Corporate raider Charles Hurwitz sees only money in the last forest on Earth of 2,000-year-old Coastal Redwoods, this magnificent emerald cathedral seen nowhere else on the planet, which soars upward toward the stars to the height of 36-story buildings. He gets tens of thousands of dollars from each tree he logs: he can make a million dollars in a weekend.
Hurwitz specializes in bringing down giants. He brought down United Savings Association of Texas in one of the largest S&L scams of the Reagan era. Hurwitz was controlling owner of the S&L and invested its deposits in convicted Wall Street criminal Michael Milken's junk bond scams in exchange for Milken personally issuing Hurwitz three quarters of a billion dollars in loans and junk bonds to wage a hostile takeover of the Pacific Lumber Co. in 1985. Once acquired, Hurwitz began looting the company, selling off properties, raiding the workers pension fund, and developing a plan to log off all of the remaining ancient redwoods outside the parks within seventeen years by immediately tripling the rate of cutting in the ancient groves. He's successfully done this now for nine years, consistently in violation of state and federal law. And, along with the trees, the S&L came crashing down, costing U.S. taxpayers a whopping $1.6 billion FDIC bailout. In Fall 1995 the FDIC filed suit against Hurwitz to recover $250 million for this scam.