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Bill McGlashan Fights Back in College Bribery Case
The former TPG Growth managing partner is mounting a defense strategy, pushing the government to release more evidence.
Bill McGlashan, the former TPG Growth managing partner and co-founder of its Rise impact investment fund, has come out swinging in his defense strategy against charges related to the college admissions scandal.
McGlashan and his legal team filed a memorandum in the U.S. District Court of Massachusetts on Wednesday, pressing the court to order the government to release evidence that McGlashan’s team argues will prove he did not understand the alleged bribery schemes he has been charged with participating in.
The defense strategy comes months after McGlashan and several other wealthy parents were charged in the government's sweeping “Operation Varsity Blues” case. The defendants were charged with conspiring to allow standardized test proctors to change their children's answers on exams to improve their chances to get into college in exchange for money, among other allegations.
Since then, McGlashan has also been charged with wire fraud and honest services wire fraud, as well as allegedly conspiring to commit federal program bribery for giving money to University of Southern California officials in exchange for accepting his son as an athletic recruit, even as his son did not play the sport, the government has alleged.
According to the latest filing, McGlashan began making requests in September for the government to show specific discovery evidence, which the government, according to the memo, “mostly decline(d)” to produce.
He is now seeking evidence that allegedly shows he did not understand that either scheme presented by Rick Singer — who owned the college consulting business at the center of the scheme and has cooperated with the government as part of a plea deal — involved bribery and that he did not participate in the so-called side door scheme, which refers to the athletic recruiting scheme.
McGlashan is asking the government to release the full reports underlying the summaries it has already released, as well as evidence related to his knowledge and intent regarding Singer’s schemes. He also is seeking grand jury transcripts that show information about the proceedings.
According to McGlashan’s memorandum, Singer provided McGlashan’s son with “legitimate college counseling,” including test prep and tutoring, for over a year starting in mid-2017.
McGlashan acknowledged in the filing that he made a $50,000 donation to Singer’s foundation shortly before his son took the ACT, a college entrance exam. (The government has alleged that payments made as part of the scheme were funneled through the foundation.) Prior documents filed by the government say that after McGlashan’s son submitted his answers, the proctor allegedly corrected them.
McGlashan alleged in the new filing that the government has not produced evidence to show that McGlashan’s son’s answers on the ACT exam were changed. What’s more, McGlashan’s son re-took the exam in September of this year, after his father had been charged, and earned a similar score to what he earned on the earlier exam, according to the filing. This, according to the memorandum, shows that McGlashan’s son “did not need” someone to correct his answers.
“The government took pains to paint all the defendants with the same broad brush and emphasized that the true essence of the crime was that these rich defendants—a ‘catalog of wealth and privilege’ — were able to purchase college admissions for their ‘far less qualified’ children that the students could not have obtained on their own,” McGlashan's lawyers argued in the filing. “The actual facts are far less favorable to the government. As later-produced discovery proves, McGlashan’s son had been diagnosed with a learning disability — a form of dyslexia — long before Singer’s unsuccessful attempt to sell McGlashan on the side door scheme, and had the intellectual capacity both to score well on the ACT and gain admission to college through legitimate routes.”
McGlashan’s memorandum also said that he allegedly refused to engage in the side door scheme, instead choosing to pursue help from his own connections at USC.
The government alleged in its prior indictments that McGlashan worked with Singer to create a fake athletic profile showing his son playing football, a sport he did not play. However, McGlashan’s memorandum said that they allegedly discussed this potential scheme on and off — which the memo said was described to McGlashan as a donation to USC’s athletics department — before McGlashan decided not to participate in it.
As a part of these discussions, McGlashan’s memo said he allegedly sent Singer “an unofficial transcript, test scores, and photos of his son in a casual t-shirt, basketball shorts, and an earring standing and running around what appears to be a backyard.” According to Singer’s memo, a woman employed by Singer created an online athletic profile for McGlashan’s son. McGlashan claimed in the filing that he was never sent a copy of the profile.
“Crucially, McGlashan never paid a single dollar in connection with Singer’s ‘side door’ scheme,” the memo said.
[II Deep Dive: TPG Growth Founder Among Financiers Charged in College Bribery Scandal]
TPG said in March that it fired McGlashan, who founded TPG’s Growth Fund and The Rise Fund, over the allegations. At the time, McGlashan contested that he resigned before he could be fired.
A spokesperson for McGlashan declined to comment on the memorandum.
He is also seeking evidence his lawyers say is “relevant to an entrapment defense,” including information regarding “when Singer might have first had motive to ensnare as many parents as possible into his scheme and develop evidence for the government.”