Occasionally, Cohen said the spouses of very wealthy people don’t ask for as much money as they could and instead settle for much less. He added that if he thinks a client is about to do a deal he thinks is “egregiously bad,” he’ll advise them to not to take it.
“I might push them a little bit and try to get them to see the other side of it,” he said. “Remember: for the unmoneyed spouse, it’s likely to be the largest business deal that they’ll ever do in their life. And they really need to think about it, because they may not have a second opportunity.”
Some clients will find a happy medium between the extremes of accepting too little or demanding too much of their spouse, and those are the cases Cohen says he resolves fairly easily out of court.
If Cohen were to represent the wife of a man who’s worth $500 million, he said it wouldn’t be unusual for that client to ask him to win a settlement closer to $100 million or $115 million, rather than a full $250 million. In such a case, Cohen said he could simply call up the lawyer representing the hypothetical husband – it’s a small number of elite divorce lawyers handling these cases, and they all know each other.
“You’ll never get that deal again,” Cohen said. “Because if we go to court and we have to fight about that, you know what the end result is going to be, because I know what the end result is going to be, and you’re a smart guy.”
Though the famed Manhattan lawyer has a long reputation for being “mean” and a “killer,” Cohen said people would be surprised by how fair he tries to be. He said he often has to remind his clients that what they consider fair may be very different from what their spouse considers fair.
“One of my jobs is not only to do well for my client, but I think one of my jobs is also to make it possible that both parties at the end of the day feel reasonably good about the resolution,” he said. “Especially if there are children involved.”
Cohen considers himself something of an expert at determining what’s a square deal: He’s known for winning the first major equitable-distribution case in New York in 1985, Karp v. Karp, after the state’s divorce laws required marital assets to be split “equitably” – which means the assets must be distributed fairly, but not necessarily 50/50.
“To be candid, I’d like my client to come out a little better than ‘reasonably fair,’ but nevertheless, I want both people to walk away and say, ‘I did okay,'” Cohen said.
But he acknowledged that he has to get “clever” at times when fairness doesn’t cut it. When neither side can agree on the amount of money that should be paid to or received by a given spouse, Cohen often will propose taking that sum and creating a trust for the couple’s children.
“You’re doing something you’re likely to do anyway, which is leave money to your kids,” he said. “It’s a way to sort of get around the delta that we sometimes run into.”
Rock told Insider in an interview that Cohen was a capable, intelligent, and realistic lawyer who helped the comedian see the bigger picture: That most of his divorce had already been resolved, and the most contentious parts composed a tiny fraction of what was at stake.
“Put it this way. People get divorced. People fight. Things take sometimes years. At the end of the day, you’re only talking 4%, one way or the other,” Rock said. “[Cohen] said that to me. I was like, ‘Oh, okay.’ And that put it in perspective.”
Cohen told Insider his 4% rule holds up in most divorces he handles. He’s one of the most prominent divorce lawyers in the country, and has represented a number of other high-profile clients, including former New York City Mayor Michael Bloomberg, the actors Uma Thurman and James Gandolfini, and both of Donald Trump’s ex-wives, Ivana Trump and Marla Maples.
“At the end of the day, the differences are usually a small percentage. Both with respect to money, and with respect to custody issues,” he said.
Rock’s turbulent divorce was highly publicized, and he’s since opened up about his flaws as a husband – in particular, his numerous infidelities.
But he said Cohen remained cool-headed throughout the process, particularly when it came to disputes over child custody.
“I had some issues,” Rock said. “It’s like, when you’re a guy, some people don’t even think you want to see your kids. [Cohen] was very understanding about all of that.”
“He got me through a very tough time in my life,” Rock added.
When a celebrity or a billionaire sits down for the first time with Manhattan’s most infamous divorce attorney, the conversation gets deep. Quickly.
Robert Stephan Cohen always asks the potential new client about sex – namely, whether they’re still having it – as well as how they made their money and why their marriage is failing. He’s brutally honest about his thoughts, and it’s not unusual for the conversation to end with Cohen talking the person out of a divorce entirely.
