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Neil Bush
Born January 22, 1955 (1955-01-22) (age 55)
Midland, Texas
Education Economics (Tulane University)
MBA (Tulane University)
Occupation Businessman
Spouse(s) Sharon Smith (1980–2003)
Maria Andrews (2004–present)
Children Lauren Bush, Pierce Bush, Ashley Bush
Parents George H.W. Bush and Barbara Bush

Neil Mallon Bush (born January 22, 1955) is the fourth of six children of former President George Herbert Walker Bush and Barbara Bush (Barbara Lane Pierce). Neil is the younger brother of former President George Walker Bush, former Florida Governor Jeb Bush, and Robin Bush, who died of leukemia in 1953. He has a younger brother, Marvin, and a younger sister, Dorothy. Neil is a businessman based in Texas.

Contents

Early years

Bush was born in Midland, Texas. He was named after a good friend of the family, Henry Neil Mallon, chairman of Dresser Industries, George H. W. Bush's employer. As a child Bush spent some summers and holidays at his family's estate in Maine, the Bush Compound.

At age 11, he entered the exclusive St. Albans School in Washington, DC. He struggled through school; a counselor told his mother that it was doubtful the boy had the potential to graduate. He was later diagnosed as having dyslexia, and his mother spent much time coaching him through his learning disability. Eventually his grades improved and he graduated from St. Albans in 1973.

After St. Albans, Bush attended Tulane University, where he earned an economics degree in 1977. He earned an MBA in 1979.[1]

Neil Mallon Bush is the leftmost person in the front row in this photograph of the Bush family taken in the early 1960s.

Silverado Savings & Loan

Neil Bush was a member of the board of directors of Denver-based Silverado Savings and Loan during the 1980s' larger Savings and Loan crisis. As his father was Vice President of the United States, his role in Silverado's failure was a focal point of publicity. According to a piece in Salon, Silverado's collapse cost taxpayers $1.3 billion.[2]

The US Office of Thrift Supervision investigated Silverado's failure and determined that Bush had engaged in numerous "breaches of his fiduciary duties involving multiple conflicts of interest." Although Bush was not indicted on criminal charges, a civil action was brought against him and the other Silverado directors by the Federal Deposit Insurance Corporation; it was eventually settled out of court, with Bush paying $50,000 as part of the settlement, as reported in the Style section of the Washington Post.[3]

A Republican fundraiser set up a fund to help defer costs Neil incurred in his S&L dealings.[4]

Ignite! Learning

In 1999, Bush co-founded Ignite! Learning, an educational software corporation. Bush has said he started Austin-based Ignite! Learning because of his learning difficulties in middle school and those of his son, Pierce.[5] The software uses multiple intelligence methods to provide varying types of content to appeal to multiple learning styles.

To fund Ignite!, Bush raised $23 million from U.S. investors, including his parents, as well as businessmen from Taiwan, Japan, Kuwait, the British Virgin Islands and the United Arab Emirates, according to documents filed with the Securities and Exchange Commission. Documented investors include Russian billionaire expatriate Boris Berezovsky, Berezovsky's partner Badri Patarkatsishvili, Kuwaiti company head Mohammed Al Saddah, and Chinese computer executive Winston Wong.

In 2002, Neil Bush commended his brother, George, for his efforts on education as President, but he questioned the emphasis on constant testing to keep federal aid coming to public schools: “I share the concerns of many that if our system is driven around assessments, pencil-and-paper tests that test a kid's ability to memorize stuff, I would say that reliance threatens to institutionalize bad teaching practices.”[6]

As of October 2006, over 13 U.S. school districts (out of over 14,000 school districts nation-wide[7]) have used federal funds made available through the No Child Left Behind Act of 2001 in order to buy Ignite's products at $3,800 apiece.[8]

A December 2003 Style section article in the Washington Post reported that Bush's salary from Ignite! was $180,000 per year.[3]

Bush's relationship with the controversial oligarch Boris Berezovsky, a political enemy of Russian President Vladimir Putin currently under indictment for fraud in Russia and an applicant for asylum in the United Kingdom,[9] has been noted in the media. Berezovsky has been an investor in Bush's Ignite! program since at least 2003.[10] Bush met with Berezovsky in Latvia. The meeting caused tension between that country and Russia due to Berezovsky's fugitive status.[10] Bush has also been seen in Berezovsky's box at an Arsenal's Emirates stadium for a game,[11], which prompted some stateside criticism.[12] There has also been speculation in the English language Moscow Times that the relationship may cause tension in U.S.-Russian bilateral relations, "especially since Putin has taken pains to build a personal relationship with the U.S. president."[13]

Kopin stock trades

In July 1999, Bush made at least $798,000 on three stock trades in a single day of a company where he had been employed as a consultant. The company, Kopin Corporation of Taunton, Massachusetts, announced good news about a new Asian client that sent its stock value soaring. Bush stated that he had no inside knowledge and that his financial advisor had recommended the trades. He said, "any increase in the price of the stock on that day was purely coincidental, meaning that I did not have any improper information."

