|Name||Neil Mallon Bush|
, , United States
|| January 22, 1955
|Last Modifed||Thomas Walker|
Oct 11, 2007 01:22pm
|Info||Neil Mallon Bush (born January 22, 1955 in Midland, Texas) 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 President George Walker Bush, former Florida Governor Jeb Bush, and the late 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. |
Neil Bush was named after a good friend of the family, Henry Neil Mallon, chairman of Dresser Industries, George H. W. Bush's employer (Mallon had himself been hired by George Herbert Walker, George Bush's grandfather). As a child Bush spent some summers and holidays at his family's estate in Maine, the Bush Compound.
At age 11, Neil entered the exclusive private St. Albans School in Washington, DC. Neil struggled through school. A counselor told his mother, Barbara Bush, that it was doubtful Neil had the potential to graduate. Neil was 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, Neil attended Tulane University where he earned an economics degree in 1977, and then an MBA in 1979.
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, Neil's role in Silverado's failure was a focal point of publicity. According to a piece in Salon Magazine, Silverado's collapse cost taxpayers $1 billion.
The US Office of Thrift Supervision investigated the failure of Silverado 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.
In 1999 Bush co-founded Ignite! Learning, an educational software corporation. Bush has said he started Austin-based Ignite! Learning six years ago because of his learning difficulties in middle school and those of his son, Pierce Bush. 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, Barbara and former President George Bush, 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. Russian billionaire expatriate Boris Berezovsky, Berezovsky's partner Badri Patarkatsishvili, Kuwaiti company head Mohammed Al Saddah, and Chinese computer executive Winston Wong are documented investors.
In 2002, Neil Bush said his brother's (George W. Bush) commitment to education is real, 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.”
As of October 2006, over 13 U.S. school districts (out of over 14,000 school districts nation-wide) 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.
A December 2003 Style section article in the Washington Post reported that Bush's salary from Ignite! was $180,000 per year.
Bush's relationship with 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, has been noted in the media. Berezovsky has been an investor in Bush's Ignite! program since at least 2003. Bush met with Berezovsky, who has been described as "notorious" and a "wheeler-dealer", in Latvia. The meeting caused tension between that country and Russia due to Berezovsky's fugitive status. Bush has also been seen in Berezovsky's box at a British soccer stadium for a game, which prompted some stateside criticism. 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."
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.
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.
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.
Bush serves as co-chairman of a company called Crest Investment. Crest pays him $60,000 a year to provide miscellaneous consulting services.
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.
In, 2002, Neil Bush told the New York Post (8-14-02) 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 CNN Interview with Connie Chung, Neil said:
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. Activists Lisa Marie Presley and Bruce Wiseman, both Scientologists, also testified at these hearings supporting a stricter ban on psychological medications, as opposed to Bush's warning against false diagnoses.
He has suggested that many parents fall for 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."
Neil Bush (along with filmmaker Michael Moore) is credited in the cast of a 2005 documentary called "The Drugging of Our Children" directed by Gary Null. In the film's trailer Neil says: "Just because it is easy to drug a kid and get them to be compliant doesn't make it right to do it".
Bush and his former wife of 23 years, Sharon Smith, are the parents of three children; Lauren, Pierce, and Ashley. Neil and Sharon divorced in April 2003.
Bush's divorce deposition gained public attention when he admitted to several sexual encounters with high-priced escorts in Thailand and Hong Kong. Among other divorce testimony aired in the press, Neil 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. At various times, Sharon Bush publicly spoke of her fear of retribution by Neil, 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 Neil's mother, Barbara Bush. Robert Andrews, the ex-husband of Maria, sued Neil's ex-wife Sharon in September 2003 for defamation after Sharon alleged that Neil was the father of Andrews' two-year-old son.
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."
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. Some of his comments on the Israeli-Palestinian relations have brought him controversy.
The White House appears unfazed by his globe-trotting. "The president knows his brother will always do the right thing," press secretary Ari Fleischer said."
In Asia, Neil Bush accompanied Sun Myung Moon on his world peace tour.
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.