History Podcasts

Reynolds News

Reynolds News

George Reynolds founded the Reynolds's Weekly Newspaper in May, 1850. Reynolds was a strong supporter of Chartism and in its first edition he stated that his newspaper would be "devoted to the cause of freedom and in the interests of the enslaved masses". However, Reynolds added it will "prove not only a staunch, fearless, and uncompromising friend of popular principles, but likewise a complete and faithful chronicle of all domestic, foreign, and colonial events of interest or value." To deliver this promise, Reynolds gained the services of correspondents from Dublin, Paris, Madrid, Berlin, Vienna, Turin, Rome, Athens, Constantinople and New York.

Initially the Reynolds' Weekly Newspaper cost 4d. but it was reduced to one penny in 1864 after the abolition of the stamp duty, the advertisement duty, and paper duty. The newspaper was a great success and by 1870 had a circulation of 350,000 a week.

After the death of George Reynolds in 1879, his brother, Edward Reynolds took over the running of the newspaper. When he died in 1894, the Liberal M.P., James Henry Dalziel, became the new proprietor. Dalziel brought in several new features including a women's page, serial stories, words and music of popular songs and help finding missing relatives and friends. The newspaper, which employed leading trade unionists such as George Howell, also provided extensive advice on legal and medical matters.

In 1929, the newspaper, now called Reynold's Illustrated News, was bought by the Co-operative Press. Unlike most newspapers, it refused to believe that Leon Trotsky and his followers tried to overthrow Joseph Stalin. The left-wing journalist, H. N. Brailsford, wrote a series of articles criticising the Soviet Show Trials.

It was relaunched in 1962 as a tabloid named the Sunday Citizen. It was not a success and it was closed on 18th June 1967.

Reynolds's Newspaper was born ten years after the News of the World. Its first editor was G. W. M. Reynolds, who came of a highly aristocratic stock, being the son of an old Tory, Admiral Reynolds. He was, however, a man with democratic leanings, and enthusiastically adopted the policy of the promotion of the new venture which was to provide a newspaper devoted to the interests of the masses at a time when other papers catered for the favoured classes.

The Reynolds's Weekly News will be devoted to the cause of freedom and in the interests of the enslaved masses. In its political sentiment it will be thoroughly democratic; while as an organ of general intelligence it will yield to none in the copiousness of its news, the interests of miscellaneous matter, and the variety of its information. It will, therefore, prove not only a staunch, fearless, and uncompromising friend of popular principles, but likewise a complete and faithful chronicle of all domestic, foreign, and colonial events of interest or value.


Reynolds and Reynolds

The Reynolds and Reynolds Company is a private corporation based in Dayton, Ohio. Its primary business is providing business forms, management software and professional services to car dealerships. Its software is used to manage sales logistics at dealerships. It also produces forms used in medicine and insurance.

Reynolds and Reynolds was founded in 1866 as a printer of standardized business forms. It began developing and marketing digital products in the 1960s. This was followed by a major downsizing of the printing division and subsequent advancements in its software products. By the 1980s, Reynolds and Reynolds had won contracts with all of the Big Three automotive manufacturers, as well as some insurance businesses. The company went public in 1961, but was re-formed as a private company in 2006, when it was merged with Universal Computer Systems, resulting in a culture clash between the two companies.


Maria Reynolds approaches Alexander Hamilton.

According to Hamilton’s version of events, which he shared with the world in 1797, Maria (probably pronounced “Mah-rye-ah”) Reynolds came to his family home in Philadelphia in the summer of 1791, and asked to speak to him in private. The 23-year-old blonde presented herself as a damsel in distress, telling the treasury secretary that her abusive husband, James Reynolds, had left her and their young daughter to run off with another woman. Maria said she was destitute, and asked for money to help her get to friends in New York.

At the time, Hamilton was at the height of his influence as treasury secretary, and could be considered the second most powerful man in the United States. Yet his outspoken style earned him many enemies, which as biographer Ron Chernow has written “should have made him especially watchful of his reputation.” 

And yet—that night, Hamilton took a 30-note bill to the rooming house where Maria Reynolds was staying. She led him upstairs, where, in his words, “it was quickly apparent that other than pecuniary consolation would be acceptable.” They began a sexual relationship, meeting often at Hamilton’s own home after his devoted wife, Eliza, took their children to visit her father in Albany.

Alexander Hamilton’s wife, Elizabeth Schuyler Hamilton.


Celebrating Tony Brown For Black History Month

Tony Brown, born in 1933 in Charleston W. VA, broke racial barriers as producer of Tony Brown’s Journal which aired in 1970 and ended in 2014 as one of the longest-running shows in public television history. His debut came at a time when black people were overwhelmingly stereotyped, misunderstood and misinterpreted in the media. He also wrote a syndicated column for 150 black newspapers. Brown discovered the Communications Act of 1964 offered all races access to television, but he had to sue to gain entry and blacks in Detroit also picketed to aid his launch. For decades Tony Brown’s Journal was the only national show that covered black oriented news. He was also the founding dean of the Howard University School of Communications that has graduated hundreds of media and public relations specialists. I was honored to teach at that school and appear on his television show. He recently retired as the former dean of the Hampton University Scripps Howard School of Journalism and Communications. He was inducted into The National Association of Black Journalists’ Hall of Fame in 2016.

Read more about Tony Brown in our exclusive interview, only available in my book, And Still We Rise.


Bradford's Collection

The University of Bradford received its complete set from the Co-operative Society in Manchester thanks to Harold Wilson, then Chancellor of the University and Prime Minister. The set forms a valuable resource for political and social historians, offering a popular, working class view of events. The wide range of regional editions held offer interesting local perspectives.

