Mercer Reynolds

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Biography

Early life

Investment career

Swiss ambassadorship

Reynolds Plantation work

Occupations

Corporations

  • Reynolds, DeWitt & Co.: Co-founder (1979), co-chair (1979-2001)
  • Spectrum 7: Co-chair (1980-1985)
  • Reynolds Plantation: CEO (1985-2001), CEO and chairman (200?-????)

Sports teams

  • Texas Rangers: Co-owner (1989-1998)

Campaigns and PACs

Government positions

  • United States Ambassador to Switzerland and Liechtenstein (2001-2003)

Controversies

Arbusto Energy involvement

Spectrum 7, an oil company started by Reynolds and his business partner William DeWitt Jr., effectively rescued George W. Bush's failing Arbusto Energy in 1984 by merging with it.

Election rigging

Considered, along with his business partner William DeWitt Jr., to be "Rove's bosses" in Jim March and Jill Simpson's election theft diagram. Reynolds and DeWitt were key financiers of Jeff Averbeck's GOP-aligned technology firm SmarTech, which is identified as a central base of operations in the electronic rigging of elections that is alleged to be supervised by Rove.

Political connections

Republican politics

Corporate connections

References

External links

  • Orange County California Genealogical Society records on the Reynolds family (of R.J. Reynolds fame, not necessarily related to Mercer) - cites a Sourcewatch article on Mercer Reynolds: "Mercer Reynolds was confirmed by the United States Senate on August I, 200 I as U.S. Ambassador to Switzerland and Liechtenstein. He was sworn in by Secretary of State Colin Powell on August 14. Ambassador Reynolds presented his credentials to the Swiss Government on September 11, 2001. He served in that position until April 2003.

    Ambassador Reynolds was born in Chattanooga, Tennessee on June 17, 1945. He earned a Bachelor of Science degree in business administration from the University of North Carolina, Chapel Hill, and a Masters of Business Administration degree from the University of Tennessee.

    After serving in the U.S. Army from 1968 to 1969, Ambassador Reynolds took a position with the Coca-Cola Bottling Company in Chattanooga. In 1979, together with his friend and business partner, William DeWitt, he founded Reynolds, DeWitt & Co., an investment firm based in Cincinnati, Ohio. Ambassador Reynolds was co-chairman of the company from 1979 until August 2001, at which time the requirements of U.S. government service led him to step down from that position.

    From 1980 to 1985, Ambassador Reynolds was co-chairman of Spectrum 7 Energy Corporation, which was active in the oil and gas exploration business. He also served from 1985 to 2001 as Chairman and CEO of Reynolds Plantation, an 8000-acre lake and golf community on Lake Oconee, east of Atlanta, Georgia.

    During the 2000 Presidential election campaign, Ambassador Reynolds was co-finance chair in Ohio for the Bush/Cheney campaign and was a member of the Bush/Cheney national executive finance committee. After the election, he was asked by President-elect George W. Bush to be co-chairman of the Presidential Inauguration Committee.

    Ambassador Reynolds' interest in foreign affairs led him to serve on the advisory board of the Center for Strategic and International Studies (CSIS) in Washington, D.C. He has also been actively involved in the board of the Bridging the Rift Foundation, located on the Jordan/Israel border. The foundation seeks to build bridges between people through programs involving economic development, cutting-edge research, and advanced educational opportunities.