When asked in January 2004 about the stock trades, Bush contrasted the capital gains he reported in 1999 and 2000 with the capital losses on Kopin stock he reported ($287,722 in all) in 2001. In 2001 Kopin joined a broad decline in high-tech stock valuations.[14]

Foundation for Interreligious and Intercultural Research and Dialogue

Bush was a founding director, along with Pope Benedict XVI (then Cardinal Joseph Ratzinger), of the Foundation for Interreligious and Intercultural Research and Dialogue. The foundation promotes ecumenical understanding and publishes religious texts and was founded in 1999. Bush is no longer on the board of the foundation.[15]

Other business engagements

In 2002, Bush signed a consulting contract that paid $2 million dollars in stock over five years to work for Grace Semiconductor Manufacturing Corp., a firm backed by Jiang Mianheng, the son of former Chinese President Jiang Zemin, plus $10,000 for every board meeting he attends.[16]

Bush serves as co-chairman of a company called Crest Investment. Crest pays him $60,000 a year to provide miscellaneous consulting services.[15][17]

Bush frequently travels to the Middle East, Europe and Asia to negotiate deals and raise capital for various businesses. According to court filings from his divorce, in 2000 he was paid $1.3 million for such work. This includes $642,500 as a commission for introducing an Asian investor to the owners of an American high-tech company.[18]

Anti-Ritalin campaign

In 2002, Neil Bush told the New York Post that he "endured his own Ritalin hell seven years ago when educators in a Houston private school diagnosed his son, Pierce, (then) 16, with Attention Deficit Disorder (ADD) and pushed medication."

In a September 26, 2002, episode of CNN Interview,[19] Bush told Connie Chung:

You know, we have a knee-jerk reaction in this education system where, if the kid doesn't perform well, then the reaction is to try to assign a label. The label is followed by a drug. The drug allows the kid to sit cooperatively, to pay attention, to focus in school.

Bush spent years researching the issue and found that "the educators were wrong" about his son. "There is a systemic problem in this country, where schools are often forcing parents to turn to Ritalin," he said. "It's obvious to me that we have a crisis."

Also that year, Bush testified before a hearing of the United States Congress to speak out against over-medicating children for learning disorders.

He has suggested that many parents believe the ADD and ADHD diagnoses and subsequent medicating of their children because it explains why they aren't doing well in school, saying "it's the system that is failing to engage children in the classroom. My heart goes out to any parents who are being led to believe their kids have a disorder or are disabled."[20]

Neil Bush (along with filmmaker Michael Moore) is credited in the cast of a 2005 documentary called The Drugging of Our Children[21] directed by Gary Null. In the film's trailer[22] Bush says: "Just because it is easy to drug a kid and get them to be compliant doesn't make it right to do it".

Marriage, divorce, and remarriage

Bush and his former wife for 23 years, Sharon Smith, are the parents of three children; Lauren, Pierce, and Ashley. The couple divorced in April 2003.

Bush's divorce deposition gained public attention when he admitted to several sexual encounters with high-priced escorts/prostitutes in Thailand and Hong Kong in which he admitted to catching the STD herpes.[23][24][18][25] Among other divorce testimony aired in the press, Bush's friend John Spalding announced that Sharon had extracted hair samples from her estranged husband in order to place a voodoo curse on him. Sharon Bush later confirmed the forcible hair removal, but she stated that she took the hair to be tested for evidence of drug use.[26] At various times, she publicly spoke of her fear of retribution by Bush, or by the Bush family.