Unfortunately, the paper and bindings in our set are in very poor condition. We regret that some volumes cannot be used at all. Volumes currently not available: Late London edition 1932 Welsh edition 1943. We cannot allow any photocopying, although non-contact digital photography is acceptable subject to copyright.

Please note that British Library volumes from the 19th century are available in digital form via 19th Century British Library Newspapers. This wonderful project makes these newspapers searchable and usable as never before. The database is licensed to many institutional libraries. The British Library's 20th century volumes may also be more convenient for some readers to use.


The Manipulative, Little Known Billionaire Who Nearly Ruined The Country’s Richest Black Person

E ver since Ford Motor Company began selling its Model T in 1908, few pieces of technology have been as important to car dealer profit margins as the DocuPad.

The 45-by-29-inch flat screen sits atop a salesman’s desk, giving him the ability to quickly coax customers through what would normally be mountains of paperwork. By enabling car buyers to check boxes with a stylus and sign contracts on the interactive screen, the DocuPad takes the friction out of a car salesman’s stock in trade—the upsell.

In a 2019 court deposition, the secretive Robert Brockman, 79, whose enterprise software company, Reynolds and Reynolds, sells DocuPad, offered a rare peek into the microeconomics of car sales. Brockman said the DocuPad enabled finance managers to upsell by at least $200 per transaction in a business where margins on every car sold or leased are typically razor-thin. “You recover the initial cost of DocuPad very, very quickly,” Brockman said, alluding to the $10,000 startup fee, plus an ongoing $1,000 monthly license. “And then, from that point on, it is a massive generator of profits.”

Naturally, a dealer can get the DocuPad only if he’s also a licensee of one of Brockman’s integrated dealer management systems—digital platforms for everything from parts inventory and service scheduling to the machines that secure the thousands of keys at an average dealership. When you have thousands of captive dealers locked into multiyear contracts, those fees turn into $1 billion, with annual income estimated to be $300 million. And Brockman controls 98% of it through an offshore trust, a stake worth at least $3 billion.

Brockman’s ability to quietly pile up billions came to a crashing halt in October 2020, when he was charged with masterminding the largest tax-evasion case in American history, accused of hiding some $2 billion in income from the Internal Revenue Service over the last two decades. Brockman has pleaded not guilty to all charges and is free on a $1 million bond. Neither Brockman nor his attorneys have responded to Forbes’ requests for interviews.

“Brockman made his money by screwing people. Anytime you asked for, or needed something, he would automatically extend your contract without you knowing.”

Brockman’s alleged scheme helped hide profits gushing from one of the nation’s most successful private equity firms, Austin, Texas–based Vista Equity Partners, founded by the nation’s richest Black person, Robert F. Smith. Last October, Smith signed a nonprosecution agreement with the Department of Justice and confessed to what would have been a host of tax felonies tied to secret offshore accounts set up at Brockman’s behest. Starting in 2000, Brockman committed $1 billion in capital to Vista’s first fund and taught Smith the ins and outs of running an enterprise software business. He continues to hold small interests in several of Vista’s $73 billion in private equity funds. Smith has already paid a record $139 million to get the IRS off his back and agreed to cooperate with investigators in the case against his onetime benefactor and mentor.

The saga has all the drama and intrigue of a crime novel, involving a Playboy model, a network of offshore accounts and an encrypted email system in which Brockman referred to Smith as “Steelhead.” Brockman’s attorney, an Australian named Evatt Tamine, who functioned as the billionaire’s nominal trustee, was known as “Redfish.” The IRS was “the House,” and Brockman, the tip of the pyramid, was “Permit.”

A months-long investigation by Forbes reveals that the alleged tax evasion is not the first, or only, sin Brockman may have committed during his impressive career. On his way to amassing a net worth estimated to be $6 billion, the Houston-based entrepreneur has left a trail of hundreds of arbitrations and lawsuits from auto dealers who are his core customers, claiming that his underhanded tactics cheated them, too, out of hundreds of millions.

B orn during the Second World War to a physiotherapist and a gas station owner, Robert Brockman grew up in St. Petersburg, Florida, and graduated summa cum laude from the University of Florida in 1963, a member of its business honor society. While serving in the U.S. Marine Reserves, he worked in marketing at Ford and then joined IBM in 1966, becoming a star selling mainframe computer services to auto dealers.

In 1970 he left IBM, launched Universal Computer Services and taught himself how to program at a time when it involved feeding decks of punched cards into hulking machines. Soon he was providing dealers with printed weekly reports on parts inventory.

“Brockman was the first provider who could enable an owner to synthesize the financial statements of his 10 dealerships into one. He was doing this in the 1980s,” marvels Paul Gillrie, a veteran auto-industry consultant. By the late 1980s Brockman had dozens of computers installed at dealerships, and he introduced what remains his one of his core software operating systems, called Power. On his personal website, since taken down, Brockman, who holds 21 patents, wrote: “I’m still a programmer at heart. And although I had to give up hands-on programming many years ago, I still stay very closely involved in all of our product decisions.”

By the early 1990s, Ford decided it didn’t want to be in the IT business, so it sold Dealer Computer Services to Brockman’s Universal Computer Services for $103 million. The deal came with a stipulation: Ford would allow Brockman to continue using the Ford blue oval, brand, letterhead, address and even the same employees for five years, incognito.

“When Brockman took over, it was like a frog in boiling water,” according to a consultant who advised dealers on arbitrations. “Ford was so laid-back and easygoing. The dealers trusted them, and Ford took very good care of them.” The dealers liked the tech upgrades—even the era’s clunky monitor beat the microfiche and paper volumes they were used to. “Brockman computerized it all, created a superior system.” And then, according to a typical case, he leveraged that goodwill by signing dealers to contract extensions “with the intention of locking in dealers beyond the life of their computer systems, in order to impose costly system upgrades.” Some dealers were irate when they realized that they hadn’t been dealing with Ford at all—and had little recourse against charges like $12,000 for the installation of a 500-megabyte hard drive or $2,400 for a printer.

Man-in-the-Mirror Moment: Faced with a billion-dollar take-it-or-leave-it scheme from Bob Brockman, financier Robert F. Smith, a.k.a. “Steelhead,” took the bait.

Martin schoeller for forbes

Those who tried to get out of their contracts met the buzzsaw of Brockman’s litigation team. He had created what an industry insider refers to as “the Darth Vader contract” because it enabled his attorneys to destroy rebellious dealers. Many upgrades or new services came with lengthy contract extensions. Says Gillrie, “When you have a contract that gives you a monopoly on your customer for 30 years, you don’t have to listen to anything they say.”

In 2010 Jay Gill, a Fresno, California–based entrepreneur with 10 dealerships, was hit with a $3 million bill when he acquired Livermore Auto Group, which had been paying $35,000 a month to Brockman’s company. They settled for about half that. “Brockman made his money by screwing people,” Gill says. “Anytime you asked for something or you needed something, he would automatically extend your contract without you knowing. When you have a 12-inch-thick contract, it’s somewhere in there.”

Not even the threat of bankruptcy could free dealers from Brockman’s grip. When Orville Beckford, a Black dealer in Florida, was struggling despite a recapitalization by Ford in 1994, Brockman went after Ford for the money and in a letter castigated it for backing what he asserted was an inept manager: “I would like to avoid this—however, short of paying ‘blackmail’ to this dealer, I see no other answer than to fight him legally to the end.” Beckford sued Brockman for defamation and won $250,000 in a jury trial.

Over the years more than 100 dealers, beaten in arbitration, refused to pay off their contracts with Brockman’s companies and wound up in federal courts. Says Gill, “I know unequivocally that I wouldn’t do business with this guy, even if it was free.”

D ealmaker Robert Smith had no such reservations when he met Brockman in the late 1990s. Fresh out of Columbia Business School and a rising star in Goldman Sachs’ investment banking department, Smith was talking to Brockman about doing a buyout of his growing software business.

Brockman didn’t need financing from Goldman. His UCS had oodles of excess cash—which he apparently had no intention of sharing with Uncle Sam. According to the statement of facts signed by Smith in his nonprosecution deal, Brockman agreed to seed Smith with $1 billion in the 2000 creation of Vista Equity Partners—on the condition that Smith cooperate with him in creating what the DOJ’s indictment refers to as a “conspiracy and scheme and artifice to defraud.”

In 1997, Brockman, via his Bermuda-domiciled A. Eugene Brockman Charitable Trust, set up a holding company in Nevis called Spanish Steps Holdings. Under Spanish Steps he created a British Virgin Islands company called Point Investments. This firm would act as Brockman’s straw buyer for investments in Vista. According to Smith’s statement, Brockman, in a “take it or leave it” proposal, insisted that Smith hold half his carried interest in the initial Vista Fund II via a “perfected foreign trust” like his own. Presumably, this way Brockman could take comfort in knowing they were in it together.

“I had one of those in-the-mirror moments,” Smith, 58, told Forbes in 2018, in a cover story, before any hint of criminality had emerged. “I looked at myself and asked, ‘If I don’t do this, how will I feel about it ten years from now?’ According to his statement, Smith had a relative of his then-wife, Suzanne McFayden, create a Belize-based trust called Excelsior, through which Smith funded his offshore investment company, Flash Holdings.

It’s legal and normal for corporations to set up subsidiaries in tax havens to own patents and other high-margin intellectual property—software makers have long parked IP in Ireland, for instance. Likewise, hedge funds and private equity investors set up offshore trusts in which to direct proceeds of their carried interest. Such structures’ legality tends to be contingent upon how much control the ultimate beneficiaries have over the assets, and what they do with it.

“When Brockman took over, it was like a frog in boiling water. Ford was laid-back and easygoing, and the dealers trusted them.”

Brockman could have gotten away with having his businesses held through the A. Eugene Brockman Charitable Trust had he been able to show that he was a passive beneficiary—rather than the control freak that Smith alleges him to have been: “It became apparent to Smith that despite paperwork that indicated to the contrary, Individual A [Brockman] completely controlled Individual A’s foreign trust and related foreign companies, and made all substantive decisions regarding all of its transactions and investments.” Including, of course, the decision not to disclose any of it to the IRS. As Brockman said of himself in a 2019 deposition, “As you probably can tell, I’m into the details, big time.”

In his statement, Smith explains that he was incentivized to deliver returns on Brockman’s $1 billion because Brockman had the power to replace him by forcing Smith to sell him their general-partnership control interests in Vista Fund II at Brockman’s price. Brockman controlled Smith with an iron grip the same way he did the car dealers.

With Brockman’s capital, Vista Fund II acquired the likes of SirsiDynix, Applied Systems, BigMachines, Brainware, Surgical Information Systems and SER Solutions. Brockman was intimately involved in directing the Vista team on how to apply his playbook of operating principles focused on cost reduction and product consolidation. According to someone familiar with Vista’s early days, the budding private equity firm applied IBM’s process-oriented approach, learned from Brockman, to acquire and grow software companies: “Everything that Vista knows about software came from Bob Brockman.”

