Robert L. "Red" Bone

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Robert L. "Red" Bone
Occupation Commodity Broker

Robert L. "Red" Bone is a former Arkansas based commodity broker who operated an office in Springdale, Arkansas for Refco, Inc. He had a troubled regulatory history as a broker and was fined and suspended in 1980 by the Chicago Mercantile Exchange from engaging in any brokerage or sales activity for three years.

He became well known as the futures broker that Hillary Clinton used for trading cattle futures in the late 1970s.[1][2] Bone was a former employee with Tyson Foods. He worked for Tyson between 1960 and 1973 and rose to become the personal bodyguard of Tyson chairman, Donald J. Tyson.


Bone opened a brokerage office in Sprindale, Arkansas under Refco, Inc.'s name and signed an agreement to run it in February of 1977. However, in December of 1977, the Chicago Board of Trade brought disciplinary actions against Bone, which resulted in him being removed from supervisory duties. Bone then became an account executive for Refco, signing a new standard account executive agreement which obligated Bone to guarantee the accounts of his customers.[3]

When the cattle market took a sharp turn down in the fall of 1979, Bone in his personal account and his customers sustained substantial losses, including deficits in their accounts. Bone claimed Refco CEO Thomas Dittmer was responsible for the losses.[4] Bone would enter into a settlement agreement with Refco and execute two promissory notes to cover the loses. Bone was also indemnified by Refco for any losses, costs or expenses because of potential losses brought by customers to recover their losses.

Customers of Bone were reported by the New York Times in 1994 to have lost homes, depleted bank accounts and "frantically sold their high priced toys" as a result of the losses in the cattle trades through Bone.[5] Hillary Clinton avoided the losses by stopping trading before cattle prices collapsed.

Subsequent to the cattle price collapse, the Chicago Mercantile Exchange brought disciplinary action against Bone, which resulted in him being suspended from engaging in brokerage or sales activities for three years. He reportedly continued to run the Springdale, AR sales office until July of 1981 when it was shut down.

In 1981 Bone sued Refco claiming they had breached their 1977 agreement by failing to pay interest on reserve commissions and failing to follow through on a clause to buy feeder cattle for his personal account. Refco filed a counter suit, which resulted in both being awarded over $900,000 by a jury. However, a court later vacated the award to Bone.