By Leisa Zigman I-Team Reporter
St. Louis (KSDK) - A new and provocative book about the rise and fall of the Busch family dynasty reveals never before heard secrets about what happened to August Busch IV after the sale to InBev.
The disturbing details are revealed in the book called Bitter Brew, by former investigative reporter Bill Knoedelseder.
His book spans five generations of the Busch family and covers everything from prohibition, to family betrayal, to the hostile foreign takeover of Anheuser Busch.
But what will likely make news headlines centers around a small part of the book involving August Busch IV.
The Fourth, as he is known, was the last heir to the beer family throne. As CEO of the Anheuser Busch, he vowed the company would never be sold. But in 2008, the 150 year family leadership of the iconic American company, ended with the sale to InBev.
Bitter Brew's author, Bill Knoedelseder said, "According to statements from his family, family members and friends, he was in a terrible state. People did not expect him to live."
From his hillside home in Los Angeles, former investigative reporter and author Bill Knoedelseder revealed disturbing secrets of how the sale of AB, affected Busch. He details a spiral into drugs, depression, and paranoia.
He writes: "According to friends, family members, and court documents, when the police came for him in February of 2010, America's last king of beer was holed up in his mansion, grievously addicted to drugs, gripped by paranoia, beset by hallucinations, and armed with hundreds of high-powered weapons."
"He was under the influence of drugs according to his family all of the time. His staff at his house was terrified. There were loaded guns everywhere. He saw little blue men floating around in the sky according to people in the house. And, he was sweating profusely. He was very paranoid."
Knoedelseder writes Busch had high hopes of saving the brewery, and those in his inner circle blamed his father, August Busch the III with betrayal, for helping to sell the company out from under him.
"The people who grew up in the company with him sort of supported that, and they all sort of believed that if his father just let him run the company and get out of the way, it would have been fine," said Knoedelseder.
By the fall of 2009, Busch's depression had become so severe family and close friends attempted the first of three interventions.
"My understanding is that they went to him down at the Lake of the Ozarks and confronted him. And he sort of admitted that yeah, I got a problem but I'll take care of it when I get back to St. Louis," Knoedelseder explained.
Knoedelseder said that never happened and by Christmas Busch started a relationship with a woman named Adrienne Martin. She and her 8-year-old son, Blake, began spending a lot of time at his Huntleigh estate. The author writes their behavior began "frightening household staff."
Knoedelseder explained, "He fired off guns in the house on several occasions. One time he fired a high powered weapon and it went through the walls. And the little boy was there and there were guns everywhere. Everywhere! I mean, see that table over there? The guns were piled on the table so you couldn't see the wood top."
According to affidavits and statements obtained independently of Knoedelseder, "On February 8th 2010, August's mother spoke with the housekeeper who expressed concern and fear over the well being and safety of Martin's 8-year-old son. She said he was wandering around the house in the presence of loaded guns and drugs without supervision. August and his girlfriend were sleeping in a barricaded room."
August's mother called Missouri Department of Social Services who visited the house but did not remove the child.
"You can only assume that the guns were not lying around when they walked in or they didn't see them. I can't imagine they would walk in and see tables full of guns. But people in his family who were involved in this and knew what was going on were flabbergasted that nothing happened," said Knoedelseder.
Knoedelseder writes, "Over the next few days, staffers indicated the Fourth's paranoia and hallucinations were getting worse. He was walking around sweating profusely, with multiple weapons strapped to his body."
According to affidavits, his mother, sister, and close friend petitioned the courts to have August committed against his will.
"To get a 30 day hold, which is what I understand they got is very hard. You have to scare the bejesus out of a judge who is thinking well if I don't do this, something bad is going to happen to not only his person, but to other people. That is the case you have to make that this person is in eminent danger to himself and others, "said Knoedelseder.
A St. Louis County judge quickly issued the court order.
Thursday at 10 p.m. we'll look at the operation Frontenac police set up to bring the August Busch IV to the hospital and what happened to him after he went into rehab. We'll also look at the Busch legacy.
NewsChannel 5 reached out to both August Busch III and the IV but neither would comment about the book.
Knoedelseder had both named and un-named sources for the book. He had cooperation from several people inside the immediate family. Some of them are named in the book as are several former executives.
Lions Gate Television has acquired the rights to Bitter Brew and is producing a pilot inspired by the book. The company is the same group that produces 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.