“I find that if people are still able to be happily married and be intimate, I think there’s something to save,” Cohen said.
Yet in person, Cohen is warm and thoughtful. In a recent interview with Insider from his offices on the 32nd floor of a midtown Manhattan skyscraper, the 82-year-old attorney frequently cracked jokes and asked questions of his own.
It’s a high-stakes moment for Cohen: He’s representing Melinda Gates in her split from Microsoft founder Bill Gates. Their divorce settlement could very well become the largest in history.
Bill Gates is currently the fourth-richest person in the world and worth an estimated $126 billion, according to Forbes. It’s unclear whether the couple has a prenuptial agreement – Cohen declined to comment on the Gates’ divorce specifically – but the divorce petition asked that their assets be divided in accordance with a separation contract, the details of which remain a mystery.
Cohen spoke with Insider broadly about the complexities of a billionaire’s divorce, and how America’s elite divide their astronomical wealth when their marriages crumble.
“The wealth that exists in the United States is staggering. Even to me,” Cohen said. “Remember: For the person who doesn’t have the money, it’s likely to be the largest business deal that they’ll ever do in their life.”
Code names and 2 a.m. phone calls
Cohen said each of his cases involving a high-net-worth client starts off the same way: with an initial meeting.
Many of the issues at stake for a billionaire or movie star are the same ones facing the average American couple – infidelity, conflict, and money troubles. Cohen said he’ll spend about 90 minutes in each intake meeting delving into “the psychology of how to deal with the divorce.”
Cohen has to ask his wealthy clients whether there are children involved, whether custody disputes will arise, how the client made their money, when they started to make their money, and why their marriage broke down.
“Divorce lawyers are like doctors in a weird way,” the comedian Chris Rock told Insider. Cohen represented Rock in 2016, during his highly-publicized divorce from his wife of 19 years.
“They need to have a good bedside manner. And Bob has a very good, soothing manner. Gets you through, lets you see the big picture,” Rock said. “He explains the realities of the situation.”
When a client decides to retain him, Cohen said that’s when he and his team dig in for the long haul. They start pulling in financial statements and reviewing the details of their client’s assets. He’s cultivated a bevy of experts in securities, real estate, and banking to help with his biggest cases over the years. His firm, Cohen Clair Lans Greifer Thorpe & Rottenstreich LLP, has three lawyers on staff who are also certified public accountants and often help his team with complex tax or securities laws.
“In the olden days, we dealt with spreadsheets and accountants and it took months sometimes to put together a financial statement for a wealthy client,” he said. Today, it can be as simple as making a single phone call or having an elite client “press a button” and deliver him a relatively accurate financial statement.
With celebrities like Rock, Cohen has to strategize around the client’s privacy protections.
“We have more code names for our clients in this firm than probably a lot of other firms who do these things, because we have to generally hide and keep secret the fact that we’re representing somebody before it becomes public,” he said.
Cohen said as soon as he receives a call from a celebrity, he comes up with a code word – a previous client was “watermelon” – to be used only by him and the other lawyers working on the case. The rest of his firm, and even his wife, usually won’t know what the code word stands for.
The attorney-client relationship is also remarkably close, Cohen said, no matter how famous the client is, or how many managers or assistants try to intervene. All clients get his personal cellphone number, with the caveat that they use it responsibly.
Cohen said a celebrity client once phoned him in the middle of the night, exclaiming, “Bob, I need to talk to you.”
When Cohen noted that it was 2 a.m., she responded, “Well, it’s only 11 o’clock in LA.”
‘He’s not a shark’
Celebrity divorce attorneys are a small and exclusive bunch. Many of Cohen’s toughest adversaries are also his friends – and despite frequently facing off with him in the courtroom, they sing his praises outside of it.
To succeed in divorce cases where millions of dollars are at stake, attorneys like Cohen have to know so much more than alimony laws, according to David Saxe, a retired New York Supreme Court justice.
“To be a good lawyer in that context, you have to know a lot more than what the divorce law says,” Saxe told Insider. “You have to understand corporate law, you have to understand estate law, you have to understand tax law, partnership law, commercial law.”
