Weatherford Democrat

AP Story Section

January 9, 2009

Trust buys home next to one purchased by Bushes

DALLAS (AP) — A home next door to the residence that President George W. Bush and first lady Laura Bush will move into when he leaves office has been sold to a trust chaired by a prominent Republican donor, a newspaper reports.

The Dallas Morning News reports in its Thursday online editions that documents filed with Dallas County show the home was purchased on Dec. 10 by American Escrow Co. Its chairman, William A. Kramer, has donated generously to political campaigns of both major parties, but primarily to Republicans.

The 4,700-square-foot brick home in the upscale Dallas enclave of Preston Hollow had remained on the market after news broke that the Bushes purchased the house next door.

Kramer declined in an interview with the newspaper to say for whom the house was purchased and declined to say whether he might move into home. But Kramer did say that it wasn’t for the president.

The White House said the Bushes don’t have any interest in the property.

“The Bushes did not buy the house next door. They don’t know who did,” said Laura Bush’s spokeswoman, Sally McDonough.

She added that the Secret Service also doesn’t have an ownership interest in the house.

Kramer has personally donated $5,000 to Bush campaigns since 1999, according to opensecrets.org, a nonpartisan research group Web site that tracks money in U.S. politics. He has also given large sums to Republican Sens. John Cornyn and Kay Bailey Hutchison as well as to Republican presidential candidates and campaign committees.

But Kramer said that he is not “dyed-in-the-wool” for either Republicans or Democrats.

Kramer, who also is chairman of Republic Title of Texas, discouraged reading too much into his political donations, noting that American Escrow Co. frequently is involved in the purchase of homes in trust.

Trusts are often used in real estate to cloak the identity of a property’s true owner.

“That house got on the market, someone came along and picked it up,” he said.

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