The Buying of the President 2000, By Charles Lewis © The Center for Public Integrity

Indeed, once Bush signed on, business at Harken began to pick up.

When Harken bought out Spectrum 7, the company was broke and desperately
needed a cash infusion.. As the talks with Spectrum 7 progressed, Harken officials were lining up a major new financial backer: Harvard Management Company, Inc. The investment firm's only client is Harvard University; it manages the school's multi-billion dollar endowment.

A month after Bush came on board, Harvard Management agreed to invest at least $20MM in Harken. it would eventually come to own some ten millions shares of Harken's stock, making it one of the company's largest investors.

The Bush name may have helped seal the deal.

Michael Eisenson, a partner in Harvard Management Company, who sat on Harken's board of directors, said that he and other Harvard officials picked Harken after reviewing several proposals from energy companies. "Harken management seemed capable and honest," Eisenson said.

The Bush name certainly would have made an impression on Eisenson's boss, Robert Stone, Jr., who was one of Harvard Management's directors. Stone was the "driving force" behind Harvard's Southwest oil and gas investments, according to Scott Sperling, who worked with Eisenson at Harvard. Stone himself was a player in the Texas oil and gas industry; at the time, he was the chairman of Kirby Exploration, an oil and gas transportation company based in Houston. As a longtime resident of Greenwich, Connecticut, he also knew the Bushes. His father in law, Godfrey Rockefeller, had invested in George Bush's oil drilling ventures in the 1940's. Stone's brother, Galen L. Stone, was the US envoy to Cyprus during the first Reagan-Bush
Administration. In 1980 and 1988 he contributed to the elder Bush's presidential campaign.

Harken was Harvard Management's first major investment in Texas wildcat operations, a part of the university's investment history it would rather forget. The investments in oil and gas would eventually generate nearly $200 million in loses for the endowment.

The university's commitment to Harken was suprising in view of the bad shape the company was in. "I took some time and looked at it and I went, God, I don't want to be anywhere near this," a prospective investor in Harken from the late 1980's told the Center. "This thing looks like a train wreck."

By Harken executives' own accounts, the company's financial statements were "a mess" and " a fast numbers game" But insiders insist that Harvard's money managers wouldn't have kept pumping money into Harken if they didn't thing it would become profitable.

For a time, they had reason to believe it would.

The Bahrain agreement, announced on January 30, 1990, seemed to justify Harvard's enthusiasm for Harken. (Note from Solari: See the book "False Profits" on the allegations surrounding the dropping of indictments by the Bush Administration against BCCI's Miami and Caribbean operations and Harken's first non domestic oil deal and alleged relations between the two investor groups).

(There follows a long description of Bush selling his Harken stock for a profit and the violations of fiduciary standards as well as SEC law and a few other practices described in the Harper's article and the World Net Daily articles)

One of the questions the SEC didn't answer was who bought Bush's stock.

In his statement of intent to sell, which Bush also had to file with the SEC, he said he was putting his 212,140 shares on the open market. That was nearly twenty times the daily volume of stock that traded on average during June 1990; without a buyer willing to absorb such a large block of stock, the share price would have plummeted.

Under questioning by SEC investigators, Ralph Smith, a Los Angeles broker with Sutro & Company, who handled the sale, said that he solicited the shares at the behest of an institutional investor, which he didn't name.

The available evidence suggests that the investor was Harvard. The university increased its holdings in Harken around the time. No new institutional investors appeared on the scene. At the bottom of a spreadsheet Smith used to record his calls to Bush was the name of Michael Eisenson, along with the telephone number of Harvard Management. (Eisenson did not return the Center's telephone calls).

Finally, nine years after its investment in Harken helped save Bush from financial ruin, Harvard Management Company got a deal on a piece of real estate it bought from the Texas Teachers Retirement System. In 1995 the Texas Teachers Retirement System sold the Anatole Hotel is Dallas to a partnership that included the Crow family, which owns a controlling interest in Trammell Crow Company, one of the nation's top real estate management companies, and Harvard Management. Without taking bids, the Texas Teachers Retirement reportedly sold the hotel for $27 million less than it had spent to make improvements on the structure.