Silicon Valley venture capitalist Chris Schaepe is out at Lightspeed Venture Partners, after telling his partners about having hired Rick Singer, the Newport Beach, Ca., businessman in the middle of the college bribery scandal.
According to Axios, which broke the news of Schaepe’s departure, Schaepe insists he didn’t knowingly participate in any bribery schemes, but that he had hired Singer to help with his son’s college admissions process, paying a hefty $176,000 for his services.
Specifically, Schaepe’s son, who’d been the manager for his high school’s basketball and football teams, aspired to attend the University of Texas and to play basketball there. In an effort to guarantee a slot, Singer made an introduction to the school’s men’s tennis coach, Michael Center, who helped secure a letter of intent for Schaepe’s son to attend the school.
The idea, suggests Axios, was to make it look like Schaepe’s son would manage the tennis team and later, as a student, manage the university’s college basketball team — which happened.
Schaepe had apparently remained quiet, but a sports blogger named Brooks Melchior seems to have forced his hand.
As Melchior noted in a post a couple of days ago, Center was heard on a FBI wiretap confirming to Singer that he had received nearly $100,000 “in exchange for which Center would designate a student as a recruit to the (UT) tennis team, thereby facilitating his admission to (UT).”
While Center has since been fired, Melchior noted that the parent in the case involving Center was neither named nor indicted, so Melchior did some digging, obtaining a screen shoot of Singer’s now-deleted website that happened to feature Schaepe son, front and center, alongside Kevin Durant and a testimonial, reading:
I wanted to thank you personally for all your help in getting me into the University of Texas in Austin, and for helping me secure a managers position with the UT basketball team. And, can you believe it, here is a picture of me with basketball star, Kevin Durrant at the UT Summer Basketball Camp.I
Schaepe’s son, who began attending the school in 2015, is set to graduate next year, according to his LinkedIn profile. It further states that he is currently working at an automotive marketing company in Austin, where the school is based.
Asked for comment, Lightspeed sent us the following statement.
Lightspeed Partner Chris Schaepe recently made the firm aware of a personal matter. We determined to separate from Chris to ensure this matter does not interfere with firm operations. The matter does not involve the firm, its personnel or its portfolio companies.
Courtesy of Axios, Schaepe’s spokesperson has also released a statement, though it’s somewhat hard to believe given the money involved:
“We are deeply disturbed that the person we had trusted to guide us through the college application process was engaged in inappropriate acts. Like countless other families, we believed that his services and his foundation were all above board, and we are shocked by his deception.”
Schaepe, who cofounded Lightspeed 19 years ago, has already been removed from the firm’s website.
This story is developing….