“You have to be a thoroughly well-rounded business lawyer to represent those clients properly in a divorce, and that’s what Bob Cohen does,” he continued. “That’s his specialty.”
Saxe, who as a justice frequently oversaw divorces where Cohen represented one of the parties, said Cohen was “a gentleman to his adversaries” despite his formidable reputation. He never had to admonish Cohen in court, nor did he ever catch Cohen trying to take advantage of another lawyer.
“They used to call matrimonial lawyers ‘sharks,'” Saxe said. “He’s not a shark. He always kept on the high road, and I think that won him the plaudits of the other judges … as well as his colleagues.”
Rock said Cohen was a calm, bracing presence during a miserable period in his life. The comedian has since been candid over his faults and infidelities during his marriage, and his famously bitter divorce involved rumored disputes over child custody.
“I had some issues,” Rock acknowledged. “It’s like, when you’re a guy, some people don’t even think you want to see your kids. He was very understanding about all of that.”
Rock said one piece of wisdom from Cohen helped him through the worst of a two-year legal battle: The harshest disagreements make up only a tiny percentage of what’s at stake in a divorce.
“Put it this way. People get divorced. People fight. Things take sometimes years. At the end of the day, you’re only talking 4%, one way or the other,” Rock said. “[Cohen] said that to me. I was like, ‘Oh, okay.’ And that put it in perspective.”
“No one – not in America, anyway – gets killed in a divorce. You know what I mean?” Rock continued. “There’s no lawyer that ever got somebody so much more than they were supposed to get, or so much less. It just doesn’t exist in this country.”
From Coney Island to midtown Manhattan
Cohen was raised in Coney Island, Brooklyn, the son of a taxi driver father and a homemaker mother.
Initially keen on dentistry at Alfred University in western New York, Cohen took a course on constitutional law in his junior year, became hooked, and decided to become a lawyer instead.
Cohen learned about ambition and wealth relatively early in his career, under the wing of Roy Cohn, the notoriously ruthless prosecutor and right-hand man of Sen. Joseph McCarthy.
“I will say that my politics were quite different than his,” Cohen said. “But he was regarded as a brilliant lawyer. Other issues surround him, but he was nevertheless a brilliant lawyer.”
Beyond his legal prowess, Cohn taught Cohen about the finer things in life, taking him on rides in private airplanes and showing him office suites on Park Avenue.
“I got to see things that I never saw, and I got a taste for it,” Cohen said. “Ambition is very much part of not only a successful lawyer, but being successful at anything you want to do. You’ve got to want to achieve the highest level that you can.”
Though Cohen started out as a corporate lawyer, his name became inextricably linked with divorce law when he represented the billionaire private equity giant Henry Kravis in a post-matrimonial case in the 1990s.
“It was not a divorce case, but it sort of smelled a little like a divorce case,” Cohen said. “My name was in the newspaper attached to this lawsuit that I had won; we got the case dismissed and everybody started calling me. They thought I was some matrimonial lawyer.”
He took on a few matrimonial cases, then “got good and kept getting better,” he said. Eventually, word-of-mouth recommendations among the Hollywood and Wall Street elite led him to develop a lucrative matrimonial boutique firm and a renowned teaching career. His “Anatomy of a Divorce” class at the University of Pennsylvania Law School has been popular among students for years, according to Eleanor Barrett, the school’s associate dean.
The types of divorces that Cohen specializes in are known as “business divorces,” Saxe said. They involve absurdly wealthy clients – often hedge fund managers, corporate moguls, or real estate developers – who come with sprawling assets in all manner of hiding places.
Whether a divorce lawyer is representing the moneyed or less-moneyed spouse, they have to be savvy enough to understand how to approach that level of wealth, Saxe said.
“The divorce comes right in the middle of this financial empire, and Bob would have to navigate that,” he said.
“Those people could probably retain any lawyer in the world,” Saxe said. “They want somebody who is highly professional, that is discreet … and who will listen carefully and give good advice. And he can do all of those things.”
