One of Jeb Bush's many new business ventures after he left the Florida governor's mansion in 2007 was InnoVida, a Miami-based company marketing a composite panel that could be used to quickly assemble temporary housing without the need of cement, steel or wood.
Bush joined the company as $15,000-a-month consultant in late 2007 and then as a board member in 2008. He stayed on until September 2010, when he resigned after another board member expressed suspicion that its chief executive, Claudio Osorio, was mismanaging its funds.
Osorio was later indicted by federal prosecutors on nearly two dozen fraud and money laundering counts. He accepted a plea deal in 2013 and was sentenced to 12 1/2 years in federal prison. InnoVida's chief financial officer, Craig Toll, was convicted at trial and sentenced to four years.
There is no evidence that Bush had any knowledge of the fraud. Spokeswoman Kristy Campbell said that “as soon as concerns regarding the company were brought to Governor Bush's attention, he took action to address them immediately.”
Documents filed in federal court as part of the criminal case brought against Toll show that Bush could have made substantial money off InnoVida's success.
In March 2009, Bush signed four agreements with a Cayman Island-based subsidiary of InnoVida to help find prospective partners to build factories in Nigeria, Mexico, South Africa and Florida. Under the agreement, he was guaranteed 8 percent of the total investment made by a partner in a factory or a 3 percent commission for customers he referred to the factories. Campbell said no commissions resulted from the deals.
Documents also show that Bush actively solicited information about the company's management. In September 2009, after attending his second board meeting, Bush e-mailed Toll for information about InnoVida's board of directors insurance and its finances:
The chief financial officer sent him an unaudited cash flow statement and could not provide information about the insurance at that time:
Bush stayed on for another year, until fellow board member Christopher Korge told him that he suspected Osorio was mismanaging funds. Bush attended one last board meeting, scribbling notes on his agenda, before submitting his resignation three days later.