PE pioneer John Childs charged with soliciting a prostitute

  • Arrest warrant issued for John W. Childs
  • Charged with solicitation
  • Part of six-month investigation into prostitution at massage parlors

John W. Childs, founder and chairman of J.W. Childs Associates, has been charged with solicitation of a prostitute as part of a sting operation in Florida, a Vero Beach Police Department spokesman confirmed for Buyouts.

An arrest warrant was issued for Childs, 77, on Feb. 18.

Buyouts sent requests for comment to Childs’s work email, as well as the email address for J.W. Childs Managing Partner Adam Suttin. We received no comment from Childs or Suttin as of Friday afternoon, Feb. 22.

Childs reportedly told Bloomberg: “I have received no contact by the police department about this charge. The accusation of solicitation of prostitution is totally false. I have retained a lawyer.”

John Childs
Photo credit: Screen grab of video presented by Vero Beach Police Department

Childs’s charge resulted from a six-month investigation into massage parlors in Indian River County. The investigation was conducted by the Vero Beach PD, Sebastian Police Department and Indian River Sheriff’s Office, according to a statement from the Vero Beach PD. (See a video of the press conference here.)

Childs formed J.W. Childs in 1995 after working at Thomas H. Lee Partners, where he was Lee’s second in command, Buyouts previously reported. He led the Snapple Beverages deal, the iced tea company the firm bought for $135 million in 1992 and sold two years later for $1.7 billion, Buyouts reported.

J.W. Childs closed its first fund in 1996 with $430 million. Two years later, it closed Fund II on $980 million, and in 2002 closed Fund III on $1.7 billion.

In 2007, the firm abandoned an attempt to raise $2.5 billion for Fund IV amid concerns about performance and deteriorating market conditions. The firm instead raised a $125 million special purpose acquisition vehicle in 2010, which it used to buy stone tile retailer Tile Shop.

The firm filed a Form D in December 2017 to raise $500 million for Fund V. It followed up with an amended Form D for Fund V on Nov. 20, 2018, stating that it had sold $209.25 million of the targeted $500 million to 24 investors. It is not clear if it has held a final close for the fund. Childs is listed in the filing as one of five managers for J.W. Childs Advisors V GP LLC.

Action Item: Check out J.W. Childs’s Form ADV here: