Dallas Billionaire Charles Wyly Was Killed in a Traffic Accident in Aspen This Morning

Categories: Arts, News
Dee and Charles Wyly1.jpg
Courtesy the AT&T Performing Arts Center
Dee and Charles Wyly
Earlier this evening, word began circulating: 77-year-old billionaire Charles Wyly, namesake of the Dee and Charles Wyly Theater in the AT&T Performing Arts Center, had died. There were no details at first, but, slowly, they emerged: Wyly, in Aspen, was killed this morning while out running regular errands -- getting his coffee, the morning paper. Most of his family is in Colorado; so too many friends from Dallas. This is the entirety of the release from the Colorado State Patrol detailing the accident:
On August 7, 2011 at approximately 10:50 a.m. a blue Porsche Targa was northbound on Airport Rd. attempting to make a left turn onto Colorado Highway 82. A gray Ford Freestyle was traveling in the right lane eastbound on Colorado Highway 82. The Ford struck the Porsche on the driver's side.

The driver of the Porsche, Mr. Charles Wyly, age 77, from Woody Creek, CO was transported to Aspen Valley Hospital where he died of his injuries just after noon. The driver of the Ford, Ms. Genezi Lacerda, age 40, of Snowmass Village, CO sustained moderate injuries and was also transported to Aspen Valley Hospital.

Both drivers were wearing seatbelts at the time of the crash. Alcohol/drugs are not suspected to have contributed to this crash. This crash remains under investigation.
Colorado State Trooper Heather Cobler adds in an email to Unfair Park that Wyly had stopped at a stop sign before pulling onto the main road into Aspen. The driver of the Ford didn't have a stop sign. No charges have been filed.

Wyly, of course, is the man behind the likes of Michaels and Bonanza Steakhouse; he and wife Dee have also spread their wealth to myriad charitable and arts organizations throughout Dallas. And, of course, Charles and brother Sam are the subject of a Securities and Exchange Commission investigation claiming they hid $550 million in profit over the last 13 years, charges Sam and Charles vehemently denied. (The court ruled only last week that they must turn over docs related to the case.) A statement from the AT&TPAC, among others, is forthcoming.

Update at 8:30 p.m.: "We would not have had the Center without him," says Bess Enloe, vice-chair of the AT&T Performing Arts Center's Board of Directors, in a statement. "He was one of the critical people who really made it happen. He understood how the Center, over time, would absolutely transform the city of Dallas, and he never lost sight of that." The AT&TPAC's full statement follows in full.

Update at 9:40 p.m.: And this, just in.
"Mr. Wyly was a role model, friend and inspiration," says William A. Brewer III, Mr. Wyly's attorney and long-time friend. "He is among the finest people I have ever known. His contributions in business, philanthropy and civic leadership will forever be remembered."
CENTER MOURNS THE LOSS OF VISIONARY ARTS PATRON
Charles Wyly A Founding Father of the AT&T Performing Arts Center

DALLAS (August 7, 2011) - The AT&T Performing Arts Center is mourning the loss of Charles Joseph Wyly, Jr., a major Dallas arts patron and a member of the Center's Board of Directors. He is also considered one of the Center's founding fathers.

"We would not have had the Center without him," said Bess Enloe, vice-chair of the AT&T Center for the Performing Arts' Board of Directors. "He was one of the critical people who really made it happen. He understood how the Center, over time, would absolutely transform the city of Dallas, and he never lost sight of that."

Wyly played a major role in the creation of the Center and its world class performance venues in the Dallas Arts District. One of the facilities, the Dee and Charles Wyly Theatre is considered one of the most innovative, versatile and dynamic theater spaces in the world. The facility, designed by REX/OMA Joshua Prince-Ramus (partner in charge) and Pritzker Prize winning architect Rem Koolhaus has a highly flexible mainstage and audience space that has won accolades for creating unique and compelling new theatrical experiences. A $20 million donation from the Wyly family helped make the facility possible.

"Charles' vision and passion for the Center was always so clear," said Deedie Rose, a Board member for the Center. Ms. Rose is also the namesake for the Potter Rose Performance Hall, the mainstage in the Wyly Theater. "The creation of the Center was an enormous undertaking with so many moving pieces. He was always the voice of calm and reason. His clarity of thought helped everyone keep their eyes on the prize, and his financial contribution clearly was critical to getting this done."

