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Regulators Sue President’s Son, Others for ‘Gross Negligence’

September 21, 1990

WASHINGTON (AP) _ Federal regulators charged President Bush’s son Neil and other officers of the bankrupt Silverado Banking, Savings and Loan Association with ″gross negligence″ in a civil suit filed today.

The suit, filed by the Federal Deposit Insurance Corp. in U.S. District Court in Denver, seeks damages of $200 million.

The suit accuses the directors of ″gross negligence,″ according to a statement by the agency. Bush and his attorneys were not immediately available for comment.

″Our conclusion is that Silverado was the victim of sophisticated schemes and abuses by insiders and of gross negligence by its directors and outside professionals,″ FDIC Senior Deputy General Counsel Douglas H. Jones said in a statement.

Neil Bush served on the board of the institution from August 1985 to August 1988. It was seized by regulators on Dec. 9, 1988. The failure cost taxpayers an estimated $1 billion.

″We are seeking in this case to recover every available dollar for the federal deposit insurance funds and the American taxpayers,″ Jones said.

In addition to Bush, officials of the Denver-based Silverado named as defendants were: Michael Wise, chairman and chief executive officer; Robert Lewis, chief financial officer; Richard Vandapool, chief operating officer; Russell Murray, executive vice president; W. James Metz, who owned 88 percent of Silverado’s stock, and board members Florian Barth, Richard Bunchman, Diane Ingels, Marjorie Page and Richard Vitkus.

The FDIC said improper loans and investments were made by Silverado’s officers and approved by its directors. Many of the transactions violated federal regulations, it said.

The agency also named the thrift institution’s lawyers as defendants. They are the firm of Sherman & Howard of Denver, general counsel to Silverado from 1984 to 1988, and Ronald Jacobs, a partner in the law firm who served on the board of the institution’s holding company.

The law firm and its attorneys placed ″the interests of a few insiders over those of the institution they were retained to protect,″ the FDIC said in a statement.

Separately, Bush faces a public hearing in Denver starting next Tuesday on thrift regulators’ charges of conflict of interest.

The Office of Thrift Supervision is seeking an order against Bush that effectively could bar him from working for a bank or a savings and loan. The thrift agency contends that Bush failed to adequately disclose to Silverado his business relationships with developers Kenneth M. Good and Bill L. Walters, two big borrowers from the institution who defaulted on their loans.

Silverado was closed by the Federal Home Loan Bank Board, which was dismantled by last year’s S&L legislation. The FDIC inherited many of that agency’s responsibilities.

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