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Moves by Jeb Bush add to talk of 2016 candidacy

WASHINGTON — Jeb Bush's decision to release a policy-laden e-book and all his emails from his time as governor of Florida has further stoked expectations among his allies that he will launch a presidential bid.

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Ebby Halliday acquires Fort Worth’s Williams Trew

Williams Trew Real Estate of Fort Worth has been acquired by Dallas-based residential real estate brokerage Ebby Halliday Real Estate Inc.

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Meridian Bank Texas parent acquired by UMB Financial for $182.5M

Kansas City, Mo.-based UMB Financial Corp., the parent company of UMB Bank, said Dec. 15 it has signed a definitive agreement to acquire Marquette Financial Companies in an all-stock transaction.

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Cousins Properties to sell 777 Main tower in downtown Fort Worth

Cousins Properties Inc. has confirmed plans to sell the 777 Main office tower in downtown Fort Worth, according to a news release from the Atlanta-based real estate investment firm.

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Glen Garden sale closes, distillery on tap

Firestone & Robertson Distilling Co. closed late Wednesday on its purchase of the historic Glen Garden Country Club in southeast Fort Worth, with plans to convert it into a whiskey distillery and bucolic visitor attraction.

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Regulators win civil case vs. Texas entrepreneurs the Wyly brothers

NEW YORK (AP) — Two Texas brothers acted fraudulently by trying to hide assets they controlled in four public companies that were sold for billions of dollars, a jury determined Monday in a civil trial.

The Manhattan jury returned its verdict against 79-year-old Sam Wyly and the estate of his brother, Charles, whom the Securities and Exchange Commission had accused of earning more than $500 million illegally by using offshore accounts to trade securities.

Damages will be assessed by U.S. District Judge Shira Scheindlin after additional submissions by lawyers.

Wyly, who testified on his own behalf during the trial, was not in the courtroom for the verdict. Two other family members cried as the verdict was announced by the jury forewoman.

The Wylys earned more than $14 billion by selling companies including the arts and crafts retail chain Michael Stores Inc. and two technology companies. After the sales, Sam Wyly was on the Forbes list of billionaires for a time while the brothers donated millions of dollars to mostly conservative Republican candidates and causes. Charles Wyly died in a car accident in Aspen, Colorado, three years ago.

In a statement after the verdict, defense attorney Stephen Susman said he was "deeply disappointed."

"Despite this setback, we maintain that Sam and Charles Wyly acted in good faith. We will continue to fight for justice through the next phases of the legal process," he added.

SEC Enforcement Director Andrew Ceresney said the agency was gratified.

"We proved that the Wylys used a system of offshore trusts to conceal their transactions as directors of publicly traded companies," he said. "We will continue to hold accountable, and bring to trial when necessary, those who commit fraud no matter how complex their scheme or how hard they try to hide it."

In closing arguments, SEC attorney Bridget Fitzpatrick had urged jurors to find that the brothers acted fraudulently by taking steps to hide their offshore dealings in the companies they controlled. She said they also failed to file proper documentation.

She accused Wyly of lying multiple times when he claimed he was happy to disclose information publicly and never hid assets in the Isle of Man, where offshore trusts were used to trade in the securities of the companies.

Susman had told jurors that Wyly trusted employees to make required document filings and relied on experts in the law and taxes to guide his decisions.
 

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Did the College Football Playoff Committee get it right?