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Friday, Apr. 29, 2016

McLean saga will be broadcast tonight

Wednesday, February 16, 2011

The case of Murfreesboro financier Bob McLean, who took his own life in Shelbyville in 2007 as his financial empire crumbled around him, will be documented tonight on the cable channel CNBC as an episode of the series "American Greed," narrated by Stacy Keach of "Prison Break" and "Mike Hammer" fame.

The program airs at 9 p.m. and again at midnight. CNBC is channel 39 on Charter cable, channel 355 on DirecTV and channel 208 on Dish Network.

The web site for the episode, entitled "A Most Generous Criminal," hints at the fact that McLean made many philanthropic contributions at the peak of his success, including support of Middle Tennessee State University and the Country Music Hall of Fame and Museum. He was also a primary backer of "Our Very Own," an independent film shot in Shelbyville.

But McLean's success in providing income for his clients was based on fiscal tricks, alleged to be a Ponzi scheme, which eventually came to light. Lawsuits were filed against him seeking $50 million, including an $8.5 million lawsuit by Ron Vannatta of Shelbyville, who is prominently featured on the CNBC web page for the episode.

McLean shot himself Sept. 25, 2007, behind First Christian Church. Vannatta had close ties to the church and a scholarship fund for church members which was managed by McLean.

The web site also allows viewers to download a promissory note between McLean and Vannatta and a bankruptcy court document detailing McLean's spending.

The executive producer of the series, Charles Schaeffer, told the Murfreesboro Daily News Journal that the episode serves as a warning.

"As far as importance, I don't know of any story on 'American Greed' more important to tell than this one for anybody who is investing their money in an unorthodox and experimental -- whatever you want to call it -- type of investing."