    A strong believer in volunteer community service work, Ambassador Reynolds has participated in Summerbridge, a civic organization devoted to tutoring inner-city youth in Cincinnati. He has also been campaign chairman for the National Coalition for the Protection of Children and Families, a group focused on fighting pornography and child abuse. He has been a fundraiser for the United Way charity and the Fine Arts Funds. In addition, he has served on the University of North Carolina Educational Foundation and the University of Cincinnati executive committee."
  • Texans for Public Justice, Bush Pioneer profile on Mercer Reynolds, III: "DeWitt and Pioneer Mercer Reynolds III owned Spectrum 7, the oil company that bailed out Bush�s hemorrhaging Bush Oil Co. in �84. Both of these partners�who also own fast-food and convenience store interests�were big Bush senior donors and major investors in the Texas Rangers baseball team, which made Bush a millionaire 15 times over. Much of this profit derived from a large equity stake that other partners in the investment gifted to Bush as well as the $135 million that local taxpayers forked out for the Rangers� new Ballpark in Arlington. Reynolds also owns Reynolds Plantation Golf Resort, which covers 7,000 acres of woodlands overlooking Lake Oconee on Reynolds� grandfathers� old wood pulp plantation. The resort, which was developed with Bush Pioneer James Reynolds, is clearing additional lakeside land to build million-dollar homes and a Ritz-Carlton Hotel. The Plantation boasts of having raised $700,000 for Bush at a single �99 fundraiser."
  • Texans for Public Justice, Bush Pioneer profile for James M. Reynolds, III: "Reynolds is a developer of the Reynolds Plantation Golf Resort that covers 7,000 acres of woodlands overlooking Lake Oconee. The resort, which is owned by Bush Pioneer Mercer Reynolds, is clearing additional lakeside land to build million-dollar homes and a Ritz-Carlton Hotel. The Plantation boasts of having raised $700,000 for Bush at a single �99 fundraiser. Gov. Zell Miller appointed James Reynolds in �97 to the state Department of Natural Resources Board. Environmental groups said Zell�s appointments to this board lacked a demonstrated commitment to environmental protection. They cited the fact that just one of his five nominees had a background in environmental protection, while two of them were developers. �You cannot have a board administering the cleanup of Georgia�s waters and polluters when they are in the industries that are being regulated,� said Conservation Society President Terry Hughey."
  • Edwardsville Intelligencer, "Reynolds Quits As U.S. Ambassador", 2003/03/03: "Mercer Reynolds III, a former business partner of President Bush, will step down next month as the U.S. ambassador to Switzerland after 18 months on the job, a spokesman said Tuesday. U.S. Embassy spokesman Bruce Armstrong said that Reynolds was leaving to take care of "personal obligations." Reynolds reportedly denied Swiss media speculation that he was quitting to help Bush's campaign for re-election in 2004. Reynolds took over on Sept. 11, 2001, the day of the terrorist attacks. He has praised Switzerland for its cooperation in the attempts since then to shut down international networks to finance terrorism. Reynolds was a partner with Bush in the Texas Rangers baseball team and was a major donor to his 2000 presidential campaign, helping to raise millions of dollars."
  • New York Times, "Old Friend Leads Bush Fund-Raising", 2003/06/21: "Mr. Reynolds, the campaign's national finance chairman, brought Mr. Bush here for a $2,000-per-ticket reception, the second stop in a two-week blitz of fund-raisers by the president. It was a particularly personal gesture on the part of Mr. Reynolds; he scheduled the event for a Four Seasons hotel on the grounds of a luxury resort, the Reynolds Plantation, that he had developed on land that had been in his family for generations. By the time Mr. Bush's brief visit was over -- he spent three hours here and spoke for 35 minutes -- his campaign was $2.2 million richer, on a course to raise at least $20 million by the end of the month in an effort to capitalize on Mr. Bush's postwar popularity and dishearten the Democratic field and its supporters. [...] Mr. Reynolds's role is the latest stemming from a long and mutually beneficial friendship with Mr. Bush, dating to the days when each was struggling to make it in the Texas oil patch. Mr. Reynolds later brought Mr. Bush into the partnership that bought the Texas Rangers baseball team, a deal that helped Mr. Bush amass his own fortune. In 1999 and 2000, Mr. Reynolds, along with his business partner in Cincinnati, William DeWitt, privately raised more than $600,000 for Mr. Bush, making them the most successful fund-raising team for a campaign that set a record by bringing in $100 million in donations. [...] In this first round of fund-raisers, Mr. Reynolds is mixing big-city events in Washington, New York, San Francisco and Los Angeles with receptions in smaller cities where an established network has been able to win commitments from donors quickly, helping pump up the campaign's early figures. Laura Bush held her first event of the campaign today in Chattanooga, Tenn., bringing in $500,000. Chattanooga is Mr. Reynolds's birthplace, and officials said the city was chosen in part because of his confidence that he had a network in place there that could move quickly."
