The hits keep on coming for Bill Gates, this time in the form of an investigative piece about the man who manages his money. The New York Times paints a damning portrait of Michael Larson, who runs Cascade Investment, aka Bill and Melinda Gates Investments. Larson's sole job is to manage the Gates fortune, and he has by all accounts handled the financial part of his job extremely well. But the story recounts racist remarks and a pattern of alleged sexual harassment (in the form of comments and the display of nude photos), and it asserts that Cascade paid settlements to at least seven people in regard to Larson's behavior in exchange for silence. It also alleges that complaints about Larson were made directly to Bill Gates, who took no action, as well as to Gates' soon-to-be ex-wife, Melinda French Gates, who denies hearing about "most" of the allegations, according to a spokeswoman.
Larson refutes the idea he created a "culture of fear" at Cascade, as the headline puts it. "During his tenure, Mr. Larson has managed over 380 people, and there have been fewer than five complaints related to him in total," says a spokesperson. "Any complaint was investigated and treated seriously and fully examined, and none merited Mr. Larson's dismissal." Once, when a Black employee mentioned she'd voted that morning without facing long lines, Larson responded that she lived in the "ghetto, and everybody knows that Black people don't vote," according to the story. Also, three people interviewed say Larson shorted the stock of a company called InfoSpace out of spite because the same employee announced she was leaving Cascade to work there. Larson's spokesperson confirms the short, but not the motive. (Read the full story here.)