One smart strategy employed by Vista has been software roll-ups. Take the case of former Vista portfolio company Ventyx—an Atlanta firm focused on industrial management software. In 2005 Vista paid $70 million for MDSI, added Indus in 2007 for $240 million, then merged them into Ventyx. It then rolled in Global Energy Decisions and NewEnergy Associates and Tech-Assist in order to add key applications and market share. Then, in 2010, Vista sold Ventyx to Swiss power and automation giant ABB for $1 billion. Vista then distributed $799 million of the proceeds to an account at Swiss bank Mirabaud that was controlled by Brockman’s Point Investments.

Brockman also appeared to use Vista as a straw buyer to help him roll up other dealership software providers. In 2005, UCS acquired call-tracking and measurement company Callbright. The next year, Vista Fund II (all Brockman’s money) acquired Callbright’s competitor Who’s Calling—which it later sold to Brockman as well. According to Preqin, Smith’s first Vista fund, launched in 2000, went on to return more than 29% annually. If that return is to be believed, it would mean that Brockman and Smith multiplied the initial $1 billion more than tenfold.

A s Brockman was directing Vista’s growth from behind the scenes, his business was flourishing. In 2005 his software company reportedly had $530 million in revenue and $100 million in profits, with 2,600 employees. His computerized parts catalog was installed in nearly 2,500 Ford and Lincoln-Mercury dealerships.

But Brockman was facing a big problem—Ford had developed its own electronic parts catalog. In 2005 Ford refused to renew Brockman’s exclusive license unless he agreed to a three-year wind-down of his existing contracts. Brockman sued, alleging violation of antitrust laws, but eventually dropped the suit.

illustrations by Emmanuel Polanco for forbes

His exclusive deal over, Brockman had to do something to replace the business. He then enlisted Smith to help with the deal of his career—a leveraged buyout of Ohio’s Reynolds and Reynolds in 2006 for $2.4 billion. Brockman put up $300 million in equity Vista added $50 million (of Brockman’s money). Deutsche Bank arranged the loans. The industry was shocked, assuming that much larger Reynolds would be buying UCS, not the other way around. Now Brockman had thousands of new clients to transition to his Darth Vader contract.

Almost immediately, there was a culture clash. A buttoned-up ex-Marine, Brockman was not well-liked at easygoing Reynolds. He prohibited employees from smoking, even during off hours, and reportedly monitored time spent on bathroom breaks. In a deposition, Brockman described his frustration with the company’s data security: “When I got to Reynolds, it’s kind of like I had been spending my life, you know, mopping and polishing the floor. And I inherited this house, and it has two inches of water on the floor.”

In 2008, during the Great Recession, Reynolds debt sold off in a flight to quality. Seeing his company’s loans trading as low as 35 cents on the dollar was too good for Brockman to pass up. Even though he had personally signed credit agreements barring him from buying any of Reynolds’ subordinated debt without the approval of first-lien holders, Brockman secretly bought about $20 million of Reynolds debt in 2009, according to an IRS investigation. To do so, Brockman, through his Aussie attorney Tamine, used funds held by Edge Capital Investments (like Point Investments, Edge was a Caribbean entity set up via a trust controlled by Brockman’s longtime CFO, Don Jones, “as a cover to shield Brockman’s ownership,” according to an IRS investigation). A year later, when Deutsche arranged a refinancing of Reynolds debt, Edge redeemed Brockman’s notes at par, netting $72 million on the trade and depositing the funds into an offshore account. According to the affidavit of an IRS investigator, “Tamine, at the direction of Brockman, then laundered approximately $57 million of the proceeds” through Brockman’s other accounts and companies, “including several of Vista Equity Partners’ funds.”

Some of the untaxed profits from Brockman’s lucrative trade allegedly went to fund his passions. His Frying Pan Canyon Ranch near Aspen, Colorado, was purchased for $15 million. He also directed his attorney to purchase a 209-foot luxury yacht named Albula, complete with a heli-pad, for $33 million. Brockman, an avid fisherman and hunter, was also fond of zipping by private jet to Córdoba, Argentina, for the hemisphere’s best dove shooting.

Enter the 2010 Playboy Playmate of the Year, whom Smith began dating after his 2011 separation from his wife. Smith’s personal life had apparently become a concern for Brockman’s team.

Smith was enjoying life too. In 2009, he relocated with Suzanne, his wife of 22 years, to Switzerland. The next year he redirected more than $30 million of his own untaxed capital gains into an account at Swiss Banque Bonhôte through which he bought two Alpine ski chalets in Megève, France. The family also maintained homes in Texas, California and Colorado.

Enter the 2010 Playboy Playmate of the Year, Hope Dworaczyk, whom Smith met and began dating after his 2011 separation from his wife. Smith’s personal life had apparently become a concern for Brockman’s team. In August 2011, according to emails uncovered by Department of Justice investigators, Brockman’s CFO Jones, a.k.a. “King,” wrote to trustee Tamine, a.k.a. “Redfish”: “Bob called concerned about the Robert Smith situation and what effect a nasty divorce might have on us. We agreed that if his business is dissected by her attorney, Point would be an initial target.” Indeed, in her divorce petition, Suzanne McFayden, who met Smith when they both attended Cornell in the 1980s, demanded full ownership of their homes, comprehensive support for their children, a prohibition against them associating with Dworaczyk and a “strict accounting of all monies expended” for Smith’s girlfriends’ benefit. And in what was perhaps her toughest ask, McFayden’s lawyers demanded that Smith get up to date with his taxes.

A s Mr. and Mrs. Smith negotiated a divorce settlement, Brockman was looking for the exit.

