Jeff Carter's rising career
Brother Billy is not the only international businessman in the Carter family. TIME has learned that the President's youngest son Jeff, 27, has worked since 1978 as a computer consultant and that his clients, at least one of whom has agreed to pay a six-figure fee, included the World Bank and the authoritarian government of the Philippines.
The shiest of the President's four children, Donnel Jeffrey Carter got involved in his little-known career while a student at George Washington University, where he graduated with honors in 1978 with a bachelor's degree in geography, specializing in computer cartography. The technique plots data, like the location of a city's low-income families, on maps as an aid to social workers and urban planners.
At George Washington, Jeff Carter became friendly with a computer instructor, Robert Mercready, now 55, who had just been hired by the university. Mercready had spent 16 years as a desk-bound intelligence analyst for the Defense Intelligence Agency. Mercready and Carter formed Computer Mapping Consultants, Inc. The business move was viewed as quite inappropriate by some of Mercready's colleagues at George Washington and he left the university.
By then, Mercready and Carter were working as consultants for the World Bank. In February 1978 the bank sent Mercready to Yugoslavia to advise the government on a highway planning project. In November the bank sent Mercready to Seoul to determine the best locations for twelve new wholesale marketplaces in the city. The World Bank paid the two-man company at a daily rate of $180 for Mercready and $150 for Carter, sums in line with normal consultant fees. The total payments were $6,600 in fiscal 1978, $19,766 in 1979 and $24,000 in 1980.
Then, in March of this year, things began looking up for Mercready and Carter. At Mercready's suggestion, the World Bank sent the partners (accompanied by Jeffs wife Annette) to Manila to make a study of solid-waste disposal in the city. The project, for which they were paid $10,000, was part of an ambitious slum rebuilding program that is the special cause of Imelda Marcos, wife of Strongman President Ferdinand Marcos.
President Carter approved his son's trip, according to Secret Service records. He also told the State Department that Jeff and Annette were to be considered ordinary citizensthey were not to be briefed in advance or given red-carpet treatment by the U.S. embassy in Manila. Nonetheless, the visit was hardly routine. Mercready, Jeff and Annette Carter were met at the airport by Marcos' younger daughter Irene. They paid a courtesy call on Imelda Marcos. Jeff and Annette also were guests at Imelda Marcos' lunch for Chinese Foreign Minister Huang Hua.
The Philippine government tried to use the visit as a means of improving its image. The pro-Marcos Daily Express quoted Jeff as saying: "Of course my father does not believe what is being written about the Philippines, but I think it would be best that they [his father and mother] come here and see your beautiful country." The White House had no comment to make on the quote.