July 11, 1977-President Carter writes Sen. Abraham Ribicoff (D-Conn.), chairman of the Governmental Operations Committee, asking suspension of the ethics rule that would have forced Budget Director Bert Lance to sell 190,000 of stock in the National Bank of Georgia (NBG), WHICH LANCE HEADED BEFORE COMING TO WASHINGTON. CARTER SAYS LANCE STANDS TO LOSE $1.6 MILLION IF HE IS FORCED TO SELL BECAUSE NGR%'s stock price is depressed. Ribicoff scheduled a hearing for July 22.
July 22-A Washington Post story questioning the terms of a $3.4 million loan to Lance from a Chicago bank and other articles caused Ribicoff to postpone the hearing until the following Monday, July 25. An earlier Time magazine article raised other questions about Lance's financial commitments and debts.
July 25-After hearing Lance's explanation, Committee members give him a "Good Housekeeping Seal" and Ribicoff declares Lance has been "smeared" by the Press. The office of the U.S. Comptroller of the Currency, which oversees national banks, begins a probe of the allegations about Lance's management of NBG and Calhoun (Ga.) First National Bank.
Aug. 18-A report by the comptroller finds "unsafe and unsound" banking practices, but no criminal behavior by Lance. Carter, at a press conference, says, "My faith in . . . Bert Lance has been confirmed." He concludes by saving: "Bert, I'm proud of you."
Sept. 8.14-Senate Governmental Affairs Committee conducts hearings on Lance's banking practices.
Sept. 21-A tearful Carter accepts Lance's resignation, but says, "Nothing that I have heard or read has shaken my belief in Bert's . . . integrity."
Jan. 24, 1978-A federal grand jury in Atlanta begins a criminal probe of Lance's banking affairs.
April 26-Securities and Exchange Commission and the Comptroller's office file a joint civil suit against Lance, the Calhoun bank and NBG charging them with "fraus and deceit" in violating banking and securities laws. All three sign consent decrees, neither admitting nor denying the allegations.
May 23, 1979-Lance is indicted on 22 counts of conspiring to commit banking violations, including defrauding the government. Three associates-Richard Carr, former president of the Northwest Bank of Ringgold, Ga., Tom Mitchell, a Calhoun, Ga., businessman, and Jackson Mullins, a former Calhoun druggist-are indicted on related charges.