After the sale of Anheuser-Busch, Busch IV hits bottom

12:31 PM, Nov 2, 2012   |    comments
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Despite receiving $100 million in the buyout, the book details how money couldn't stop his spiral into a world of depression, drugs, hallucinations and paranoia.

To those who admire and respect him, August Busch IV was a marketing genius who would lead the 150-year-old company into the future.

PART 1: Bitter Brew: New book details Busch IV's spiral into guns, drugs, paranoia

But when Anheuser Busch was sold to InBev in 2008, author Bill Knoedelseder writes Busch spiraled into a dark abyss.

"According to one source quoted in the book he saw little blue men floating around in the air toward the end. He was convinced that there were people out in the woods looking at him. He had cameras out there looking at everything so he could sit in his house and see everything," said Knoedelseder.

By Christmas of 2009 Busch's girlfriend Adrienne Martin and her 8-year-old son Blake were spending a lot of time at the Busch estate and Knoedelseder writes household staff were terrified for the young boy.

He explained, "I was told by sources that there were 30-40 loaded semiautomatic rifles under his bed."

Knoedelseder writes, after several failed attempts at intervention, Busch's mother, sister, and good friend went to the courts to have him involuntary committed.

Statements from sworn affidavits obtained by the I-Team state there were "hundreds of loaded guns in every room...that he was in a highly volatile drug induced state, paranoid, and had weapons at arm's length at all times."

A St. Louis County judge issued the commitment order and Frontenac police were warned to use extreme caution when approaching his home.

"He had control of the gate and he could see everybody so they couldn't just walk up and knock on the door. They were also told that if it really wasn't a surprise, and he ran back into his fortified bedroom, all bets were off and they were in a crisis hostage situation," said Knoedelseder.

"They assembled a tactical team, hostage negotiator, and caravans of black SUVs," he writes.

The rouse involved using an officer who had gone to the house a few days earlier with a social worker. He went to Busch's front gate, saying he was returning for a follow up visit and Busch voluntarily buzzed him.

"He was wearing a bathrobe according to my sources, and he had five weapons in the pockets of his bathrobe, five weapons on his body," Knoedelseder said. Busch willingly went with the officers.

With the Fourth hospitalized at St. John's Mercy, family kicked Martin and her son out of the home and they removed all of the weapons.

"They found approximately 900 weapons and ammo. Lots of ammo. Ammo for all the weapons. You could have held off a small army."

Knoedelseder writes Busch went from St. John's to rehab in Arizona, but left treatment early. As soon as he returned home, Knoedeseder says, the partying resumed.

He explained, "(Busch) goes back to living life the way he did before. The guns were returned to him. They were his property. He had satisfied the court order of rehab. The guns were his property and they were given back to him. And Adrienne Martin and her son moved back in."

Nine months later Adrienne Martin was found dead at the Busch mansion. The medical examiner ruled she overdosed on oxycontin.

Busch would not comment about the book but his close friends and even Knoedeseder believe his legacy has yet to be written.

Knoedelseder said, "He's a bright guy he's got a lot going for him he could do anything with his life. He could be the best spokesperson for sobriety that ever happened. He could save his own life and thousands of others. He'd get booked on every talk show in the country if he had a recovery story to tell. Believe me, the former CEO of AB tells his recovery story, who wouldn't book him?"

"Bitter Brew," which focuses mostly on five generations of the Busch family dynasty, is being developed into a potential television series by Lionsgate, the makers of Mad Men. Knoedelseder says, Oscar nominated movie producer Michael London from "Sideways", is developing it as a cable TV series. Film director John Sayles is also involved in the project.

On Tuesday, Busch settled a wrongful death lawsuit agreeing to pay Martin's parents and ex-husband $1.75 million. Most of the money will go to her son, Blake.

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