Bush remarried in Houston, Texas, on March 6, 2004, to Maria Andrews. Andrews spent time volunteering with charitable organizations with Bush's mother, Barbara. Robert Andrews, Andrews' ex-husband, sued Sharon Bush in September 2003 for defamation after she alleged that her ex-husband was the father of Andrews' two-year-old son.[26]

Speaking engagements

Bush has often been invited to speak to audiences overseas. Bush says he has courtesy visits with world leaders but has no plans to wade into foreign policy. "Oftentimes because of my father's goodwill, and because of the president being who he is, people might extend an invitation, and it's enjoyable for me," Bush said. "Some of these folks are family friends."[27]

Speaking at a Saudi Arabian economic forum in January 2002, Bush referred to growing anti-American sentiment in Arab countries and said the two peoples must communicate better. He said the Arab P.R. machine is not as good as Israel's.[28]

The Bush-era White House appeared unfazed by his globe-trotting. "The president knows his brother will always do the right thing," press secretary Ari Fleischer said."[27]

In Asia, Bush accompanied Sun Myung Moon, the founder of the Unification Church, on his world peace tour.[29] In 2009 Bush congratulated Moon on the publication of his autobiography at a Unification Church sponsored event. He was quoted as saying: "Rev. Moon is presenting a very simple concept. We are all children of God." [30]

Possible presidential run

In 2006, for being the 1,000th customer of Ignite! Learning, Alamo Junior High School teachers, students and administrators were visited by Bush. Asked by students if he would like to run for president, Bush said he would be sticking to his business venture. He told kids if they googled him, they would see reasons people wouldn't want to vote for him. "The idea of being president isn't something realistic for me," Bush said, adding that students could accomplish anything. He said he takes a lot of shots from the media, particularly in his home town. "It's unjustified, but it comes with the territory of being in the first family," he said.[31]

See also

Notes

  1. ^ Neil Bush
  2. ^ Joshua Micah, "Presidential brother watch: Globe-hopping Neil Bush has impressive new business partners, but what are they buying?", Salon magazine, April 12, 2002
  3. ^ a b Peter Carlson, "The Relatively Charmed Life Of Neil Bush: Despite Silverado and Voodoo, Fortune Still Smiles on the President's Brother", Washington Post", December 28, 2003
  4. ^ The Austin Chronicle: News: O, Brother! Where Art Thou?: Like Hugh Rodham, the Bush Bros. Have Capitalized on Family Ties
  5. ^ "Bush brother visits Alamo Jr. High"
  6. ^ Madison E-Zone News & Events
  7. ^ Table 10. Number of School Districts and Distribution of the School-Age Population by the Total School District Population: 1990 and 2000
  8. ^ http://www.latimes.com/news/nationworld/politics/la-na-ignite22oct22,1,3219644.story?coll=la-news-politics-national&track=crosspromo article
  9. ^ http://www.latimes.com/news/nationworld/nation/la-na-ignite22oct22,0,4402778.story?page=2&coll=la-story-footer
  10. ^ a b Berezovsky, Neil Bush, Latvian businessmen meet
  11. ^ Berezovsky and Bush's brother in the crowd at the Emirates | News | guardian.co.uk Football
  12. ^ Neil Bush: Still Crooked After All These Years
  13. ^ AR-100605-MoscowTimes
  14. ^ CNN.com - Neil Bush makes one-day profit over $170,000 - Jan. 2, 2004
  15. ^ a b Knut Royce and Tom Brune, "Neil Bush, Ratzinger co-founders: President's younger brother served with then-cardinal on board of relatively unknown ecumenical foundation", Newsday, April 21, 2005
  16. ^ Bush's younger brother quizzed over $2m deal - www.smh.com.au
  17. ^ CNN.com - Bush brother's divorce reveals sex romps - Nov. 25, 2003
  18. ^ a b The Relatively Charmed Life Of Neil Bush (washingtonpost.com)
  19. ^ CNN.com
  20. ^ Ritalin Roundup Continues - September 2002 Education Reporter
  21. ^ The Drugging of Our Children (2005) (V)
  22. ^ Film Detail
  23. ^ CNN.com - Bush brother's divorce reveals sex romps - Nov. 25, 2003
  24. ^ Taipei Times - archives
  25. ^ Anthony Harwood, "Bush Brother's Three Affairs", Mirror (UK), July 14, 2003
  26. ^ a b Peter Carlson, Washington Post, "The Relatively Charmed Life Of Neil Bush", December 28, 2003. Retrieved Dec. 15, 2006.
  27. ^ a b USATODAY.com - Neil Bush enters educational software business
  28. ^ Neil Bush says Arab P.R. machine not as good as Israel's - Salon.com
  29. ^ :: Welcome to Manila Bulletin Online ::
  30. ^ http://www.consortiumnews.com/2009/100209.html WTimes, Bushes Hail Rev. Moon], Robert Parry, 10-2-2009
  31. ^ "Bush Brother Visits Alamo Jr. High"

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