HEADLINE:  El PASOAN’S NOVEL CAPTIVATING – El Paso Herald-Post, El Paso, Texas

  April 20, 1993 

“Have you ever felt like all your hard work and earnings can be deleted by a decision that is made far away and out of your reach?

“In Louis J. Bodnar’s ‘Sunbelt, a Novel,’ the answers to these questions are revealed, explored and explained in the form of a story.

“The lawyers, the lovers and the CEOs who control so many of our fiscal destinies are so far removed from our world that their decisions are formed in a world of their own.  The results of their decisions cross the cosmos here on earth and indelibly effect all our lives.

“The story’s main characters are believable, hungry and ruthless creatures of the 80’s and the business revolves around Texas/Oklahoma oil boom and following crash.  The story is told from a blue-collar view of the greed and lost purpose of the few whose decisions control the many.

“Through the erotic love scenes to the main characters’ fall from grace, we see that we are all human.  And that often what we see as failure is simply the great spirits’ teachings. 

“Bodnar is an El Paso attorney who sees the duality in man in everything he does. 

“He tries to explain the inner working of the world of finance and law so we are not its pawns, but its Kings.  His underlying theme:  The people with money in banks, the workers who use petroleum products and the masses that supply the capital for the captains of finance can and should be in control. 

“Bodnar helps us realize that although the American free enterprise system has its faults, it is also the most malleable of all the political systems in the world.  We begin to understand that the only thing wrong with America is the common “man’s” lack of involvement in it. 

“Bodnar’s story is captivating and descriptive.  If there is any fault in the story it is Bodnar’s hope that man’s awakening can come about in self-learned lessons.”

Jay Dittersdorf 

Special to the El Paso Herald-Post

El Paso Herald – Post

El Paso, Texas, April 20, 1993 


EL PASO, TEXAS, November 20, 1991

“Lawyer and Associate Municipal Judge Louis Bodnar was appointed Special Prosecutor in the Maury Kemp-El Paso Electric Co. fraud case. 

“District Attorney Steve Simmons said Louis Bodnar, who was appointed on Thursday, will serve as Special Assistant District Attorney and lead the prosecution team, which includes Assistant District Attorney Andrew Thomas. 

“Thomas is chief of the White-Collar Crime Unit.  The unit investigated the fraudulent sale of annuities from Kemp’s failed insurance companies, as well as other dealings between Kemp, El Paso Electric and other defendants in the case which resulted in indictments last June. 

“Also, on the prosecution team in Simmons and First Assistant District Attorney Udell Moore. 

“Simmons said two additional assistant district attorneys will be assigned to the trial now scheduled to begin February 4, in 168th District Judge Lupe Rivera’s court. 

“A 1972 graduate from the Oklahoma Law School, Bodnar arrived in El Paso in 1967 and joined the El Paso law firm of Studdard, Melby, Schwartz, Parrish & Johnson. 

“His 20 years of practice experience as a civil and criminal trial lawyer will be extremely beneficial in this complex, white-collar prosecution, said District Attorney Simmons.”

News Release by Peter Brock 

El Paso Herald-Post 

El Paso, Texas

November 20, 1991 

HEADLINE:  Prosecutor in Kemp Case Saw Own FinanceCIAL EMPIRE CRUMBLE

 – El Paso, Texas – Monday, November 25, 1991

Attorney lost millions during Oklahoma Oil Crash in 1980’s

“El Paso attorney and recently appointed special prosecutor Louis J. Bodnar knows how quickly financial empires can crumble. 

“When the oil fields of Oklahoma were gushing with black gold, Bodnar was an investor riding the crest of the oil boom. 

“But in 1983, when oil prices fell and banks were left holding worthless energy-related loans, Bodnar lost millions on bad financial deals. 

“His law firm was also wiped out. 

“I like to characterize myself as a beneficiary of the Oklahoma Oil boom and casualty of the bust,” Bodnar told the Herold-Post. 

“Ironically, Kemp’s financial empire toppled in the late 1980’s, about the same time as Bodnar’s. 

