President Bush's son, Neil, accused of unethical conduct while a director at a savings and loan that collapsed under the weight of millions in bad loans, says he believes he always acted in the thrift's best interest.
Appearing confident and somewhat combative, Bush testified Thursday as the final witness in the first public hearing by the Office of Thrift Supervision into the collapse of an S&L. He said he never felt any conflict of interest, despite the approval of loans to two associates made while he served as a director of Silverado Banking, Savings and Loan.Expected to cost taxpayers $1 billion, the collapse of Silverado was one of the largest thrift failures in the nation, but has received even more attention because of Bush's involvement.
Administrative Law Judge Daniel Davidson will decide if the president's son acted improperly during his three-year term as an outside director of Silverado.
The OTS has accused Bush, 35, of violating conflict-of-interest regulations by failing to fully disclose his business dealings with Denver developer Bill Walters while voting on $111 million in loans and transactions for Walters. He also allegedly failed to fully disclose his financial relationship with Ken Good, another developer and major Silverado borrower. Walters and Good defaulted on about $130 million in Silverado loans.
Bush, leaning forward on his elbows and using hand gestures, testified he believed other members of the board of directors were generally aware of his business relationships with Walters and Good. But he said he did not recall any specific discussions with board members about those ties.
"My loyalty to Silverado was never impaired by my relationship to Bill Walters," said Bush. "I had absolutely no doubt that I didn't have a conflict."