Wednesday, January 14, 2009

The Curious Case of John Ellis Bush

John Ellis Bush, nicknamed Jeb, holds a number of corporate board slots, Tenet Health, Rayonier, and CNL Bancshares. Business Week indicates Jeb served on the board of Lehman Brothers Inc., a private firm that's part of Lehman's corporate family. Lehman Brothers Holdings is the public company that imploded in September.

CNBC's Jim Cramer believes the failure of Lehman a colossal mistake and Hank Paulson's excuses lame in light of actions it took on AIG. So why did the government let Lehman implode?

My theory is George W. Bush did not want to be seen as rescuing his near relations. Besides Jeb's work as a consultant to Lehman's private equity, cousin George Herbert Walker ran Neuberger Investment Management, Lehman's investment division. September found Republicans in a close race. The Palin boost hadn't dissipated with her vacuous statements or McCain's campaign suspension. John blew off David Letterman for a leisurely rush to Washington. There John attended a meeting where he said not a word.

George H. Walker and Neuberger management bought NIM for half price and no money down relative to a competing Bain Capital offer. Will Jeb get a piece of Lehman's private equity division, currently on the auction block? The rumored major investor, Johann Rupert, served alongside Jeb on the Lehman Brothers Inc. board.