MacKenzie Bezos’ father was barred by the SEC in the late 80s after allegedly squandering his clients’ money with his ‘lavish spending’, forcing their family to give up their charmed life in California and move to Florida to live more humbly, it has been revealed.
Bezos, who now goes by the name MacKenzie Scott after her divorce from Amazon founder Jeff, was 17 when her father, Jason Baker Tuttle, was exposed for having depleted his clients’ funds. Until then, she had grown up in extreme wealth in California.
Her family had two homes – one in San Francisco’s Pacific Heights and another in the more rural Marion County – and she attended Hotchkiss, a boarding school in Connecticut.
In 1987, her father filed personal bankruptcy, and filed bankruptcy on behalf of his investment firm, The J. Baker Tuttle Corp.
MacKenzie Bezos’ parents, Holiday and Jason Baker Tuttle. They live in Palm Beach, Florida, and are aged 76 and 80. In the late 80s, he was barred by the SEC
He told investors that he had filed the Chapter Eleven because he was moving headquarters and it was a condition of getting out of the company’s office lease.
However, a 1989 SEC document claims he had failed to refund clients’ much of what they were owed.
It’s unclear exactly how much money he was accused of misappropriating, but the documents claim his company once handled more than $155million in accounts.
‘His lavish spending was the reason the firm was unable to refund much of the funds it owed to clients.
‘The violations were blatant, they were serious, they occurred over an extended time period, the responsible individual, Hr. Tuttle, Sr., knew or should have know that his activities violated the statute and regulations, he attempted to mislead the investigators with false claims that respondents were taking corrective action…. there is a high probability that [he] will repeat the violations since he continues to believe his actions were lawful.’
He fought the allegations.
The family owned this mansion in San Francisco’s Pacific Heights neighborhood. They moved to Florida after Tuttle was barred by the SEC
MacKenzie worked multiple jobs to pay her way through Princeton. She graduated in the 1990s and met Bezos when the pair both worked for a hedge fund in New York City. They married in 1993, when she was 23, and started Amazon the following day. They are shown in 2003
In the SEC documents, the judge wrote: ‘Mr. Tuttle, Sr. believes he did nothing wrong and acted at all times in good faith, and the regulators are engaged in a witchhunt.’
The family left San Francisco and California all together, returning to Palm Beach – where Baker Tuttle was from.
MacKenzie, by then, had applied to Princeton.
She worked multiple jobs to pay her way through the school and described her financial struggles in previous interviews but never explained the financial scandal which preceded them.
The former couple in January 2018
After graduating from Princeton, she moved to New York and started working in a hedge fund. That is where he met Bezos. They were engaged three months later and married in 1993, the following year, when she was 23.
Now 80, her father lives in Palm Beach, Florida, with her mother, Holiday. The pair are regularly seen on the social circuit there and live in a three-bedroom, golf-course community house worth around $600,000 where they hosted a 55th wedding anniversary party in 2018.
It was reported on at the time by The Palm Beach Daily News. Jeff attended the party.
‘The evening included cocktails, hors d’oeuvres, music and a seated dinner, along with wonderful speeches and lots of laughter from their kids, who came in from both coasts with their respective spouses….
‘Also on the guest list…a bunch more who know that it doesn’t matter if the ground is wet as long as the martinis are dry.’
In 1994, the newly-married MacKenzie and Bezos quit their hedge fund jobs and started Amazon while riving from the East Coast to Seattle.
In 2019, after 26 years of marriage and four children, the pair’s separation became public after Bezos was exposed as being in a new relationship with TV personality Lauren Sanchez. They remain together.
MacKenzie gave no public statement about his new romance at the time nor has she since.
They settled their divorce privately and she walked away with $38billion – the highest divorce settlement in history.
Since then, she has kept a low profile but made headlines by donating $1.7billion of her cash to various charities in the form of individual grants.
Bezos is now in a relationship with former TV persona Lauren Sanchez