  • Georgia Trend, "Lake Effect", 2007/03/01: "Mercer Reynolds, born and raised in Tennessee, remembers being 7 years old, spending time at his family’s “cabin in the woods,” as he calls it. “My grandfather [Mercer Reynolds, Sr.] was from Greensboro, Georgia,” Reynolds says. “He bought the land in the early 1930s and built his ‘getaway.’ He called it ‘Linger Longer.’” The getaway was a rustic cabin surrounded by acres of pristine forest for hunting and fishing located in Greene County, in between Atlanta and Augusta. In 1971 Georgia Power began construction on Wallace Dam, blocking several rivers, including the Apalachee and Oconee. The end result was that the family getaway was on the bottom of what was now called Lake Oconee, but a good deal of the land surrounding it belonged to the Reynolds family. In the 1980s the family formed Linger Longer Development Corporation to create a strategy for developing the property without disturbing its natural beauty and fragile ecology. [...] The corporation created Reynolds Plantation, a premier residential community, with more than 10,000 acres of property that includes 80 miles of shoreline, five championship golf courses, walking and hiking trails, and access to water sports and recreation on Lake Oconee. Reynolds serves as the board’s CEO and Chairman. The Reynolds family also owns the Ritz-Carlton Lodge, Reynolds Plantation."
  • Cincinnati Business Courier, "Reynolds still has high-powered friends", 2011/05/27: "Bank of America is suing Reynolds’ and his cousin Jamie Reynolds’ development company, Linger Longer Development Co., calling the $155 million note and getting a receiver appointed to run the high-end Reynolds Plantation. The Greensboro, Ga., community includes six golf courses (including one designed by Jack Nicklaus), four marinas and a Ritz-Carlton hotel. The receiver is looking for a buyer. But if one isn’t found, this could be headed for foreclosure. [...] But despite all the problems, Reynolds still has some high-powered friends in his corner. Take Bob Castellini, owner of the Cincinnati Reds. He has invested with Reynolds in other Major League Baseball teams in the past, including the Texas Rangers with former President George W. Bush. Castellini and Reynolds also invested in the Baltimore Orioles and St. Louis Cardinals. [...] Bill DeWitt, who is CEO and principal owner of the St. Louis Cardinals, invested with Reynolds in three baseball teams. He’s also been Reynolds’ business partner for more than 30 years in downtown-based investment banking firm Reynolds, DeWitt & Co. [...] he and Reynolds have been involved in a ton of high-profile, newsworthy deals. In addition to Major League Baseball, they’ve also invested in Coca-Cola Bottling Co., U.S. Playing Card Co. and downtown investment advisory firm Sena Weller Rohs Williams, now known as Osborn Rohs Williams & Donohoe."
  • Murder of Russell Dermond and Shirley Dermond - on the Reynolds Plantation in Eatonton GA in 2014
    • Atlanta Journal-Constitution, "Evidence elusive, but theories narrow in Eatonton murder investigation", 2014/05/17: "May 6 Russell Dermond's headless body is found in the garage of their Reynolds Plantation home. Shirley Dermond, 87, is missing1, possibly abducted, police say. May 8 Putnam County Sheriff Howard Sills says investigators are baffled by the crime. The Dermonds had no known enemies, nothing was missing from the home and there was no sign of forced entry. Shirley Dermond's whereabouts remain unknown. May 9 Autopsy is conducted. Russell Dermond, 88, was likely killed before he was beheaded, according to a medical report. [...] May 16 Shirley Dermond's body is found by fishermen in Lake Oconee. Putnam County Sheriff Howard Sills said she was a homicide victim. May 17 An autopsy is conducted on Shirley Dermond. It concludes that she died of blunt-force trauma to her head. She died before her body was placed in the lake. [...] Everyone in Eatonton, a town famous for its storytellers, has a theory about what happened to Russell and Shirley Dermond, and, until this weekend, the often-wild speculation has gone unchecked. [...] “People have come in with all kind of stories,” said Teresa Hunt, owner of Tangles Salon just off the downtown square. “I’ve heard a lot of people say it was a mob hit.” Sills doesn’t buy that theory, telling the AJC earlier in the week that Dermond, a fast food restaurant franchisee retired for 20 years, wasn’t in the witness protection program. While hard evidence, and firm conclusions, remain elusive, former FBI profiler Clint Van Zandt said there is good reason to believe the killers — at least two or three, he said, a conviction Sills shares — will be captured. [...] There is broad consensus the Dermonds were targeted, for whatever reason. They were obviously well-off, living in an exclusive gated community where homes are valued in the millions. But nothing was stolen from their home, located on a cul-de-sac, with no next door neighbor. The cuplrits are most likely seasoned criminals — “You don’t escalate from shoplifting to decapitation,” Van Zandt said. [...] Taking Russell Dermond’s head, which remains missing, “makes a tremendous statement,” the longtime profiler said. “This is the kind of thing you’d see from a Mexican drug cartel,” he said. [...] “There is nothing to indicate that their children are involved in this,” the sheriff said. A third son died in 2000 while trying to buy drugs in Atlanta, but investigators don’t believe that has anything to do with their case."