Fewer Americans are getting divorced – and fewer are getting married
The twilight years of Cohen’s career have arrived as both marriage and divorce rates plummet in the United States.
Census data shows divorce rates have steeply decreased in the last decade. At the same time, experts say younger generations are marrying later in life (or, increasingly, not at all), and waiting until after they reach major milestones like graduating, establishing their careers, or buying homes.
Cohen said he was aware of the trends, but isn’t losing sleep over it.
“I’m not worrying about it, nor does anybody in my firm,” he said. “Look, marriage is an institution and it’s never going to go away. There’s a constitutional right in our country to be married. There are Supreme Court of the United States cases dealing with the right to marriage. I have a bunch of kids; all of them are married.”
Cohen said his team handles roughly 50 prenups per year, as well as a number of postnuptial agreements. He also confirmed that the so-called gray divorce trend the Gates’ divorce has highlighted is one he sees in his practice, so there’s plenty of business for him.
Cohen’s clients, much like himself, are working longer and living longer. In some cases, they’re divorcing later.
“When you were 60 in the olden days, you stopped working, you were retired, you were on a pension. Maybe if you were lucky, you got a small place in a warm climate,” he said. “It’s way different now – at 60, you’re vital, you’re working, and your career is ahead of you, not behind you.”
Even when a divorce case he’s working on turns nasty, Cohen said he sleeps very well at night.
“There’s the bad part, the destruction of a marriage. But the other side of this is we start people out and we give them a new life,” he said. “It sort of makes what I do a lot nicer sometimes – when I smile and think about the gift that we give to people.”
Some are becoming new parents: This month, Slack CEO Stewart Butterfield and Jen Rubio, the CEO of luggage startup Away, announced the birth of their first child together. The couple got engaged in May 2019, but postponed a planned wedding in Peru after the pandemic hit.
Others, sadly, have broken up: Amazon CEO Jeff Bezos and his wife, now MacKenzie Scott, announced in early 2019 that they were getting a divorce. And one of the most famous power couples in the world, Bill and Melinda Gates, are now headed for divorce as well.
Still, there are 14 other notable couples that hail from Silicon Valley who are still going strong.
A post shared by Emily Weiss (@emilyweiss) on Mar 18, 2020 at 10:25pm PDT
Who they are: Weiss is the cofounder and CEO of online makeup company Glossier. Gaybrick is the chief product officer at payments platform Stripe. Glossier is valued at more than $1 billion, while Stripe is the most valuable US startup with a valuation of $95 billion.
Their backstory: Not a whole lot about their relationship has been shared publicly. The couple made their relationship public in an Instagram post from New Years Day of 2019, then announced their engagement in a post in March 2020.
“Even during the wildest most uncertain times, there are silver linings,” Weiss wrote in the caption for the Instagram photo. Their engagement came just as the World Health Organization classified the coronavirus as a “pandemic.”
Evan Spiegel and Miranda Kerr
Who they are: Spiegel is the cofounder and CEO of Snap Inc., Snapchat’s parent company. Kerr was, at one time, one of the highest-earning models in the world, and is currently the founder of wellness company KORA Organics.
Their backstory: The couple has been linked since 2015, when they were seen together at the star-studded wedding for a dating app CEO in Jamaica. The couple reportedly have a baby girl together who was born in late 2018, although they’ve kept information about their child under wraps. Brin has two other children from his previous marriage to 23andMe CEO Anne Wojcicki.
It was revealed in October 2019 that Brin and Shanahan have been married since 2018, but there were no other details made public about the wedding.
Karlie Kloss and Joshua Kushner
Who they are: Kushner is the founder of venture capital firm Thrive Capital and is the cofounder of health insurance startup Oscar Health. Kloss is a prominent model who runs coding camps for young girls called Kode with Klossy.
Who they are: Zuckerberg is the CEO and cofounder of Facebook. Chan is a former pediatrician. Together, the couple launched the Chan Zuckerberg Initiative, a philanthropy focused on science and education.
