(Shutterstock)

Robert F. Smith, the billionaire investor who pledged to pay off the student debt of Morehouse College's graduating class last year, is under investigation by the Justice Department for possible tax crimes.


Smith is the co-founder, chairman and CEO of the private equity and venture capital firm Vista Equity Partners, which has an office in downtown Austin.

Bloomberg reported Friday that federal authorities have spent four years examining whether Smith failed to pay taxes on about $200 million in assets by moving them through offshore accounts.

Smith is trying to resolve the case with a civil settlement, according to Bloomberg, but if convicted he could be sentenced to prison and forced out of his firm.

Smith's profile has increased in the last few years. He married his second wife, former Playmate of the Year Hope Dworacyzk, in 2015, and became the first Black American to sign the Giving Pledge, a campaign founded by Warren Buffett and Bill Gates to get billionaires to pledge at least half of their wealth to philanthropic causes.

In May of 2019, Smith gave the commencement address at Morehouse College, a historically black men's college in Atlanta, and announced he would pay off the student loans of the roughly 400 graduates.

(Dion Hinchcliffe/Flickr)

Sunday was the busiest day Austin-Bergstrom International Airport has seen since the pandemic began in March, with 12,127 outbound passengers.

Keep Reading Show less
COVID-19 dashboard

After weeks of warnings, advisories and even an emergency text alert from local health officials, Austin's COVID-19 caseload appears to be on a post-Thanksgiving decline.

Keep Reading Show less


Friday, 5:55 a.m.: Man ripped earring out of woman's ear. 2302 Durwood St.

Friday, 10:31 a.m.: Report of attempted vehicular assault. A 911 caller reported a woman attempting to hit a man with her vehicle. 300 Ferguson Dr.

Friday, 1 p.m.: Two rescued from vehicle collision. 23926 TX-71

Friday: Travis County senior Deputy Robert "Drew" Small died after his motorcycle collided with another vehicle. Milam County

Saturday, 10:52 a.m.: Man and woman fight outside Target. 8601 Research Blvd.

Saturday, 3:06 p.m.: Person gets stuck in elevator at Hyatt Place Austin Report. 3601 Presidential Blvd.

Sunday, 7:09 a.m.: Two men armed with tasers and knives at church. Redd St & Manchaca Rd.

Sunday, 7:56 a.m.: Vehicle crashed into the fence of Austin Veterinary Surgical Center. The driver left the scene on foot. One dog, a long-haired Dachshund named Sadie, escaped. 12419 Metric Blvd.

(Nan Palmero/CC)

Thanksgiving is over and the most wonderful time of year has officially begun. Christmas light shows have been a Texas tradition for years—so beloved that not even a pandemic could stop them from shining this year.

Keep Reading Show less
(MangoNic/Shutterstock)

Before the pandemic started, Adult Care of Austin on Menchaca Road didn't offer telemedicine appointments.

Now, the private practice conducts almost all of its visits virtually, either over the phone or on HIPAA-compliant video platforms.

Dr. Steven Dobberfuhl, an internal medicine physician, said telemedicine saved his practice—and has been a boon to his patients, around 75% of whom are 65 years or older and at high risk of contracting COVID-19.

"I didn't believe it would work as well as it has," he said.

Keep Reading Show less
(Pexels)

Austin Public Health issued post-Thanksgiving guidelines on Friday, recommending that residents avoid higher-risk activities such as attending crowded, indoor gatherings; going on hayrides with people outside of one's household; traditional caroling and other door-to-door activities; and traveling for events.

Keep Reading Show less
(Laura Figi)

At the tail end of a tough year for retailers, Black Friday deals appeared to draw fewer shoppers into big box stores around Austin.

Keep Reading Show less