Bill Gates’ money manager accused of racism, sexual remarks and bullying, report says
The man responsible for managing a huge chunk of the money belonging to Bill Gates and Melinda French Gates made racist and sexual comments about employees, creating a “culture of fear” at the firm, according to a new report.
After a series of revelations about the billionaire’s conduct following the couple’s announcement of a split, the newest revelations centre around Michael Larson who runs Cascade Investments, a company that manages the finance of Mr Gates and Ms French Gates for the last 27 years.
A New York Times investigation interviewing numerous former Cascade employees has revealed that Mr Larson, had “judged female employees on their attractiveness, showed colleagues nude photos of women on the internet and on several occasions made sexually inappropriate comments. He made a racist remark to a Black employee.”
Sources told the outlet that Mr Larson would call employees "stupid" and deem their work to be "garbage."
It also claimed that Mr Larson was bullying his employees. The report said: “When an employee said she was leaving Cascade, Mr Larson retaliated by trying to hurt the stock price of the company she planned to join.”
The report also claimed that at least six employees, including four Cascade employees, complained to Mr Gates about Mr Larson, over the years, quoting a few former employees and others with direct knowledge of the complaints.
Cascade made payments to at least seven people who witnessed or knew about Mr Larson’s behaviour; in exchange, they agreed to never speak about their time at the firm, the NYT report claimed.
In a statement to the newspaper, a spokesman for Cascade said: “During his tenure, Mr Larson has managed over 380 people, and there have been fewer than five complaints related to him in total. Any complaint was investigated and treated seriously and fully examined, and none merited Mr Larson’s dismissal.”
Cascade is also referred to as Bill and Melinda Gates Investments. Mr Larson told the Times: “Calling BMGI a toxic work environment is unfair to the 160 professionals who make up our team and our culture.”
The report also said that a few employees took the issue to Ms French Gates. In response, Courtney Wade, a spokeswoman for Ms French Gates, said: “Melinda unequivocally condemns disrespectful and inappropriate conduct in the workplace. She was unaware of most of these allegations given her lack of ownership of and control over BMGI.”
The recent controversy is an addition to a series of revelations that have hampered the image of the billionaire philanthropist. It comes after reports of Mr Gates’ closeness with Jeffrey Epstein, who faced accusations of sex trafficking of girls. He also allegedly pursued women who worked for him at Microsoft and the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation.
The Wall Street Journal on Sunday reported that Microsoft's board hired a law firm to investigate Mr Gates in 2019 over claims he began an affair with a company employee in 2000.
Reference: Independent: Stuti Mishra