Neil Bush admits chance of conflict in Silverado case

September 28, 1990|By Knight-Ridder News Service

DENVER -- After months of declarations that he'd done nothing wrong, Neil Bush acknowledged the "possibility" yesterday of a conflict when Silverado Banking, Savings and Loan Association let his major business partner partially off the hook for $32 million in loans.

In three hours of questioning under oath, Mr. Bush was initially defiant and combative with government regulators about three conflict-of-interest charges against him. But he ultimately conceded that, in hindsight, one of the decisions Silverado made while he sat on its board could have benefited his own oil company.

The questionable incident occurred in 1986, when the man who was bankrolling Mr. Bush's oil company, Denver developer Kenneth Good, was having trouble repaying $32 million in Silverado loans. While Mr. Bush was on Silverado's board, Mr. Good asked Silverado to release $12 million in collateral in exchange for $3 million cash. Fearing a greater loss, Silverado agreed.

But at the same time, Mr. Good had secretly agreed to put up to $5 million into Mr. Bush's oil company -- a signed agreement that Mr. Bush never told his fellow board members about, even though he abstained from voting on the agreement.

Yesterday, Mr. Bush explained, "There was no need to make that disclosure because there wasn't a firm agreement, and I was just hoping he'd be able to come through."

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