WEEKLY NEWS DIGEST (August 8-14, 2011)


Remembrances: Charles Wyly 1933-2011; Software Billionaire Bankrolled Arts and GOP.” By Ann Zimmerman and Stephanie Simon. Wall Street Journal. August 9, 2011. Charles Wyly was a Dallas billionaire entrepreneur who won acclaim for his patronage of the arts, but whose business practices drew scrutiny in recent years, culminating in federal civil-fraud charges. Mr. Wyly and his younger brother, Sam, the sons of a weekly newspaper owner in rural Louisiana, amassed their fortune founding, buying, expanding and selling a slew of businesses. They were pioneers in computer software, founding University Computer Co., which they later sold for $840 million. They launched Sterling Software in 1981 and sold it 20 years later to Computer Associates Inc. for $4 billion. In 1983, they acquired a controlling stake in Michaels Stores Inc., building it into the largest arts and crafts retailer in the nation before they sold their stake in the past decade. They also founded Maverick Capital Ltd., an early hedge fund. Mr. Wyly’s business achievements lately have been overshadowed by a six-year Securities and Exchange Commission investigation that resulted in formal fraud and insider-trading charges against him and his brother last summer. The SEC alleged the brothers hid $550 million in trading profits by using an “elaborate sham system” of offshore entities. A football star at Louisiana Tech University, Mr. Wyly eventually embraced Texas and was among the top contributors to the gubernatorial and presidential campaigns of George W. Bush. He also donated heavily to the Republican National Committee. He left an indelible imprint on the Dallas arts community. He and his wife, Dee, donated $20 million to help erect a theater in 2009 that serves as one of the centerpieces of the sprawling AT&T Dallas Performing Arts Center complex downtown.

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