A Problem with Donald
"THE HUGHES LOAN," a complicated financial intrigue involving Vice-President Nixon, his brother Donald, and Howard Hughes, became an issue in the last fortnight of the 1960 campaign and an even more embarrassing problem in Nixon's campaign against California governor Pat Brown in 1962. In both campaigns Nixon was accused of lying about the loan. He denied it then, and continued to deny it in his memoirs.
Donald Nixon in 1956 owned two restaurants and a grocery store in Whittier. He was ambitious to own a chain of restaurants, and tried unsuccessfully to raise $300,000 by a public stock subscription. There was a mild uproar when this stock was advertised in a Republican rally, and Donald apologized. He persuaded his mother to let him use a vacant lot she owned in Whittier as collateral for a bank loan. Even though the lot had an assessed value of only $13,000, the market value was between $40,000 and $50,000, and Donald, who planned to build a gas station on it, persuaded Union Oil Company to enter into a contract whereby they agreed to pay him a guaranteed income of $800 a month for fifteen years when the station was built. 1 A commercial lending firm would offer to lend him no more than $93,000 for the entire package. For Donald, whose restaurant business was in severe financial difficulties, this was not enough.
Both Richard and Donald Nixon knew Frank A. Waters, formerly from Whittier, now a Washington lobbyist. A few weeks after his election to the vice-presidency, Nixon called Waters about his brother's plight. Waters then called Noah Dietrich, executive vice-president of the Hughes Tool Company, one of the many branches of the immense Hughes empire.
"I've been talking to Nixon," Waters said. "His brother Donald