Bill Clinton Severs Burkle Business Ties
By Matthew Mosk
As President Clinton further expanded his campaign activity on behalf of wife Hillary Rodham Clinton, he was also in the process of ending his longtime financial relationship with California supermarket mogul Ron Burkle.
Aides to Clinton and other sources familiar with his business dealings with Burkle confirmed a Wall Street Journal report that the former president is negotiating a large payout as he prepares to sever ties with Burkle's far-reaching investment partnerships, the Yucaipa Cos.
"As we've said for some time, now that the presidential campaign is in full swing he's taking steps to ensure that there is an appropriate transition out of his business relationships should Senator Clinton become the Democratic nominee," said Matt McKenna, President Clinton's spokesman, in an e-mail responding to questions.
Clinton and Burkle are close friends, and Burkle has been a prolific donor and fundraiser both for Clinton's campaigns in the 1990s and for Hillary Clinton's senate and White House bids. Burkle hosted Sen. Clinton's first presidential fundraiser in Southern California at his sprawling Beverly Hills estate.
Clinton's work for Burkle's firm dates back to 2002, but his precise role with the firm, and the amount of compensation he has received, has remained an open question. The firm has made wide ranging domestic investments, and it also has an international arm, Yucaipa Global Fund. Partners in that fund include Burkle, Clinton and the Dubai Investment Group, which has ties to top officials in the United Arab Emirates.
Clinton has been a frequent visitor to Dubai in his post-presidency, including being paid $575,000 for three separate speeches in the fast-developing city between 2002 and 2005.
The firms' foreign partners and overseas investments have increasingly become a political concern for the Clintons, according to a source familiar with Clinton's dealings with Burkle.
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