A long time ago I stopped looking at the puerile and putrid Holland website of the crackpot who still plasters the late Blue Boys band member Leo Jackson's picture at the top of his so-called Jim Reeves fan page (thus defying the pleading by Leo's widow, Nell, that he remove it).
But someone copied and emailed me a post made back in January in which the webmaster of that site, had what he considered a big scoop! He reports that Mary's nephew, Bill White, went to Nashville when Jim Reeves' plane went down and joined in the search party. (Yawn. There were 2,000 people searching for the plane. Why should I mention Bill when I talked about two of Mary's BROTHERS who joined the search efforts?) The Holland gadfly concludes "None of this relevant history appeared in 'Jim Reeves: His Untold Story'. Presumably the esteemed author felt no need to spend time interviewing him. Sometimes the insignificant have much to say."
The webmaster of that site has a long history of posting inaccurate information and jumping to conclusions. So let me set the record straight.
I did, indeed, talk at length with Bill White, who had been appointed by a Nashville probate court judge to supposedly oversee his aunt Mary's affairs when she went into a nursing home. Rev. White phoned me at the time the news broke that Ed and Vonna Jo Gregory had been pardoned by President Bill Clinton for bank fraud convictions. When he got me on the phone, White immediately told me that he did not want me to record our conversation (I suppose because he wanted deniability later). He took pains to plead ignorance as to Mr. Gregory's felony conviction. Up to that point, Mr. White had formed a close relationship with Mr. Gregory, the new owner of the Reeves estate (the latter of whom ultimately failed to pay Mary the millions of dollars he owed her).
The Presidential pardons were front page news in The New York Times because Clinton had also pardoned various other scoundrels, such as Mark Rich, a wealthy financier who fled to Switzerland after being indicted on multiple federal charges, including tax evasion, in 1983. Clinton's motive for pardoning Rich on his last day in office was questioned because Rich's ex-wife, Denise Rich, was a wealthy Democratic donor who made a $450,000 donation to Clinton's presidential library foundation and more than $100,000 to Hillary Clinton's Senate campaign.
Anyway, I digress. The Ed and Vonna Jo Gregory pardons were among those that drew Congressional scrutiny because Ed had put one of Hillary's brothers, Tony Rodham, on his payroll and loaned him money for hundreds of thousands of dollars, and then couldn't explain to Congressional investigators what Mr. Rodham actually did to earn the money. Bill White wanted me to know he was blindsided by this.
Although Rev. White insisted that I not record the conversation, I never promised him that I would not take copious notes -- which I did. As a longtime journalist I am accustomed to taking my own form of shorthand so I have verbatim quotes from him.
I also engaged him in a conversation about the abuse of Mary at the hands of her second husband, and the deplorable conditions under which she was then living. White again pleaded ignorance of these facts.
Reeves fans who have watched the long-running court cases surrounding the disposition of the Reeves estate may be aware that at one point, Bill White signed all of Mary's property over to Ed Gregory BEFORE ED PAID FOR IT, thus relinquishing Mary's security interest. White's actions in this regard are simply inexplicable.
What has not been reported up to now is that the company that bonded Mr. White was recently forced to pay a $200,000 settlement to the Reeves estate heirs as a result of White's breach of his fiduciary responsibilities. He was apparently unable to come up with more than a piddly sum himself, even though he once pastored a mega church in Texas.
Bill had aspirations of being a singer and Ed Gregory, a carnival operator by trade, was very skilled at discovering someone's Achilles Heel. He was able to manipulate White for his own purposes by flattering him with bookings at some of the fairs Ed operated, getting him Super Bowl tickets, gifting him with a red tuxedo jacket like Jim's, and even taking him to the White House.
It is indisputable that Bill White did not act in the best interests of his aunt, as the forfeiture of his bond confirms. I know the details of his various missteps and as such I DID NOT FIND HIM A CREDIBLE SOURCE FOR MY BOOK and that's why I didn't write about him. People who have committed lesser offenses involving the handling of estates and financial transactions have ended up in jail.
It is pathetic that this man continues to promote himself as Jim Reeves' nephew, when he hasn't been that for decades -- ever since Mary Reeves married another man. The only true nephew of Jim who sings is John Rex Reeves.
So now, dear fans, you know more of the "Untold story"...and the Holland website is just as inaccurate and irrelevant as it's always been. It's clear that webmaster feels Bill White has important information to convey; I think White has amply demonstrated through his actions over the years that he does NOT.
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