Billy Bush, host of the television show “Extra” to whom former President Donald Trump bragged in 2005 about kissing and groping women, has sued a Maine boat dealer for allegedly failing to deliver a boat for which he has partially paid.
Bush, 50, of California also claims that Yachting Solutions, LLC of Rockport failed to refund his down payment on the $257,000 motor boat when he demanded one.
The lawsuit was filed Tuesday in U.S. District Court in Portland by Bush’s attorney, Lee Bals of Portland. Bush is seeking a refund of the $171,474 deposit for the boat and attorneys’ fees. An attorney for Yachting Solutions attributed the delay to supply chain challenges related to the COVID-19 pandemic that he said were not unique to the boating industry.
The case is in federal court because Bush, a first cousin to former President George W. Bush and ex-Florida Gov. Jeb Bush, lives in the Los Angeles area and the business is located in Maine.
Bush was fired from the “Today” show in 2016 when the 2005 tape with Trump became public. Trump and Bush were on a bus on their way to film an episode of Access Hollywood, which Bush then hosted, when the exchange was recorded. Bush engaged with Trump while the man who would go onto become president bragged about kissing, groping and trying to have sex with women.
The recording surfaced during Trump’s campaign for president the month before the election. The following year, Bush said that he wished he’d changed subjects when Trump talked about grabbing women by the genitals.
Bush, whose full name is William Hall Bush, has hosted “Extra,” a syndicated newsmagazine on the Fox network since 2019. He had been on “Today” for only two months when he was fired in 2016.
The lawsuit stems from Bush’s decision to purchase a 26-foot Century Coronado dual console motorboat in May 2021 from Yachting Solutions. The purchase agreement called for three payments of more than $85,000 each with the final installment due on delivery, according to the complaint.
Bush allegedly told the company that he was in Maine to take delivery on July 1, 2021, but was told the boat could not be delivered. The firm offered Bush “a comparable boat,” which he refused, the complaint said.
In September 2021, the Yachting Solutions salesman working with Bush allegedly texted him to say his money would be refunded, but it was not.
Information about where Bush intended to use the boat or whether he has a home in Maine was not included in court documents.
Gary Vogel, the Portland attorney representing Yachting Solutions, said Wednesday that the delay in delivery was because of problems with the manufacture of a new boat during a pandemic.
“Unfortunately, production of the boat was delayed due to supply chain issues and staffing shortages resulting from COVID,” Vogel said. “The supply chain issues are affecting this entire industry, along with other industries, such as new vehicles.
“Some customers are more understanding than others,” the lawyer continued. “We are working to resolve the situation with the customer and with the manufacturer, but see this primarily as an issue with the manufacturer, which is by no means unique in this [industry].”
The Bush family’s connections to Maine run deep.
A compound in Kennebunkport has been in the Bush family for generations, and served as a summer retreat for Billy Bush’s uncle, the late former president George H. W. Bush.
Billy Bush’s older brother, Jonathan Bush, is the co-founder of the health care services firm athenahealth, which has operations in Belfast.