BY PAM EASTON The Associated Press: Jan. 27, 2004
HOUSTON In the annals of embarrassing presidential relatives, Neil Bush is no Billy Carter or Roger Clinton.
But his messy divorce has produced some eye opening disclosures. Among them: He had sex with women who showed up uninvited at his hotel rooms in Asia; he had an affair and may have fathered a child out of wedlock; and he stands to make millions from businesses in which he has little expertise including a computer-chip company managed in part by the son of former Chinese President Jiang Zemin.
It seems certain opportunities tend to present themselves when your name is Neil Bush.
For his part, Bush, 48, defended the fees he has received for consulting jobs. But he gave little insight into whether the women who offered him sex in Hong Kong and Taiwan were perhaps paid by mysterious benefactors.
In a deposition taken last March and reviewed by The Associated Press, Bush told the attorney for his wife of 23 years, Sharon, that the women did not ask him for money and he did not pay them anything.
Asked how he knew what to do when he opened his door and saw a woman standing there, Bush replied: “Whatever happened, happened.”
“It's a pretty remarkable thing for a man just to go to a hotel room door and open it and have a woman standing there and have sex with her,” said the attorney, Marshall Davis Brown.
“It was very unusual,” Bush replied.
Sharon Bush also accused Neil of fathering a child with the woman he now plans to marry. The woman’s ex-husband has filed a defamation lawsuit against Sharon Bush, and DNA testing has been requested.
The titillating details have made barely a splash in Texas, where loyalty to the president runs deep.
Jimmy Carter's beer swilling brother, Billy, wrote a book called "Redneck Power" and accepted money from the government of Libya. Bill Clinton's half-brother, Roger, was jailed for a year for dealing cocaine. Richard Nixons kid brother Donald took $205,000 from Howard Hughes in the hopes of opening a fast food chain selling Nixonburgers.
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.
Bush has gone on to reap profits from other ventures. In the deposition, he said he hoped to receive an estimated $2 million for acting as a consultant to Grace Semiconductor Manufacturing Corp., co founded by Jiang Zemin’s eldest son.
“Now, you have absolutely no educational background in semiconductors, do you Mr. Bush?” Brown asked.
“That’s correct,” said Bush, who holds an MBA from Tulana.
Bush recently told the AP he has “not received one penny of compensation” from Grace Semiconductor because he never did the consulting. He did not respond to a request for comment on his divorce proceedings.
Bush has focused most of his energy on Ignite Inc., an Austin based educational software startup. So far, he has raised $23 million from investors.
After Neil Bush severed his 23 year marriage to Sharon in May, he proposed last month in France to Maria Andrews, a former volunteer for former first lady Barbara Bush.
Sharon Bush's lawyer in the defamation case, David Berg, allowed the AP to review the deposition but said he did not have a copy of Sharon Bush’s testimony. He would not make her available for an interview.
Sharon Bush, 51, alleged her ex-husband could have fathered Andrews’ 3 year old son. That prompted Andrews” former husband to file a defamation lawsuit against Sharon Bush. Neil Bush submitted a tissue sample for analysis.
In the meantime, he has been ordered to pay $1,500 a month in child support for two of his children, Pierce, 17 and Ashley, 14. The couple's oldest child, Lauren, is 19.