Charles Wyly Dies in Aspen; Impact on Anderson Ranch Speculated
Billionaire Dallas businessman and art patron Charles Wyly died in a car accident when his Porsche was T-boned by an SUV on Highway 82 in Aspen on August 7. He was 77 and maintained a ranch in Woody Creek, which borders Aspen.
Wyly built a billion-dollar empire with his brother Sam and supported Republican candidates including (the soon-to-announce presidential aspirant), Gov. Rick Perry of Texas. With his wife, Dee, he was an enormous supporter of Anderson Ranch Arts Center – reportedly to the tune of $150,000 a year. Anderson Ranch’s art auction occurred in Aspen on August 13th, after the Aspen Art Museum auction that this year reportedly brought in a blockbuster $1.7 million for the museum.
The Wylys also gave their name to an arts organization in Basalt, Wyly Community Arts Center; and Wyly purchased an independent bookstore, Explore Booksellers in Aspen in 2007, when its continued existence was threatened. Theater in Dallas was their principal philanthropic activity; their name is on a theater at the AT&T Performing Arts Center in Dallas. Charles Wyly served on Dallas theater boards for three decades.
The Aspen Times reported that the brothers were accused last year by the Securities and Exchange Commission of insider trading to the tune of $550 million. The Wylys denied the allegations but the suit is still pending.
Shana and Robert ParkeHarrison
Red Tide, 2008
Photograph, ED 3/20; part of the Anderson Ranch live auction on August 13.