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Trust linked to Reynolds chairman nixes historic $250M gift

A charitable trust linked to Reynolds and Reynolds Chairman Robert Brockman has withdrawn a $250 million gift of stock to a small college in Kentucky.

Centre College officials said Monday that the gift had been contingent on a “significant capital market event,” which has not happened.

The Danville, Ky., college released a statement saying that discussions over the gift with the A. Eugene Brockman Charitable Trust have ended.

When the college announced the gift in July, it was thought to be the largest ever to a small liberal arts college.

“The trust’s intended major gift to fund the program was linked to a significant capital market event, which put considerable time pressure on efforts to structure the gift and the proposed scholarship program,” the college said in its statement. “The parties determined that it was not possible to finalize these matters and get the required approvals from both sides in the time available.”

The New York Times has reported that A. Eugene Brockman, who died in 1986, was connected to Centre College through his son, Robert Brockman, who attended Centre for two years before transferring to the University of Florida.

A spokesman for Centre College, Michael Strysick, said the money would have been used to fund a scholarship program. He said the college’s “biggest disappointment” is that the program, which would have been benefited perhaps thousands of students, will not become a reality.

Robert Brockman led Houston-based Universal Computer Systems’ takeover of Reynolds and Reynolds in 2006, taking the company private. The company today is based at Miami Valley Research Park in Kettering and has about 1,300 local employees. It provides software and other business management products and services to automobile dealers nationwide.

Tom Schwartz, a spokesman for Reynolds and Reynolds, said the charitable trust is separate from his company.

“We did look at refinancing (the company’s debt) this summer and decided not to pursue that,” Schwartz said. Without the refinancing, the stock gift will not happen.

Schwartz said leaders of Reynolds believe the company has “a very strong financial position and don’t need to borrow at this point.”

“What does it mean for Reynolds and Reynolds?” he added. “It means we are as strong financially as we have ever been. The fact is, we just chose not to refinance at this time.”

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