Hillary Clinton’s youngest brother,Tony Rodham, who drew headlines for taking advantage of his Clinton connections in dubious business ventures ranging from mining to electric cars to importing hazelnuts, has died.
The former secretary of state and first lady said on Twitter that Rodham died Friday night. The cause of death was not announced.
“It’s hard to find words, my mind is flooded with memories of him today,” she wrote. “When he walked into a room he’d light it up with laughter. He was kind, generous, & a wonderful husband to Megan & father to Zach, Simon, & Fiona. We’ll miss him very much.”
Rodham was born in 1954 and raised in the Chicago suburbs with his siblings, Hillary and Hugh Rodham.
He worked a variety of jobs, including stints as a prison guard, insurance salesman, repo man and private detective.
He also worked on the Democratic National Committee, helped on his sister’s political campaigns and previously married Nicole Boxer, the daughter of former U.S. Sen. Barbara Boxer.
Rodham had numerous financial difficulties, including failed businesses, a string of shaky investment projects as well as nagging child support payments.
In 2000, as the Clinton administration was coming to a close, Rodham successfully lobbied his brother-in-law, the president, to override the objections of the Justice Department and pardon a Tennessee couple convicted of bank fraud, according to The New York Times.
A congressional investigation later found that Edgar Allen Gregory, Jr. and his wife, Vonna Jo, who were in the carnival business, had paid him almost $250,000 as a “consultant” in their bid to get a pardon.
In 2010, former President Bill Clinton helped Rodham, then short of cash, get a job raising investments in GreenTech Automotive, an electric car company then owned by Terry McAuliffe, an old Clinton friend and later governor of Virginia, the Times reported in 2015.
“I was complaining to my brother-in-law I didn’t have any money. And he asked McAuliffe to give me a job,” Rodham said at a court proceedings involving unpaid legal bills to his lawyer in a child support case, the newspaper said.
He also drew scrutiny as co-chairman of Haiti’s recovery commission, following the devastating 2010 earthquake, for allegedly seeking a multimillion dollar deal to rebuild homes in the ravaged country with funding from the Clinton Foundation.
In court proceedings in an unrelated lawsuit, Rodham explained how someone in Haiti had “donated” 10,000 acres of land to him. In court testimony, he said he had pressed Clinton for helping in breaking through red tape to get funding for the rebuilding project.
“I deal through the Clinton Foundation. That gets me in touch with the Haitian officials,” Rodham said, according to a transcript of his testimony, the Times reported. “I hound my brother-in-law, because it’s his fund that we’re going to get our money from. And he can’t do it until the Haitian government does it.”
The Clinton Foundation said in a statement at the time that it was not aware of Rodham’s Haiti project, which never materialized, and had no involvement in it, the newspaper says. Likewise, Clinton’s office said at the time he had no involvement in the scheme.
In another venture, Rodham sought to export hazelnuts from the Republic of Georgia, where he was linked to a rival to then Georgian President Eduard Shevardnadze, a close Clinton ally. The incident prompted a National Security Council official to intervene to defuse a potential diplomatic embarrassment, according to The Washington Post..
CREDIT – USA TODAY