Billionaire Robert F. Smith threw ‘James Bond’-themed birthday bash


Billionaire Robert F. Smith hosted a “James Bond”-themed party at his Florida mansion last weekend — but some guests ended up more shaken than stirred by the lavish proceedings at the beachside bash, sources told On The Money.

The head of Vista Equity Partners — who with a net worth of $8 billion is the nation’s richest African-American — got surprised by his wife and family with a Dec. 2 shindig at his waterfront estate in Palm Beach to celebrate his 60th birthday, according to sources close to the situation.

Nevertheless, some of the party’s roughly 60 guests found the “Double-0 Six-0” celebration a bit awkward and unsettling.

Smith’s wife Hope Dworaczyk — Playboy’s 2010 “Playmate of the Year” who spent months planning the event — imposed what one surprised partygoer called “massive security” at the party, with guests forced to hand over their phones as they entered.

Smith’s waterfront estate in Palm Beach, Fla.
Sotheby’s International Realty

Attendees weren’t encouraged to enter the $48 million house — a 25,000-square-foot spread formerly owned by Tiger Woods’ ex-wife Elin Nordegren whose amenities include a putting green and 15 bathrooms.

Instead, guests were pointed toward a row of port-a-pottys outside. Adding insult to injury, “They frisked you when you came out of the bathroom” in a relentless sweep for hidden cameras and other high-tech spying devices, a guest griped.

R&B Singer Usher
R&B Singer Usher performed at the party.
Getty Images
"Live and Let Die" movie poster.
A live, Bond-like, “high-impact action sequence” had been slated but was postponed.
United Artists

It had been an awkward week for Smith to say the least. Six days earlier, Smith’s former lawyer, Carlos Kepke, had died of a self-inflicted gunshot wound on the eve of his own trial for allegedly helping Smith hide $225 million from the IRS, according to reports.

Kepke’s lawyers had planned to question Smith, who had asked the judge to seal evidence in the case. In October 2020, Smith signed a non-prosecution agreement with the feds over the tax allegations against him.

In turn, Smith had agreed to testify against his ex-business partner, Robert Brockman, who died in August before a trial over charges that he orchestrated the largest individual tax-fraud case in US history.

Smith’s party started around 5 p.m. and R&B Singer Usher performed around 10 p.m. A live, Bond-like, “high-impact action sequence” had been slated for around sunset that involved a James Bond-like character descending on the grounds from a helicopter, sources said, but the spectacle got canceled because of weather conditions.

“They had something planned but it was too windy,” the partygoer said. “The ‘Bond’ theme was a non-event. It wasn’t a great party.”

Smith — who is chairman of Carnegie Hall and who famously spent $34 million to pay off the student debt of Morehouse College’s entire graduating class of 2019 — also made headlines earlier this year with a failed bid to buy the Denver Broncos.

Reps for Smith declined to comment.

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