Inside Jeb Bush's 33 years of now-public tax returns is the tale of a man who made a nice chunk of change on his spin through the revolving door between the public and private sectors.
But the former Florida Governor, current Presidential candidate and newly-minted hater of his own last name, also had a very dramatic relationship with that most Shakespearean of Wall Street institutions; Lehman Brothers.
Shortly after leaving his gubernatorial office in 2007, Jeb signed on with Lehman in an advisor role that filings show paid him about $1.3 million annually. As you might remember, things were pretty terrible at Lehman and executives there clearly hoped that Jeb's little black book of connections could save them all.
Lehman executives talked openly about the value of Mr. Bush’s family connections in the midst of the crisis. Lehman’s chief executive, Richard S. Fuld Jr., discussed the possibility of having Mr. Bush ask his brother President Bush to persuade the British prime minister to allow Lehman’s emergency merger with a British bank, according to testimony from the company’s bankruptcy case. Mr. Fuld never followed through, and Mr. Bush did not call the president, a spokeswoman for him said.
Lehman apparently even used asked the former governor of Florida/presidential brother to touch base with everyone's favorite Mexican billionaire in hopes of getting a little cash infusion.
Within a year of departing the Statehouse, he had signed on as consultant to Lehman Brothers, where he was eventually enlisted to reach out to Mr. Slim in a plan code-named Project Verde. Mr. Slim, however, was not interested in making a major investment in Lehman Brothers or striking up a joint venture with it. “Project Verde was unsuccessful,” Mr. Bush wrote to a Lehman colleague in early July 2008.
Basically, Lehman hoped to pull a Bobby Kennedy out of their hat but ended up feeling like they'd gotten a Roger Clinton.
But since they were paying him so much money, and things were tight, Lehman seems to have gone full depression-era housewife and used every part of the Jeb. As things turned really dark in the fateful summer of 2008, Bush took part in the tactic of throwing his own cash into the tire fire that was Lehman, hoping that the pretty smoke would attract enough new investment to stave off death.
Bush bought $77,000 in Lehman Brothers stock in July 2008. The firm filed for bankruptcy in September 2008 and Bush sold the shares for $54 on Dec. 26, 2008.
But don't feel too bad for ole' John Ellis Bush, his tax filings show that after Lehman sunk into the sea of history, Jeb jumped ship to a similar gig at Barclay's where he's been pulling down $2 million a year.
And it seems like he hasn't even had to beg Carlos Slim again, so he's got that going for him.