Who they are: Ohanian is the cofounder of Reddit, and later cofounded the VC firm Initialized Capital. Williams is one of the best tennis players in the world, and ranks third on the all-time list of most winning players with 39 major tournament titles. In 2014, Williams launched her own investment firm, Serena Ventures, to invest in companies like Billie, Tonal, and Daily Harvest.
Their backstory: The couplemet in May 2015 in Rome, and started dating that same year. They got engaged at the end of 2016 at the same place in Rome where they had first met. Williams gave birth to the couple’s daughter, Alexis Olympia Ohanian, in 2017, and they got married later that year.
Their backstory: The couple met through a mutual friend in 2007, and got married two years later. Mayer announced her first pregnancy in 2012 on the same day she was publicly named Yahoo’s CEO. She gave birth to identical twin girls in 2015.
Marc Benioff and Lynne Benioff
Who they are: Marc Benioff is the founder and CEO of enterprise cloud company Salesforce. Lynne Benioff is a notable philanthropist who serves on the board of the nonprofit ONE, UCSF Benioff Children’s Hospitals, the Benioff Ocean Initiative, and others.
Who they are: David Morin helped to create Facebook Platform and Facebook Connect, and cofounded Path, a now-defunct photo-based platform. He’s currently an investor with VC firm Offline Ventures. Brit Morin is the founder of Brit + Co., a popular lifestyle media company for millennial women.
Their backstory: The pair first met when they both were working at Apple years ago. They got engaged in 2011 after an elaborate proposal set in the Maldives, and got married the following year.
Kevin Hartz and Julia Hartz
Who they are: Kevin Hartz and Julia Hartz cofounded the ticketing company Eventbrite in 2006. He is currently a chairman at the company, while she serves as CEO.
Who they are: Greene and Rosenblum both helped found the cloud computing software company VMware in 1998. They also cofounded the cloud startup Bebop, which Google acquired in 2015. Greene was put in charge of Google’s cloud computing unit, and later sat on Alphabet’s board of directors. Greene is now chairman of the MIT Corporation, which is Massachusetts Institute of Technology’s board of trustees.
Their backstory: The couple met while attending the University of California, Berkeley, when Rosenblum gave Greene a ride on his motorcycle. They have two children together.
Second, big goals can actually turn into distracting daydreams, science shows. Rather than do the hard work that’s required to reach their aims, people imagine their fabulous future and actually end up less hungry to make it happen in reality.
Finally, big goals often take a long time to achieve. By the time we reach our destination, we’ve changed so much that we no longer even want whatever it is we’ve been working so hard for.
So what works better than big, fixed, long-term goals? Melinda Gates and others, including some of the world’s happiest people, offer the same suggestions, and you’re going to love how simple they are.
“Often, people think once you achieve a life goal, you’ll achieve long-term happiness, but that wasn’t the case for the majority of people I spoke with. For them, happiness was a muscle they needed to continuously exercise and reevaluate,” Wax wrote.
Rather than rely just on big, distant goals, the super joyful focused on how they wanted to feel and behave in the moment. “List a handful of words that embody the emotions and experiences you want to be feeling,” Wax instructed. “Once you have your list, you can start to shift your activities, thoughts, and content to align with those words.”
As Gates explained a few years ago on LinkedIn, she’s not a big fan of the subset of goals known as New Year’s resolutions. Instead, she sets herself a “word of the year.” Previous choices include grace, spacious, and gentle. Each “encapsulates my aspirations for the twelve months ahead,” she wrote.
Like the exceptionally happy folks Wax spoke to, Gates believes focusing her attention on the feelings she wants to experience moment to moment is a more powerful way to change her behavior than a long-term goal. Gates, for instance, recalled her touchstone word grace “during difficult conversations, long days at the office, busy trips with our foundation. … When I was upset or distressed, I whispered it to myself: ‘Grace.'”
Or to put that more concretely, setting yourself the goal of writing a book can be stressful, vague, or overwhelming. Repeating the mantra “write” to yourself each day is more likely to keep you pumping out pages. Eventually you just may have a book.
So if your big goals don’t seem to be getting you far, consider taking the advice of Gates, Clear, and a bunch of happy folks and swap them for touchstone words instead.
