Wednesday, March 21, 2001

Cincinnatian said to be envoy choice


Swiss ambassadorship appears decided

By Katherine Rizzo
The Associated Press

        WASHINGTON — Mercer Reynolds of Indian Hill, a former business partner of President Bush, is Mr. Bush's choice to become ambassador to Switzerland, a source close to the White House said Tuesday.

        “He is very much on track for Switzerland,” said the source, who spoke on condition of anonymity. The source did not know when Mr. Bush expected to make the nomination.

Reynolds
Reynolds
        The White House has not announced any prospective nominee for that ambassadorship, and would disclose no information Tuesday about Mr. Bush's intentions.
       

Long association

        Mr. Reynolds and Mr. Bush go back a long way, and Mr. Reynolds has been helpful to Mr. Bush in private and political life.

        He and investment firm partner William DeWitt Jr. bailed out Mr. Bush's oil company in 1984 by merging it with their own.

        The two Cincinnati men later made Mr. Bush a part of their 1989 purchase of the Texas Rangers baseball team and had him run the franchise.

        Mr. Reynolds said Tuesday it would not be appropriate to comment, but in past interviews he credited Mr. Bush with getting a deal for a new stadium, signing talented young players, and bringing pitcher Nolan Ryan to Texas to finish his Hall of Fame career.

        “The fans loved him,” Mr. Reynolds said of Mr. Bush. “He'd sign autographs, and was very open and friendly. He brought a lot of people to the ballpark.”
       

Profitable deal

        The affiliation with the Rangers helped make Mr. Bush rich; he put up $606,302 for his shares of the team and sold them for $14.9 million in 1998.

        Mr. Reynolds and Mr. DeWitt raised more than $3 million for the Bush presidential campaign, then were named co-chairmen of his inaugural committee. They helped raise nearly $40 million for inauguration festivities.

        Mr. Reynolds' name as top candidate for ambassador to Switzerland was first reported by the New York Times. The newspaper said Mr. DeWitt was in the running for another, unspecified ambassadorship.

       The Enquirer's Cliff Peale contributed to this story.
       



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