August 16, 2013

Bert Lance, Georgia banker and Carter ally, dies at 82

The self-described 'country banker' was Jimmy Carter's first budget director and closest personal friends.

The Associated Press

(Continued from page 1)

click image to enlarge

In this Aug. 18, 1977, photo, President Jimmy Carter tells reporters that his confidence in Bert Lance, left, were reconfirmed by a report of federal investigators that found nothing warranting prosecution in his Georgian banking activities.

AP

He used the experience he gained to qualify for graduate-level banking courses at Rutgers University and was instrumental in convincing carpet manufacturers to move their operations to northwest Georgia — considered the carpet manufacturing capital of the world.

After he was cleared of federal charges in 1980, Lance stepped back into politics, serving as chairman of Georgia's Democratic Party in the early 1980s and briefly as general chairman of Democrat Walter F. Mondale's 1984 Democratic presidential campaign. He resigned after 19 days, citing the "old charges" leveled against him. He later advised the Rev. Jesse Jackson when the civil rights leader sought the Democratic presidential nomination in 1988.

The New York Times reports that Lance was removed in 1986 as the chairman and director of the Calhoun bank as part of a settlement of charges of check-kiting and illegal use of bank funds in 1983 and 1984. He was permanently barred from associating with any banking institution and slapped with a $50,000 civil penalty.

The Atlanta newspaper described the folksy, 6-foot, 5-inch Lance as the consummate insider, whether as a lay leader of the North Georgia Conference of the United Methodist Church or as an adviser to international financiers.

"He was the kingmaker, rather than the king," former Georgia Gov. Roy Barnes told the newspaper.

In 2000, the state of Georgia renamed a stretch of Interstate 75 in northwest Georgia the "Bert Lance Highway" in recognition of his contributions. A newspaper photo shows Lance looking on pensively.

He told the Rome, Ga. News-Tribune afterward, "I think it's awfully nice but much undeserved. I'm not entitled to this sort of recognition, but I am glad that I was able to play a small part in I-75 and other developments in the state."

Were you interviewed for this story? If so, please fill out our accuracy form

Send question/comment to the editors




Further Discussion

Here at PressHerald.com we value our readers and are committed to growing our community by encouraging you to add to the discussion. To ensure conscientious dialogue we have implemented a strict no-bullying policy. To participate, you must follow our Terms of Use.

Questions about the article? Add them below and we’ll try to answer them or do a follow-up post as soon as we can. Technical problems? Email them to us with an exact description of the problem. Make sure to include:
  • Type of computer or mobile device your are using
  • Exact operating system and browser you are viewing the site on (TIP: You can easily determine your operating system here.)