A divorce attorney hired by Melinda French Gates has also been snapped up by Connecticut’s state Sen. Alex Kasser, according to CNBC. It follows Kasser’s separation from Seth Bergstein, a Morgan Stanley executive.
Robert Cohen, the divorce attorney, previously represented ex-President Donald Trump’s first two wives, Ivana Trump and Marla Maples. He works as a founding partner at the New York City firm Cohen Clair Lans Greifer Thorpe & Rottenstreich LLP, as Insider reported.
Morgan Stanley employees are likely to be drawn into the saga, following a ruling that allowed Kasser’s lawyers to interrogate three staffers under oath.
The decision relates to what they see as the bank’s illegitimate efforts to get personal financial information from Kasser even as Bergstein, continues to work there, as CNBC reports.
Many accusations in that row have sprung from a bitter case that was filed more than two years ago when Kasser split from Bergstein, per CNBC.
Commenting on Cohen’s expertise, Marilyn Chinitz, whose own matrimonial clientele included actors like Tom Cruise and Michael Douglas, told CNBC: “He’s a fantastic lawyer.” She also described him as “talented and aggressive.”
Insider reported that Microsoft’s CEO Satya Nadella has addressed the issue, by saying that the “Microsoft of 2021 is very different from the Microsoft of 2000.”
In the same report, a spokesperson for Bill Gates said in a statement that allegations the billionaire mistreated employees were false, and that he had an affair 20 years ago that ended amicably. The spokesperson did not say whether the affair was with a Microsoft employee.
Bill Gates has transferred $850 million more in shares to Melinda French Gates amid the couple’s divorce, the Wall Street Journal reported on Tuesday.
The Microsoft co-founder transferred 2.25 million shares of equipment manufacturer Deere, brand name John Deere, to French Gates through his investment firm, Cascade Investment LLC, on Thursday, according to a securities filing seen by the Journal.
The reported Deere transfer equates to around 7% of Gates’s stake in the company.
Gates and Cascade Investment still owned nearly 29.3 million shares – 9.3% of the company – after the $850 million transfer to French Gates, the security filings said, per the Journal.
Cascade Investment didn’t immediately reply to Insider’s request for comment. The holding company also declined to comment beyond the filings to the Journal.
Insider reported on May 7 that three stocks worth a combined $3 billion were transferred to French Gates after the couple’s divorce announcement. These stocks included 2.9 million shares of automotive retailer AutoNation, 14.1 million shares of Canadian National Railway, and 293.5 million shares of media company Grupo Televisa.
Other stocks that French Gates could receive from Cascade Investment include Republic Services and Ecolab, which are heavily owned positions at the holding company.
This is not the first time Jennifer has shared her thoughts on her family on Instagram.
Shortly after the divorce announcement, the 25-year-old posted another story that read: “It’s been a challenging stretch of time for our whole family. I’m still learning how to best support my own process and emotions as well as my family members at this time and am grateful for the space to do so.”
The pair met to discuss philanthropic ideas at Epstein’s Manhattan residence in 2011 after Epstein aggressively worked to meet the Microsoft co-founder, the New York Times reported in 2019, citing documents and interviews with more than a dozen people familiar with the relationship between the two men. According to the Times, Bill Gates stayed late at Epstein’s apartment, and Epstein’s former girlfriend and her 15-year-old daughter were also present.
Bill Gates wrote an email to his colleagues later that year about how Epstein’s “lifestyle is very different and kind of intriguing although it would not work for me,” the Times reported. A spokeswoman for Gates told the Times that the email was referring to Epstein’s “unique decor” and spontaneous way of inviting acquaintances to meet his guests.
Sources recently told The Daily Beast that the meeting still haunts Melinda Gates. Bill Gates and Epstein met another time in 2011 and were photographed with a senior JP Morgan executive and the science adviser to the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation.
Gates told The Journal in 2019 that he had met Epstein but said he did not have “any business relationship or friendship with him.” Gates made the comments after his meetings with the convicted sex offender surfaced.
