with key principals involved in Super Bowl XXXII" ... Despite sex and money scandals at the White House, Democrats partied hearty in San Diego during the Super Bowl. Senate Democratic leader Tom Daschle of South Dakota was reported by the New York Times to have accompanied big party donors on a jaunt around Coronado Island, where many of them are booked at the lavish Hotel Del Coronado. Both parties shuttled "planeloads of contributors from Washington to San Diego for extensive face-to-face contact with members of Congress."

Present ValuJet

Surviving family of Rodney Culver, the Chargers running back who died with his wife when ValuJet flight 592 plunged into the Everglades, has fired a Connecticut law firm that had reached a purported $28 million wrongful-death settlement with the airline. The family claims they didn't understand that the $28 million was to be paid over time and had a present value of just $9.5 million. Their new lawyer told the Fulton County Daily Report, a Georgia legal newspaper, that he was trying to get as much as $18 million in present value, although a legal expert interviewed by the paper contends the original deal was "far up in the upper echelon in settlements in aviation cases. It is in the high range of reasonableness." Culver, 26, and his wife, Karen, 25, left two small children who live with his mother in Cherokee County, Georgia.

Contributor: Matt Potter

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