The Wyly Theatre is home to the Center's resident company, the Dallas Theater Center and has received acclaim for its innovative use of the performance space. Other Center partners, including the Dallas Black Dance Theatre, the Dallas Opera and the Texas Ballet Theater all have performances scheduled in the Wyly Theatre during their upcoming seasons.

"He has left behind a tremendous legacy here in Dallas," said Mark Weinstein, President and CEO of the AT&T Performing Arts Center. "The Center, the arts community and the city has been truly blessed to have had Charles Wyly as their champion."
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36 comments
BCulbreath
BCulbreath

Charles Wyly was a very good man.Sam Wyly is a good man .My prayers to the family and special love to Sam who will suffer this lost a lot.

Soanso
Soanso

"In July 2010, Wiley and his brother were charged with conducting an extensive securities fraud that the Securities and Exchange Commission said reaped $550 million in undisclosed gains. The men were also charged with insider trading violations from which they profited by more than $31 million, the S.E.C. said............the Wiley brothers are known for the for donations to Republican candidates and causes — including the Swift Boat campaign against Senator John Kerry in 2004 — and for the tax shelters that sparked what Charles calls "all the hallelujah."----oh yeah. what a guy. Wish we had more dirt bag rich texas men who give to the lowest common denominator in politics , create securities fraud and tax evasion. Yup. a real boy scout. Sorry, "friend of Wiley", I'd rather make my very comfortable living and have an obituary saying I had four children and lived a long honest life and gave generously of my time and money whatever I could to actually HELP people than to have such a dirt bag obtiuary/legacy as this guy. Funny how in your 'facts' you forgot the charges and tax evasion. Yeah, It's not that he's a common crook, nahhhh. Must be that he's rich, huh????  Easy to give 100mil out of all the millions he bilked!!!

Alananpat
Alananpat

He founded community arts centers here and in Aspen---oh yes! We all know about the art center!! and the MASSIVE donations to the most questionable republican party polticians and campaigns. He basically paid to have Rich Perry win the govenorship. HOw nice. Perry, who has one of richest states in the nation, yet it scores bottom of the barrel in education, most obese kids, most inadequate access to healthcare for the poor. How is that? how can you have so much money, yet the so many people around you suffer. It's like Texas and Texas billionares are doing thier best Marie Antoinette imitation. He had ample opportunity yet did squat. Fact. He was a crook and tax cheat to boot. A slime. A common criminal selfish waste of space who will do more good in death fertilizing daisies than he ever did in life for bettering humanity. My Lord, if it means there's one less souless man buying bad politicans to win places of power, the world is actually BETTER off with him dead, and though harsh, it's absolutely true, isn't it? quite a legacy, eh? Oh yeah, one more block of cement to add his name to...

HughinDallas
HughinDallas

I am glad he contributed money to Dallas, and his ego had him put his name on everything he gave money to.  He also was greatly responsible for the election of bush2.  One right wing loon gone, others can follow soon.  Koch, Bob Perry.. God is waiting.  lol.

Secretsquirrelbob
Secretsquirrelbob

Hmmmmmmmmmmmmmm. Was he on his cell phone? I sincerely hope not—that would mean that he put not only his life @ risk, BUT the life of the driver w/the RIGHT OF WAY  on the HIGHWAY!!!! I really hope not…

Firedog274
Firedog274

To bad he didnt donate some of those BILLIONS up there in Aspin area to build a TRAUMA center,Like Parkland here in Dallas. he might have survived with top notch medical specialist and rapid transport to it !!!!!! just saying.  Rural medicine usually doesnt save traumatic injuries.

Stefani
Stefani

Charles & Dee Wyly have also been instrumental in the actualization of The Center for BrainHealth which encompasses head injury, stroke recovery, Alzheimer's and more…My condolences to the family as well as Dr. Sandra Chapman and her staff at The Center for BrainHealth, who must be just devastated!Sincerely,Stefani Hernandez

Missmaei
Missmaei

I've seen so many negative posts on other web sites criticizing he's generous contribution to the arts and such hatred for his wealth. All probably because he gives to a certain political party. Why can't people seperate the two? He gave generously to further the love of arts, nuff said........

remy
remy

i'm a frequent theater, dso, arts district goer and obviously this is a sad loss for the Dallas Arts community.

but in all reality, the dude was 77 years old, a self-made billionaire and was under some firm investigation by the SEC (of which he never saw the consequences fully spelled-out)...i'd say he had a pretty good life.

Truth Has No Agenda
Truth Has No Agenda

While it's sad when anyone dies - I find it funny the progressives love to demonize the EVIL rich EXCEPT when the spend their money on a progressive agenda. Sounds like a bunch of hypocrites to me. It also makes you lose any credibility on demonizing the EVIL rich.