In late 2012 he came close to striking a deal to sell Reynolds and Reynolds to KKR for $5 billion, but backed out. In 2013 Brockman attempted a dividend recapitalization of Reynolds that would have valued the company at $5.3 billion and increased debt from $900 million to $4.3 billion. A Moody’s report at the time estimated Reynolds’ “free cash flow” that year at $350 million, with 40% margins. Brockman reportedly planned to take out $2.5 billion in cash. But this deal too fell apart. Bizarrely, after loans had already been finalized and allocated to investors, all the trades were reportedly unwound and the issue withdrawn. Brockman then canceled a well-publicized pledge of $250 million to Centre College in Danville, Kentucky, which he had attended before transferring to the University of Florida.

Vista was likewise feeling pressure. In a 2012 memo, Tamine told Brockman that he was beginning to encounter uncomfortable questions. “It is the involvement of Point Investments, an unknown non-U.S. investor, which generally causes the compliance issues.” When “pressed on Point’s beneficial ownership,” Tamine wrote, “I have walked us through with minimal disclosure.”

At the end of 2013, Banque Bonhôte notified Smith that it intended to participate in the DOJ’s Swiss-bank program and would be informing U.S. authorities of his account. Realizing the jig was up, Smith filed an IRS application in March 2014, seeking inclusion in its amnesty program for Americans who had failed to disclose their offshore accounts. A month later, his application was denied.

When Smith and McFayden finalized their divorce later in 2014, Brockman loaned Smith $75 million, according to court documents. That same year Vista wound down Brockman’s Fund II and exited its small stake in Reynolds and Reynolds.

Smith celebrated his newfound freedom in July 2015 by wedding Dworaczyk in a lavish, star-studded affair at Villa Cimbrone on Italy’s Amalfi Coast. Musicians Seal and John Legend performed.

Less than a year later, in June 2016, the alleged co-conspirators went into high gear in anticipation of a federal grand jury investigation. Tamine was dispatched to Oxford, Mississippi, to visit Don Jones’ widow, who was in possession of incriminating evidence including floppy disks and hard drives. Said Tamine in an encrypted memo, “As you know, I even cut short the trip to Argentina to get back to Oxford to destroy more drives that had been discovered.”

By 2017 Tamine could see the writing on the wall. In a memo to Brockman he wrote: “Even if Robert Smith clears up his problems, the target is well fixed on me and we need to anticipate that we’ll be audited at some point.” In September 2018, agents in Bermuda raided Tamine’s home.

In June 2016, the alleged co-conspirators went into high gear in anticipation of a federal grand jury investigation. Attorney Tamine was dispatched to Oxford, Mississippi to destroy evidence.

After the IRS rejected his amnesty plea, Smith began upping his charitable giving. Smith wound down Vista’s first fund and set up a foundation with hundreds of millions of dollars of its profits. In 2016 he and his foundation pledged $50 million to Cornell University’s engineering school and $20 million to the National Museum of African American History and Culture. Most famously, Smith delivered a commencement speech at Morehouse College in May 2019, announcing that he would spend $34 million to pay off the student debt of the entire graduating class of the historically Black college.

Brockman, too, sought to burnish his philanthropic bonafides, donating $25 million to the Baylor College of Medicine and tens of millions more to erect buildings at Centre College and Rice University. Tamine, in a memo to Brockman, wrote of the importance of appearing charitable: “These activities would work as a strong barrier against an attack from the IRS.”

On October 15, 2020, U.S. attorneys dropped their bombshell about Smith and Brockman. In exchange for an agreement not to prosecute, Smith would pay $56 million in taxes and penalties on unreported income plus another $82 million in penalties for concealing offshore accounts. Further, he would abandon his claims for $182 million in refunds derived from his philanthropic giving and earlier payments to Uncle Sam. “It is never too late to do the right thing,” said U.S. attorney David Anderson in a statement. “Smith committed serious crimes, but he also agreed to cooperate”—against Brockman—which “has put him on a path away from indictment.”

Smith continues to preside over Vista, and only a handful of investors have shown signs of concern. New Mexico’s Educational Retirement Board abandoned its proposed $100 million commitment, and the Virginia Retirement System, which has $350 million invested with Vista, says it is monitoring the situation. In late November 2020 Vista’s longtime president, Brian Sheth, announced he was leaving the company, implausibly telling Forbes that his decision had nothing to do with Smith’s confessed transgressions: “I know for Robert and Vista the best is yet to come.” Vista recently secured an additional $2.7 billion in commitments and it now boasts $73 billion in assets under management.

In November, Brockman stepped down as CEO of Reynolds to prepare for his trial. So far, Bermudian and Swiss authorities have frozen his accounts, and Tamine is cooperating with the authorities. Brockman’s attorneys say he is suffering from early-stage dementia. So far his lawyers have persuaded the court to transfer the case from San Francisco to Houston in recognition of Brockman’s declining health.

Federal prosecutors dismiss Brockman’s symptoms as an “amorphous malaise” and point to his lucid deposition testimony from 2019, as well as a lengthy memo he sent to Reynolds’ vice chairman in May 2020 foreshadowing an all-too-familiar behind-the-scenes role he was planning: “My intent is to work 4 or 5 more years helping teach the next generation everything I know about how to run the company efficiently.”


Reynolds Homestead

In June 2020, the Reynolds Homestead will celebrate 50 years of service to Patrick County and surrounding communities.

Reynolds Homestead Celebrates 50 Years

Purchase a P. Buckley Moss Hand-Signed Glicee Print

Sold exclusively by the Reynolds Homestead

The Catalpa at Reynolds Homestead

To celebrate the 50th Anniversary of the Reynolds Homestead, P. Buckley Moss created two beautiful works of art and has generously agreed to donate a portion of all sales to support art programs at the Reynolds Homestead. The following prints are available to purchase online:


Monumental Folly

Pete Daniel has written eight books and served as president of the Southern Historical Association and the Organization of American Historians. He retired as curator from the National Museum of American History a decade ago.

