Meet John Childs, the billionaire private equity firm owner and major Republican donor charged in the Florida prostitution sting

  • Billionaire private equity firm owner John Childs has been charged with solicitation of prostitution as part of a sweeping human-trafficking investigation, Florida authorities said.
  • The investigation has named a number of high-profile executives, including New England Patriots owner Robert Kraft and former Citigroup official John Havens.
  • Childs told Bloomberg News on Friday the allegation was “totally false” and said he hadn’t yet been contacted by police.

The billionaire owner of a Massachusetts-based private equity firm has been wrapped up in a massive prostitution scandal that has already ensnared the likes of New England Patriots owner Robert Kraft and former Citigroup executive John Havens.

John Childs, the 77-year-old founder of J.W. Childs Associates, has been charged with solicitation of prostitution, according to the Vero Beach Police Department in Florida.

Childs is one of 173 people charged as part of a sweeping, six-month criminal investigation into multiple massage parlors across several Florida jurisdictions.

As of Friday afternoon, Childs hadn’t been arrested. He told Bloomberg News in an interview he hadn’t even been contacted by police.

“The accusation of solicitation of prostitution is totally false,” he said. “I have retained a lawyer.”

Read more: Here are the major executives who were caught in Florida’s massage parlor prostitution sting

Childs is a major Republican donor who supported GOP candidates in the past such as 2012 presidential candidate Mitt Romney, and former House Speaker Paul Ryan, according to opensecrets.org.

He has an estimated net worth of $US1.2 billion and donated some $US4.3 million throughout the last election cycle, according to TCPalm.

Campaign finance records show that Childs gave a whopping $US250,000 to America First Action, a superPAC that supports President Donald Trump.

He also donated large sums to the conservative Club for Growth Action superPAC, the Senate Conservative Actions PAC, and the America Rising PAC.

He also backed individual Republicans like Florida Sen. Rick Scott, Montana Sen. Steve Daines, and Indiana Sen. Mike Braun.

According to a J.W. Childs Associates biography, Childs founded the firm in 1995 after working in top-level positions at the Thomas H. Lee Company and the Prudential Insurance Company.

He holds degrees from both Yale University and Columbia University.

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