TPG, the private equity firm that is majority owner of the Hollywood agency CAA, announced Tuesday that it has put co-founder and managing partner Bill McGlashan on administrative leave effective immediately following his arrest as part of a nationwide college admissions cheating case.
“As a result of the charges of personal misconduct against Bill McGlashan, we have placed Mr. McGlashan on indefinite administrative leave effective immediately,” a TPG spokesman said. “Jim Coulter, Co-CEO of TPG, will be interim managing partner of TPG Growth and The Rise Fund. Mr. Coulter will, in partnership with the organization’s executive team, lead all investment work for both going forward.”
McGlashan was one of 46 people arrested, including former “Desperate Housewives” star Felicity Huffman and “Full House” actress Lori Loughlin, as part of an on-going FBI investigation code-named “Operation Varsity Blues.”
According to prosecutors, McGlashan spent $250,000 on illegal schemes to get his son admitted to college — including hiring a proctor to improve his son’s answers on the ACT test before they were submitted and “conspiring to bribe” USC senior associate athletic director Donna Heimel “to facilitate his son’s admission to USC as a recruited athlete.” He even created a fake profile of his lacrosse-playing son as a football kicker as part of the scheme, court documents say.
McGlashan could not immediately be reached for comment. TPG had no comment beyond its statement.
TPG acquired a majority stake in CAA, one of Hollywood’s top talent agencies, in 2014. And McGlashan co-founded the indie distributor STX Entertainment with Robert Simonds. McGlashan serves on STX’s board of directors. He also co-founded and serves as CEO of The Rise Fund, a social impact fund he set up with Bono and Participant Media founder Jeff Skoll.
The suspects in the college admissions case have been charged with paying bribes of up to $6 million to get their children into top universities like Yale, Stanford, Georgetown and USC, according to charging documents.
During a press conference in Boston on Tuesday, Andrew Lelling, U.S. District Attorney for Massachusetts said this was the “largest college admissions scam ever prosecuted by the Department of Justice,” whiche totaled $25 million in bribes.
The scam centered around a California man, William Singer, who ran a business to help students gain admission into the college of their choice. This would involve being paid a pre-set amount by parents, who then funneled the money to either an SAT or ACT administrator or a college athletic coach. The scheme would work in one of two ways, according to prosecutors: The coaches would arrange a fake profile that listed the prospective student as an athlete or exam administrators would either hire proctors to take the test or correct the answers of a student after the fact.
According to the Associated Press, Singer pleaded guilty in a Boston federal courtroom on Tuesday to charges ranging from racketeering conspiracy and obstruction of justice.