Bill Gates met Epstein again in 2013, this time joined by Melinda Gates
The trio met at Epstein’s New York City mansion. Shortly after, Melinda Gates told her husband that said she was uncomfortable with Epstein and was furious about Bill Gates’s relationship with him, according to the Journal. Despite the warning, Bill Gates and other associates of the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation maintained ties with Epstein, the Journal reported.
Bill Gates also reportedly flew with Epstein on his private jet, dubbed “Lolita Express,” from New Jersey to Florida in 2013, according to the New York Times. Bill Gates denied to The Journal in 2019 that he went to Florida or to party functions with Epstein.
Bill Gates donated $2 million to MIT’s media lab in 2014, a donation that Epstein reportedly facilitated
Joi Ito, the MIT media lab’s former director, said in an email obtained by The New Yorker that Epstein guided Bill Gates into making a $2 million contribution.
The monetary gift came from bgC3, which has been renamed Gates Ventures, Bill Gates’ venture capital firm, according to Axios.
“This is a $2M gift from Bill Gates directed by Jeffrey Epstein,” reads the internal email, per the New Yorker’s report. The lab accepted the donation despite Epstein’s sex offender charges. Ito announced he was resigning the day after The New Yorker story was published.
In a statement to the outlet, a Gates spokesperson said “any claim that Epstein directed any programmatic or personal grantmaking for Bill Gates is completely false.”
Epstein later lamented to a friend towards the end of 2014 that Bill Gates had cut off communication with him, a source told the NYT.
Some of Gates’s colleagues also knew Epstein
Some of Bill Gates’s current and former colleagues at Microsoft and the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation had ties with Epstein.
Melanie Walker, a Gates Foundation employee from 2005 to 2013, knew Epstein since 1992, according to The Daily Beast. She served as his science advisor in 1998.
Walker introduced Epstein to Boris Nikolic, who was the Gates Foundation’s science advisor at the time, The Daily Beast reported. Epstein would later name Nikolic a backup executor of his will, a role he told Bloomberg he was not consulted on and quickly rejected.
Linda Stone, who served as a Microsoft executive from 1993 to 2002, reportedly knew Epstein and introduced him to Ito, the former MIT media lab director.
“He has a tainted past, but Linda assures me that he’s awesome,” Ito said in an internal email, according to The Daily Beast.
Epstein was also reportedly friends with Nathan Myhrvold, the former CTO of Microsoft who spent 14 years at the company, according to Vanity Fair.
A spokesperson for Myhrvold told Vanity Fair at the time, “Nathan has no knowledge of or any involvement in the various crimes that Mr. Epstein is accused of committing. He was never a client of his money management business, and he’s never done business with him of any sort. Back in the day Epstein was a regular at TED conferences and he was a large donor to basic scientific research, so while Nathan knew him and has socialized with him, that’s exactly where their association ends.”
The couple, who have been married for 27 years and have three children, announced on May 3 that they were going to split up.
The 65-year-old billionaire has been laying low in his multi million-dollar house at The Vintage Club in Indian Wells for a few months, according to the source.
“Bill clearly saw this divorce coming for a long time because he’s been there for around three months,” the source told Page Six, part of the New York Post.
The Microsoft founder was spotted at the luxury golf and country club with his 25-year-old daughter Jennifer Gates and her partner, Nayel Nassar, an Egyptian millionaire and show jumper, according to the source.
“It is the perfect place for Bill to hide out from anyone who wants to question him about his divorce or his alleged ties to Epstein,” the source said.
Gates bought a huge six-bed mansion at The Vintage Club for $12.5 million in 1990, according to a Forbes report.
On its website, the club describes itself as “one of the United States’ most prestigious and ultra-exclusive private country club communities.”
The club, which costs $250,000 to join, is a members-only country club where high-profile people such as businessmen Charles Koch, Philip Anshultz, and Dennis Washington go to enjoy luxury properties and play golf. The club has two championship golf courses, a spa, restaurants, and tennis courts.
The Vintage Club’s current real-estate listings range from $755,000 for a Hacienda-style cottage to upwards of $17 million for a custom home.