Columba Bush, the wife of 2016 Republican presidential hopeful Jeb Bush, once took out more than $40,000 in loans to finance a one-day shopping spree at a high-end Florida jewelry store, according to documents uncovered by The Washington Post. That seemingly out-of-control buying spree was just one example of the possible future First Lady's extravagant spending.
The now-61-year-old Columba Bush's $42,311 jewelry binge — all on credit — came in 2000, just one year into her husband's eight-year tenure as Florida governor. But the spree also came the year after Columba Bush was caught lying on customs forms as she returned from another jewelry shopping spree in Paris, France, according to the documents.
During five days in Paris without her husband, Columba Bush piled $19,000 worth of jewelry and other luxury items into her shopping bags. But she failed to declare their value when she arrived back in the United States, as is required by law.
The then-Florida First Lady was slapped with a $4,100 fine, and issued a statement saying that she was "ashamed" of the episode, while her husband Jeb Bush said, "It is a lot of money, but look, that's between her and me."
But when Jeb Bush left office in 2007, he complained that he had "suffered" during his two terms as governor because his net worth had dropped from about $2 million to $1.3 million while in office.
But he did not say how much of that roughly $700,000 decline was due to his wife's love of purchasing expensive jewelry, often on credit.
"According to the Post report, that during that one-day shopping spree on May 3, 2000, at Mayors Jewelers, Columba Bush took out loans to purchase, 'a $25,600 pair of diamond stud earrings set in platinum; an 18-karat white-gold and diamond bracelet by the Italian designer Bulgari, priced at $10,500; an 18-karat white-gold and diamond necklace, costing $3,200; and another pair of diamond earrings, for $3,300.'"The documents show that Mrs. Bush spent more than $90,000 at Mayors Jewelry alone over the years. Her most recent purchases include an $11,700 Rolex Submariner watch and a $9,500 pair of earrings, both of which she bought on credit.
Since leaving office, Jeb Bush has reportedly swelled his personal bank account to about $10 million, mainly by collecting fees from corporations who invite him to sit on their boards, as well as speaking engagement fees, delivering more than 100 speeches at fees of about $50,000 each.
Jeb and Columba Bush celebrated their 41st wedding anniversary on February 23, the day after the Washington Post report detailing the over-the-top spending habits of the Bush wife.
[Image: Mark Wilson/Getty Images]