This article brings to light the background of Lawrence Coss, 1995's highest-paid executive in corporate America. As CEO of Green Tree Financial, Coss made a fortune drawing on his ability to talk others into a deal, and he leads a company that delves into the circumstances and credit histories of loan applicants. Yet, as CEO of a publicly-held company, he has never granted an interview request to discuss his own background. The story reveals that Coss was once a bankrupt former car salesman from a small town in South Dakota. He built Green Tree into a company with $4.6 million after money was pumped into it by Midwest Federal Savings and Loan. Midwest Federal later collapsed, at a cost to taxpayers estimated at more than $1 billion, and four of its executives were convicted of violating banking regulations and conspiring to hide huge losses at the savings and loan.