Dear Commons Community,
The New York Times has a featured article today that documents an on-going relationship that Microsoft’s Bill Gates had with the sex offender, Jeffrey Epstein. At first, I thought this was the type of story one would see in a tabloid but no this is a serious piece of journalism that raises questions about Gates’s judgment especially since it appears that the relationship started after Epstein was convicted of sex crimes. Here is an excerpt from the article.
“Jeffrey Epstein, the convicted sex offender who committed suicide in prison, managed to lure an astonishing array of rich, powerful and famous men into his orbit.
There were billionaires (Leslie Wexner and Leon Black), politicians (Bill Clinton and Bill Richardson), Nobel laureates (Murray Gell-Mann and Frank Wilczek) and even royals (Prince Andrew).
Few, though, compared in prestige and power to the world’s second-richest person, a brilliant and intensely private luminary: Bill Gates. And unlike many others, Mr. Gates started the relationship after Mr. Epstein was convicted of sex crimes.
Mr. Gates, the Microsoft co-founder, whose $100 billion-plus fortune has endowed the world’s largest charitable organization, has done his best to minimize his connections to Mr. Epstein. “I didn’t have any business relationship or friendship with him,” he told The Wall Street Journal last month.
In fact, beginning in 2011, Mr. Gates met with Mr. Epstein on numerous occasions — including at least three times at Mr. Epstein’s palatial Manhattan townhouse, and at least once staying late into the night, according to interviews with more than a dozen people familiar with the relationship, as well as documents reviewed by The New York Times.
Employees of Mr. Gates’s foundation also paid multiple visits to Mr. Epstein’s mansion. And Mr. Epstein spoke with the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation and JPMorgan Chase about a proposed multibillion-dollar charitable fund — an arrangement that had the potential to generate enormous fees for Mr. Epstein.
“His lifestyle is very different and kind of intriguing although it would not work for me,” Mr. Gates emailed colleagues in 2011, after his first get-together with Mr. Epstein.
Bridgitt Arnold, a spokeswoman for Mr. Gates, said he “was referring only to the unique décor of the Epstein residence — and Epstein’s habit of spontaneously bringing acquaintances in to meet Mr. Gates.”
“It was in no way meant to convey a sense of interest or approval,” she said.
Over and over, Mr. Epstein managed to cultivate close relationships with some of the world’s most powerful men. He lured them with the whiff of money and the proximity to other powerful, famous or wealthy people — so much so that many looked past his reputation for sexual misconduct. And the more people he drew into his circle, the easier it was for him to attract others.
Mr. Gates and the $51 billion Gates Foundation have championed the well-being of young girls. By the time Mr. Gates and Mr. Epstein first met, Mr. Epstein had served jail time for soliciting prostitution from a minor and was required to register as a sex offender.
Ms. Arnold said that “high-profile people” had introduced Mr. Gates and Mr. Epstein and that they had met multiple times to discuss philanthropy.
“Bill Gates regrets ever meeting with Epstein and recognizes it was an error in judgment to do so,” Ms. Arnold said. “Gates recognizes that entertaining Epstein’s ideas related to philanthropy gave Epstein an undeserved platform that was at odds with Gates’s personal values and the values of his foundation.”
How and why does a person like Gates get involved with such a slimy predator.?