To many curators and historians, President Trump&rsquos National Garden of American Heroes might sound familiar, an echo of Catherine Reynolds&rsquo $38 million offer to the National Museum of American History (NMAH) in 2001 to fund a hall of great achievers. She mentioned Michael Jordan, Jonas Salk, Steven Spielberg, Oprah Winfrey, and Martha Stewart, among others. Kenneth Behring, who had funded a wildlife hall at the National Museum of Natural History, had pledged $80 million to the history museum and was keen on an exhibit featuring great Americans and would eventually have a major say on &ldquoThe Presidency,&rdquo obviously featuring great white men, and on &ldquoThe Price of Freedom,&rdquo a paean to military triumphs. When NMAH curators complained that they needed time for research on presidents, Behring said they could find all they needed in encyclopedias.

During the 1990s, Smithsonian exhibits had provoked controversy, in particular &ldquoThe West as America&rdquo at the Smithsonian Art Museum in 1991, the aborted strategic bombing exhibit to feature the B-29 Enola Gay at the National Air and Space Museum in 1994, and &ldquoScience in American Life&rdquo at NMAH in 1994. In the 1990s, there was a concerted effort to strip conflict from history exhibits, a trend that unfortunately continues. Smithsonian Secretary I. Michael Heyman decreed that the Institution would no longer mount controversial exhibits, green lighting corporations to exert more influence on exhibit content. &ldquoControversial,&rdquo in Heyman&rsquos formulation, often equated to cutting edge scholarship.

National Museum of American History curators wrestled with the implications of the Reynolds gift. At a Congress of Scholars meeting, it was pointed out that the proposed achievers exhibit did not resonate with any scholarship of the past century and, more importantly, that it was not the role of curators to do the bidding of donors but rather to propose exhibit ideas informed by scholarship. If donors dictated encyclopedia-informed exhibits, then museum curators were superfluous anyone could curate exhibits.

Meddling in exhibit generation was nothing new, but as scholarship became more central to exhibits and donors more demanding, the Society for History in the Federal Government (SHFG) created Museum Exhibit Standards in 1997. Most scholarly organizations quickly signed on. Victoria A. Harden, historian at the Office of NIH History and its Stetten Museum, headed a SHFG committee that drafted standards that staunchly defended curatorial control. Exhibits should be &ldquofounded on scholarship, marked by intellectual integrity, and subjected to rigorous peer review,&rdquo it stated. Museums should identify stakeholders, be aware of diversity, and when dealing with controversial subjects &ldquoacknowledge the existence of competing points of view.&rdquo Lonnie Bunch, then head of curatorial affairs at the history museum, and curator Paula Johnson joined the SHFG committee that authored the standards.

The creation of standards was prescient, for when the implications of Reynolds&rsquo achievers exhibit reached academia, there was a groundswell of support for museum curators, beginning when the Organization of American Historians demanded that the Smithsonian adhere to the History Standards, followed by an American Historical Association resolution that called upon the regents to revise the agreement with Catherine Reynolds. Eventually, Smithsonian Secretary Lawrence Small&rsquos support of Reynolds in particular and of donor intrusion in general had drawn protests from eighty scholarly organizations, but incredulously, or perhaps predictably, such heavyweight fire from the country&rsquos leading scholars bounced off Secretary Small and the Smithsonian Board of Regents, revealing contempt for academicians, public historians, and especially museum curators.

Catherine Reynolds, like Kenneth Behring, leveraged a fortune to enhance social ambitions. Hers is an intriguing stairway to wealth and prominence but does not include a step featuring a sophisticated understanding of history. When someone at a June 2001 meeting suggested that the exhibit would need to be grounded in history, her reply was, &ldquoOh, you mean in chronological order.&rdquo Her contract stipulated that she would appoint ten of the fifteen members of the selection committee giving her control of exhibit content.

There was an intriguing backstory to the Catherine Reynolds hall of achievers idea, for it closely resembled the American Academy of Achievement run by her husband, Wayne Reynolds, who had earlier attempted to interest Kenneth Behring in a museum of achievement. Each year the academy chose thirty prominent achievers from across the country to receive a Golden Plate Award and sponsored an annual four-day retreat. The tie between Catherine Reynolds&rsquo gift to American History and her husband&rsquos Golden Plate Awards largely escaped public scrutiny, although the people she mentioned as potential great achievers for the exhibit were all members of the American Academy of Achievement. Significantly, the Reynolds&rsquo gift announcement came shortly after Secretary Lawrence Small received his own Golden Plate and billed the Smithsonian $14,600 to charter an executive jet to attend the San Antonio award ceremony. This tangle of backslapping, self-praise, donations, and Smithsonian exhibit space did not displease the ever-complicit Board of Regents.

The Reynolds gift challenged curatorial integrity, yet in a money-hungry museum starved of exhibit funds the hall of achievers proposal found purchase, and several curators joined an effort to weave the project into a respectable historical narrative while others criticized the project.

In July 2001, a NMAH Congress of Scholars&rsquo memo to the board of regents provoked a harsh response from museum Director Spencer Crew, not in support of his curators but rather of the Reynolds proposal. He was &ldquoextremely disappointed,&rdquo he replied, &ldquowith the timing and the tone&rdquo of the memo. The donor agreement review, he wrote, went through the Office of the General Counsel, the Under Secretary, the Secretary, and the Board of Regents, and he condemned our memo for demonstrating &ldquoa lack of respect for this exhaustive review process.&rdquo In retrospect, of course, that system of checks failed miserably, not only with such donors as Reynolds and Behring but also, it would turn out, in monitoring Secretary Small and his minions.