“Kemp, 10 other people and several corporations were re-indicted August 24 for allegedly engaging in criminal activity in conspiring to commit theft over $20,000 stemming from the sale of annuities from Kemp’s failed companies. 

                                                                     By Raul Hernandez for the 

                                                                     El Paso Herald-Post

                                                                     El Paso, Texas

HEADLINE:  Lawyer Authored Take of Greed 

  “It’s a story of money and power, passion and obsession, ambition and greed, love and hate, good and evil, temptation and frenzy of a dangerous yet erotic game, brought keenly alive, and set against the panorama of brilliant riches of energy and real estate during the euphoric boom times in the Sunbelt….

Louis Bodnar, District Attorney Steve Simmons’ new prosecutor in the Maury Kemp-El Paso Electric Co. conspiracy case, might be having a few bouts of de ja vu before the big trial begins rolling in 168th District Court. 

Sunbelt, a Novel, is the title of a 500 page novel Bodnar wrote in 1986 for Quadrangle Press, Inc. (Washington D.C. – Miami – Texas – Oklahoma) and lawyers have probably boosted sales while trying to get a fix on their newest rival. 

The above quotation is taken from one the title pages and continues …it is also a story of searing and excruciating pain on the fall from grace in a devastating crisis of survival, ultimate choice and purpose, and triumph of the human spirit.  As a story of complex emotions, of tenderness, and of feeling and falling, it draws darkly profound conclusions that are both astonishing and provocative.”

Peter Brock 

El Paso Herald-Post

El Paso, Texas 

November 25, 1991 


Oklahoma City, Oklahoma, December 17, 1986

“Louis J. Bodnar enjoyed the luxuries that an oil rich economy could give.  He drove Lambourghini sports cars flew in a private Lear Jet, and made mega million real estate deals in his plush suite of offices.

“It was in 1976 that Bodnar began his own law firm – specializing in real estate law.   By 1978 he was recognized as one of the best real estate lawyers in the state.  By 1983, less than seven years later after opening his firm, Bodnar had been leas counsel in more than $ 1 Billion worth of real estate transactions and represented 14 Oklahoma, Colorado and Texas banks, two real estate mortgage companies and two regional insurance companies.

“From January to November of 1982, in addition to practicing law, Bodnar was the interim chief executive officer of a major venture capital company conducting business in Colorado, Oklahoma, Texas, Florida and Georgia.  On April 2, 1983, an $ 84 million lawsuit was filed, the first of many naming Bodnar as co – defendant, stopping his real estate empire ‘dead in the water.’

“Bodnar’s success gave him a lifestyle most people only dream of.  However, that dream began to fade as his investments turned sour and he found himself caught in a whirlpool of litigation and bad banking deals.

“A few weeks later, Penn Square Bank was declared insolvent, starting an international toppling of financial dominoes that has not yet stopped.

“Even though the suit was dismissed in December of 1984, Bodnar remained a defendant in other litigation.  He was a victim of the economic bust.

“It is his story, told through the eyes of a fictionalized character, Steven Vandorol, that make up his recently released novel, Sunbelt.  The thick trade paperback is enjoying brisk Southwest popularity.

“Despite the central theme of the novel, Bodnar is quick to point out, Sunbelt is not another “Penn Square book.”

“This isn’t another Penn Square book.  We’ve had plenty of books that deal with the oil and gas boom and crash.  But they totally ignored the even greater real estate boom and crash that that was involved as well.  One crash led to another.  A whole half of the story remained untold – real estate wasn’t even touched on,” said Bodnar.

“Until now.

“The main character of Bodnar’s novel is an attorney named Steven Vandorol – a man who lived life much like Bodnar once did.

“The story traces Vandorol’s life – in the grip of forces beyond his control – as he falls from multi-millionaire status to bankruptcy.  The story details from an insider’s point of view the booming oil and real estate industry of the late seventies and its cataclysmic crash in the early 1980’s.

“It is sort of a modern high finance retelling of the Grapes of Wrath by John Steinbeck.

                                                         By Kenneth Siens for the

                                                         Oklahoma Gazette

                                                         Oklahoma City, Oklahoma

                                                         December 17, 1986