TBogg

Let’s not forget the herpes…..

AP is covering Neil Bush and doing it badly.

Rex John, who has known Neil Bush since his Denver days, said he has never known Neil Bush to use his family connections to obtain business opportunities.

“I’m sure it has opened many doors for him, but it wasn’t Neil out there trying to get them open,” John said. “Neil would never do anything like that. That’s not his style.”

Oh really?

Neil Bush, most famous for the scandal surrounding the corrupt practices of Colorado’s Silverado Savings & Loan, where he served as a director during the 1980s, also picked plums from Persian Gulf orchards. In 1993, after his father left the White House, Neil went to Kuwait with his parents, brother Marvin and former Secretary of State James A. Baker III. When his father left, Neil stayed to lobby for business contracts, and after returning home evolved a set of lucrative relationships with Syrian-American businessman Jamal Daniel. One of their ventures, Ignite!, an educational software company, also included representatives of at least three ruling Persian Gulf families.

AP also states:

It is not the first time Neil Bush has caused his family some trouble. At the end of his father’s presidency, Neil was among a group of defendants who agreed to pay $49.5 million to settle a negligence lawsuit over the $1 billion collapse of the savings and loan he directed in Colorado.

Bush denied wrongdoing and was not charged in the grand jury investigation, but the U.S. Office of Thrift Supervision found Bush’s conduct “involved significant conflicts of interest and constituted multiple breaches” of his fiduciary duties.

Oh really?

In 1990, Bush paid a $50,000 fine and was banned from banking activities for his role in taking down Silverado, which actually cost taxpayers $1.3 billion. A Resolution Trust Corporation Suit against Bush and other officers of Silverado was settled in 1991 for $26.5 million. And the fine wasn’t exactly paid by Neil Bush. A Republican fundraiser set up a fund to help defer costs Neil incurred in his S&L dealings. Friends and relatives contributed — but not then-President and Barbara Bush, which would have been unseemly. Since then, the Bush political combine has done such a remarkable job keeping Neil in the background that what seemed like a 10-year news blackout didn’t end until mid-February, when the Austin Business Journal reported that Bush “quietly is heading a local start-up that’s raising at least $10 million in second-round funding.” According to the business newsweekly, Bush has already raised $7.1 million from 53 investors underwriting Ignite! Inc., an educational software company. After being banned from banking and all but airbrushed out of the family portrait — or at least the family news profile — Neil Bush is back.

Bush wasn’t just an average S&L exec drawing a big salary and recklessly pushing a federally insured institution beyond its lending limits. As a director of a failing thrift in Denver, Bush voted to approve $100 million in what were ultimately bad loans to two of his business partners. And in voting for the loans, he failed to inform fellow board members at Silverado Savings & Loan that the loan applicants were his business partners. Federal banking regulators later followed the trail of defaulted loans to Neil Bush oil ventures, in particular JNB International, an oil and gas exploration company awarded drilling concessions in Argentina — despite its complete lack of experience in international oil and gas drilling. It probably helped that the Bush family had cultivated close ties with the fabulously corrupt Carlos Menem, former president of Argentina.

When JNB’s rights and obligations were assumed by other investors, Neil tried to persuade another American oil and gas exploration company, Plains Resources, to invest in Argentina. Plains wasn’t buying. But it was hiring, and picked up Neil as a consultant for its Argentine market — because, as Plains executive Carlos Garibaldi told The New York Times’ Jeff Gerth in 1992, Neil had “traveled [in Argentina] and played tennis with President Menem.” Plains President J. Patrick Collins told Gerth at the time that Neil Bush “bent over backwards not to trade on his name.”

That claim was hard to make in 1993, when Neil, Marvin, James Baker III, John Sununu, and Thomas Kelly (who had served as director of operations for the Joint Chiefs of Staff during the Gulf War) joined President Bush on a trip to Kuwait. Three months out of office, the elder Bush was traveling on a Kuwait Airlines flight to accept an honorary degree from the country’s university and its highest honor from its leader: Emir Sheikh Jabir al-Ahmad al-Sabah. The rest of the Bush entourage was following along to exploit the market in a country that considered the ex-president its savior. Former Secretary of State Baker was doing deals for Enron (the Houston-based energy-related company and contributor to Bush the Elder and later a $525,000 donor to George W. Bush’s two gubernatorial races in Texas). Marvin was representing U.S. defense firms selling electronic fences to the Kuwaiti Defense Ministry. And Neil was selling anti-pollution equipment to Kuwaiti oil contractors.

There is “no conflict of interest. … We’re just capitalizing on whatever good feelings exist,” an executive from the company Neil Bush represented later told Seymour Hersh, who laid out the embarrassing story on the pages of The New Yorker in September 1993. Neil, according to Hersh, later returned to Kuwait and set up shop in the International Hotel in Kuwait City, where he tried to secure a management contract with Kuwait’s Ministry of Electricity and Water. Neil’s deal included foreign and Kuwaiti members of the Enron consortium, and would have had the Kuwaiti government paying a management fee to a Kuwaiti company that was owned in part by a private company set up in the Caribbean or some other tax haven. “The offshore firm would have various owners, in Europe and elsewhere, one of which would be a company in which Neil Bush had an interest,” The New Yorker reported. The scheme was ingenious, a financial analyst told Hersh.”If you looked at one of the contracts, how in the hell would you know that Bush was in it?” The whole deal was as unsavory and unpardonable as a round of golf with Hillary Clinton sibling Huey Rodham.

Nice to see that AP did their homework…they just failed to turn it in. I give them a C-.

Next time, show work.

Previous post

Next post

TBogg

TBogg

Yeah. Like I would tell you....