Crew ignored the fact that the great achievers exhibit came not from museum staff but from a donor, and it drew upon the donor&rsquos hubris and achievement obsession, rather than scholarship. His reply to our memo, alas, had Smithsonian Castle fingerprints all over it. What would museum visitors learn from a series of success stories that they couldn&rsquot get from People Magazine?

The attempt by some curators to placate Reynolds failed, and on February 4, 2002, Catherine Reynolds pouted and took back her $38 million. &ldquoNever in our wildest dreams,&rdquo she wrote to Secretary Small, &ldquodid we anticipate that the notion of inspiring young people by telling the stories of prominent Americans from all disciplines would be so controversial.&rdquo Her idea for the exhibit, she explained, focused on the power of an individual to make a difference and was &ldquothe antithesis of that espoused by many within the Smithsonian bureaucracy, which is &lsquoonly movements and institutions make a difference, not individuals.&rsquo&rdquo Several curators were aghast that Reynolds so poorly understood and gravely misarticulated their arguments. Neither Reynolds nor Behring was interested in history but rather intent on celebrating a conglomeration of callous capitalists, jocks, and TV personalities, and their donor desire floated without a historical anchor. There was a wax museum sophistication to it. Catherine and Wayne Reynolds never understood that it was not only their simplistic achievers idea she foisted on the museum that grated on the staff but also the threatened fracture of curatorial prerogatives that traditionally originated, shaped, and mounted exhibits. Even all the resources of the Castle could not batter down the will of American History curators, who, while attempting cooperation with Reynolds, held to history standards.

With this cautionary event in mind, one can only imagine a national garden monument filled with statues vetted by the White House staff and lacking guidance of museum standards, not to mention history. President Trump&rsquos garden of heroes seeks to revive a discredited celebratory tradition that cloaked white supremacy in Confederate iconography. Trump, Behring, and Reynolds share the presumption that wealth makes them historical experts, a flaw they share with a large number of less well-off Americans.

Are statues outdated relics of a time before Covid-19 and police brutality tore at the idea of American innocence and invincibility? Is there a moment of opportunity before those intent on coopting and taming demonstrations succeed? Can historians drive a wedge into the illusion of American perfection during a moment of demonstrations and Black Lives Matter support? Change is on the front foot, and this is no time to allow wealth and ignorance to gain ground. Achiever exhibits and sculpture gardens seem pathetic sideshows to the powerful history of the country.


R. J. Reynolds Tobacco Company

R. J. Reynolds Tobacco Company began as Reynolds Industries, a small tobacco company in what is now Winston-Salem. Twenty-four-year-old Richard Joshua Reynolds moved from Virginia to Winston-population about 400-in 1874 and immediately recognized two commercial advantages: the town was the center of the new flue-cured tobacco market and was on a newly constructed railroad line. Reynolds bought a lot next to the tracks and built the "Little Red Factory," a two-story building that covered less area than a tennis court. In the spring of 1875 he hired a few workers and produced 150,000 pounds of chewing tobacco that year.

As his company rapidly grew, Reynolds experimented with using saccharin as a sweetener, although publicly he said that only the area around Winston could grow tobacco so "naturally sweet." He established a large sales force and almost continually brought in new, modern machinery to increase production. Reynolds used his capital wisely to expand his facilities and buy out competitors. He incorporated the R. J. Reynolds Tobacco Company in North Carolina in 1890. In 1899 Reynolds Tobacco became part of James B. Duke's tobacco trust, but it went independent again when the trust was broken up in 1911. After the turn of the century, Reynolds Tobacco produced one-fourth of the nation's flat plug chewing tobacco.

Anticipating an increase in the popularity of smoking tobacco, Reynolds introduced several new brands, including Prince Albert pipe tobacco in 1907. Prince Albert was an instant success: production in the first four years went from 250,000 pounds annually to more than 14 million pounds. In that era most smokers rolled their own cigarettes, but Reynolds introduced four manufactured brands in 1913. Camel, a blend of burley and bright leaf tobaccos, with a touch of Turkish leaf for aroma and taste and a healthy amount of sweetener, became an astounding success. The public bought 425 million Camel cigarettes that first year, and four years later Camel was the most popular cigarette in the United States. The label, drawn from a photograph of Old Joe, a dromedary from the Barnum & Bailey Circus, was famous throughout the nation. By 1925 more than one-half of the cigarettes smoked in the United States were Camels.

Richard Joshua Reynolds died in 1918. That year his company employed 10,000 people who worked in 121 buildings in Winston-Salem (the two towns had merged in 1913). In 1929 the company's headquarters moved into the Reynolds Building, which was cited as the best new building of the year by the National Association of Architects. A larger replica, the Empire State Building, was later built in New York City.

Over the years Reynolds Tobacco produced other successful cigarette brands, including Winston, Salem, Vantage, and Doral. When television took over American entertainment, Reynolds used this new advertising medium to reach a nationwide audience. In 1948 Camel cigarettes sponsored the Camel News Caravan with John Cameron Swayze, one of the first national news programs. Reynolds diversified its international tobacco operations, and in 1956 the company amended its charter to permit investment in nontobacco enterprises. Archer Aluminum, originally formed to produce foil for tobacco products, began making other consumer packaging products. Reynolds purchased Hawaiian Punch fruit drink, Vermont Maid syrup, Chun King oriental foods, Patio Mexican foods, and other brands that were placed under subsidiary RJR Foods. In 1969 Reynolds acquired Sea-Land Service, Inc., the world's first and largest containerized freight operation. In 1970 Reynolds entered the energy business by acquiring American Independent Oil Company. Also in 1970 the company became R. J. Reynolds Industries, Inc. (RJR).