Oak Cliff Townie
Oak Cliff Townie

Don't know about the Guy. But the  theater that is named after him looks like an multi story Aluminum trash can.

LesliO
LesliO

Terrible loss for the arts community, as well as his family.  Thoughts and prayers going out to them.

OD
OD

The private jet area is a common place for private jet owner to hang out, read papers, get coffee and the likes.

RIP 

Jackson
Jackson

The Aspen Daily News Online (link below) says that he was pulling "out of" the private avaition area at the airport shortly before 11:00 AM, which suggests to me that he'd taken someone to the airport to make a flight or was just arriving himself.  I don't know.  Wilonsky's characterization is that he was "out running regular errands -- getting his coffee, the morning paper." You don't have to go to the airport to do that. http://www.aspendailynews.com/...

Paul
Paul

One of the few who have done much to make Dallas a better place ... Dallas will be worse off without him ... my condolences to his family and friends who have suffered a tragic and senseless loss ...

Chris Danger
Chris Danger

Fast carbon-body high end sports car vs steel body ford truck, no ones coming out of that crash w/o some kind of damage. Im not trying to make light of a tragedy, just speaking from a purely physics/science standpoint. My heart goes out to the family accordingly.

Lindi Loy Funk
Lindi Loy Funk

Our thoughts and prayers are with the family of Charles Wyly.

THR33
THR33

Youre an asshole.  Crawl back into the cesspool from which you came you dirtbag.  A family is grieving, respect that you punk.

martha58
martha58

OMG - you heartless, rude son of a bitch.  You don't know who or what you are talking about.  That is my father you are talking about  - you ass.  Before you print comments like that - why don't you get your facts straight.  ...."a slime? a selfish waste of space who will do more good in death fertilizing daisies?.  You are a despicable human being and I pity you  - you empty person with no soul.  The world is better off with him dead!!  How dare you.  You are one sorry loser of a human being. 

martha58
martha58

You are a cold-hearted mean person that doesn't know what you are talking about. 

scottindallas
scottindallas

His family situation was really quite sad and dysfunctional.  Though I'm sure his daughter will really make it snow in Dallas in the Summertime. 

Me
Me

"The guy" had heart of gold. And the aluminum trash can you refer to is one of the most innovative theaters on the planet. Wise ass....

martha58
martha58

Get your facts straight.  He wasn't out running errands.  He was on his way back home to his wife (my mother) from church which he attended every Sunday.  On his way home, he would stop by the airport to visit with his friends at the FBO.  And yes, he would get a cup of coffee and his newspapers. 

Jimlincoln
Jimlincoln

The coffee and paper are free at the airport.  Did it every Sunday here in Colorado

Craigley
Craigley

Dude who drive Targas like to stop by the airport and check on their aircraft.  Fun thing to do in the morning.

G_David
G_David

Because that's the main gist of the story, right?

Me
Me

His ranch is outside a TINY community almost 30 min. away from Aspen. The airport's quicker to get to than there or Snowmass. So yes, it's very conceivable that he'd go to the airport for a newspaper and coffee.

Carl
Carl

it was an old Targa - so, you can forget about the carbon-body high end sports car stuff

martha58
martha58

Thank you Lindi.   I can't  believe the horrible things people say.   Your words are kind and comforting

Ruta
Ruta

I join you in loving thoughts of Chas,......and loving thoughts and prayers to Dee and Family!Ruta in Hollywood

martha58
martha58

I don't know who you are- but you are a real ass.  What the hell are you talking about

THR33
THR33

You have no idea what his family situation was like you ass.  He was my grandfather, and he was one of the most amazing, giving people I ever had the honor to spend time with.  Realize that a family is grieving and keep your wiseass remarks to yourself.

Me
Me

Wow, I don't know where you gained your insight into his 'sad and dysfunctional family', but it's wrong. The Wyly family is no more dysfunctional than any other 'normal' family. I must assume by your comment that yours is just perfect?

martha58
martha58

Rude....you have no idea what you are talking about. 

scottindallas
scottindallas

I doubt I know everything my parents and grandparents were up to when they were young.  Hagiographies aren't appropriate for people, for flawed, very human people.  I did know your screwed up momma before you were around.  She needed a daddy, but was run amok. 

scottindallas
scottindallas

I don't know many 15 yr old latch key kids with mega cocaine problems.  But, hey, you're the expert.

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