News & Politics

Neil Finally Makes It


While former president George Bush’s sons Dubya and Jeb are hanging in there as pols and son Marvin is a low-public-profile financier, son Neil is dragging down the family name in a divorce case guaranteed to raise eyebrows in the upper echelons of the WASP world.

Neil has not been a particularly good boy. He first became an embarrassment to the Bushes during the savings and loan scandal of the late 1980s and early 1990s, when he was accused by the government of wrecking Denver’s Silverado S&L through gross conflict of interest. He paid a $50,000 fine and was more or less banned from banking, but he avoided jail. The whole Silverado scandal was reckoned to cost taxpayers $1.3 billion. And the Republicans set up a fundraiser to help Neil cover costs incurred in the mess. As with all her children, Barbara Bush stood stoutly behind the boy, saying Neil had been “persecuted” and “has done nothing wrong.” Noting that the boy suffered from dyslexia, Barbara told a Parade interviewer, “You know, people who have reading disabilities learn to fake. And Neil really had learned to fake.”

Whatever. Neil was pushed into the shadows, where he has tactfully remained over the last decade. Until a Texas business journal discovered he was setting up an education software company called Ignite Inc. and was well on the road to recovery, having raised $7.1 million from 53 investors. Neil was back!

Financially, that is. His personal life is now muddying the waters. In an extraordinary March court deposition, Neil admitted that Asian women found him hard to resist. He said that while he was on business trips in Hong Kong and Thailand, attractive women would appear at his hotel room door looking for sex. What was a gentleman to do? He did as asked.

“You have to admit, it’s pretty remarkable for a man to go to a hotel room door and open it and have sex with” whoever’s at the door, said his ex-wife’s lawyer, Marshall Davis Brown.

“It was very unusual,” said Neil. He insisted that he didn’t know them, did not see them afterward, and didn’t pay them.

“Were they prostitutes?” he was asked.

“I don’t know,” he said.

The business trips took place while Bush was acting as a consultant for Grace Semiconductor Manufacturing Corporation. That concern is backed by the son of the former Chinese leader Jiang Zemin. Bush got $2 million in stock options over five years for his work, although he said in court papers that he had no educational background in semiconductors.

Neil was also questioned about his duties with Crest Investment Corp., which paid him $5,000 a month for four hours of work per week. For Crest, Bush provided “miscellaneous consulting services.”

“Such as?” asked Brown.

“Answering phone calls when the other co-chairman called and asked for advice,” Bush said.

Additional reporting: Ashley Glacel and Sheelah Kolhatkar

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