Acquisitions continued throughout the 1970s and 1980s, with RJR obtaining Burmah Oil and Gas Company and Burmah Oil Development, Inc. (1976) Del Monte, the huge processor of fruits and vegetables (1979) Heublein, Inc., a worldwide marketer of distilled spirits (including its flagship product, Smirnoff Vodka), wines, fast foods, and grocery products (1982) and Canada Dry and Sunkist soft drinks (1984). RJRspun off its Sea-Land Service and sold its energy business before acquiring Nabisco Brands, Inc., in 1985. The parent company became RJR Nabisco, Inc., and management moved the corporate headquarters from Winston-Salem to Atlanta.

In the late 1980s, a wild bidding war raged for the huge company. The investment firm Kohlberg, Kravis, Roberts & Company won with a $25 billion leveraged bid. The buyout was said to symbolize the economic climate of the 1980s and was the subject of Bryan Burrough's best-selling book Barbarians at the Gate: The Fall of RJR Nabisco (1990). Saddled with the huge debt, RJR Nabisco sold off assets and in the early 1990s became a publicly traded company again. Headquarters were subsequently moved to New York City.

In 1985 RJR Nabisco was challenged by critics of the tobacco industry for introducing the character of "Joe Cool Camel" in advertisements for Camel cigarettes. Although the company denied that the advertising campaign targeted underage smokers, the character was immensely popular, and Camel's share of the under-18 market increased from 0.5 percent to 32.8 percent in the two years following Joe Camel's appearance. In July 1997 RJR Nabisco decided to retire the controversial figure and replace him with other advertising themes targeting "mature" consumers.

Faced with tobacco's massive legal liability, in March 1999 RJR Nabisco announced the sale of its international tobacco business and its plans to split the domestic tobacco and food businesses into two independent companies. That June R. J. Reynolds Tobacco Company became the wholly owned subsidiary of R. J. Reynolds Tobacco Holdings, Inc., and corporate headquarters returned to Winston-Salem. In January 2002 R. J. Reynolds Tobacco Holdings, Inc. acquired Santa Fe Natural Tobacco Company, Inc., and two years later merged with Brown & Williamson Tobacco Company to form Reynolds American, Inc.

Nannie M. Tilley, The R. J. Reynolds Tobacco Company (1985).

Additional Resources:

RJ Reynolds Tobacco Company official website: http://www.rjrt.com/

"History: A Look into our Past." RJ Reynolds Tobacco Company. http://www.rjrt.com/history.aspx (accessed June 27, 2012).

Lampert, Hope. True Greed: What Really Happened in the Battle for RJR Nabisco. New York, N.Y.: New American Library. 1990.

Tursi, Frank V., White, Susan E., and McQuilkin, Steve. The Lost Empire: the Fall of R.J. Reynolds Tobacco Company. Winston-Salem, N.C.: Winston-Salem Journal. 2000.

Reynolds, Patrick, and Shachtman, Tom. The Gilded Leaf: Triumph, Tragedy, and Tobacco: Three Generations of the R.J. Reynolds Family and Fortune. Boston: Little, Brown and Co. 1989.

"R.J. Reynolds, the quiet giant." Mainliner 12. No. 1. January 1974.

R.J. Reynolds Tobacco Company. A Short History of R. J. Reynolds Tobacco Company. [Winston-Salem, N.C.: R.J. Reynolds Tobacco Company. 1961?].

R.J. Reynolds Tobacco Company. Golden Leaves: R.J. Reynolds Tobacco Company and the Art of Advertising. Winston-Salem, N.C.: R.J. Reynolds Tobacco Company. 1986.

R. J. Reynolds Tobacco Co. Valuable Presents Given for Tobacco Tags for the Entire Year of 1902. Winston-Salem, N.C.: R. J. Reynolds Tobacco Co. 1902. https://docsouth.unc.edu/nc/rjrtags/menu.html

Image Credits:

Inspecting cartons of Camel cigarettes at R. J. Reynolds Tobacco Company. North Carolina Collection, University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill Library.


Reynolds Township

Reynolds Township is one of twenty townships in Montcalm County, one of four adjoining townships in the Montcalm Panhandle, and geographically is comprised of 36 sections, six miles by six miles (36 square miles.) The Village of Howard City, 2.4 square miles, is located in the southeast section of the Township. Situated between Grand Rapids to the South and Big Rapids to the North, dual access to US-131 Expressway, M-46 and M-82 highways add to the attraction of Reynolds Township. Reynolds Township has experienced unprecedented growth in the past 40 years. There are approximately 5,310 residents with 1,808 living within the village.

The woods, parks, creeks (including several designated trout streams) are an attraction for those who like a nature setting, hunting or fishing. The Little Muskegon, Whitefish, Handy and Tamarack Creeks pass through the township to Lake Michigan. The Manistee National Forest, over 1,700 acres, is a wildlife sanctuary for a wide variety of birds and animals. The picturesque Fred Meijer White Pine Trail, running from Grand Rapids, through the township, north to Cadillac, offers biking, hiking and snowmobiling. (See upcoming proposed improvements on our Community Page.) Other features are a Montcalm County Sheriff Sub-station, a highly rated fire department, and education is serviced by Tri-County Area Schools with an excellent group of administration, teachers and support staff. The historic Village of Howard City&rsquos newly renovated Main Street (once a thriving lumbering town) is a combination of past and present. A variety of activities and shows bring spectators from throughout the state. A new library, seven area churches and a wide variety of stores and services add to the convenience and charm of the community.


Watch the video: Ryan Reynolds u0026 Will Ferrell TikTok (January 2022).