Warren Buffett has resigned as a trustee from the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation – one of the largest charitable organizations in the world – in the midst of the estranged couple's raging $128 billion divorce battle.
The almost-91-year-old once-richest man in the world made the statement on Wednesday in conjunction with comments about his annual contribution of Berkshire Hathaway shares to five charitable foundations.
"For years, I have been a trustee, an inactive trustee, at that of only one recipient of my funds, the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation (BMG)," said Buffett, the chairman and CEO of Berkshire Hathaway, a multinational conglomerate company.
"I am now resigning from that post, just as I have done at all corporate boards other than Berkshire," he said, adding that the chief executive officer of BMG, Mark Suzman, is "an outstanding recent selection who has [his] full support."
Buffett – whose fortune is estimated at well over $100 billion – maintained that his "goals are 100 percent in sync with those of the foundation, and my physical participation is in no way needed to achieve these goals."
The business magnate, investor and philanthropist also announced that he is halfway to reaching his goal of giving away all his shares in the conglomerate – more than 99 percent of his net worth – to philanthropy, with his next donation being in the amount of $4.1 billion.
He made the pledge in 2006.
Though Buffet provided no explanation for stepping down from his position, questions have been raised about the Gates' foundation's leadership following reports of Bill's alleged inappropriate behavior in the workplace.
After Melinda filed for divorce earlier this year, Bill admitted to having had an affair with a Microsoft employee in 2000. The technology company launched an investigation into the matter in 2019, and in 2020, Bill stepped down from the board of directors.
In regard to the workplace relationship, a spokesperson for Bill told Radar, "There was an affair almost 20 years ago which ended amicably. Bill's decision to transition off the board was in no way related to this matter. In fact, he had expressed an interest in spending more time on his philanthropy starting several years earlier."
Then Vanity Fair broke a bombshell report detailing the multi-billionaire's fondness for non-disclosure agreements.
Sources who worked at the company told the outlet they had to deal with "inappropriate workplace behavior, romantic relationships with subordinates" and other alleged toxic conditions. Insiders said employees kept quiet for years because they had signed strict NDAs but that many are now reportedly considering coming forward with their claims.
Reps for the Gates Foundation claimed they never received a harassment complaint against Bill, as his personal rep also shut down the NDA conversation.
"Microsoft, like all technology companies, regularly asks employees to sign employee agreements to protect its proprietary information," said the spokesperson. "It does not use non-disclosure agreements to prevent people from bringing to the company's attention concerns they have about how they've been treated at work."
While the divorce is still pending in Washington court, sources close to the situation are continuing to spill the family's secrets.
Insiders previously revealed that Melinda has been eager to end her marriage since 2019 after finding out her husband had not been honest about his friendship with the late convicted sex offender, Jeffrey Epstein.
Melinda reportedly met Epstein during a dinner at his infamous New York townhouse in 2013 and that he made her feel uncomfortable. Insiders said she subsequently asked Bill to cut off all ties with him.
Years later, however, it was revealed that Bill had a much closer friendship with Epstein than he had led his then-wife to believe. The two reportedly hung out together several times over the years.
While a rep for the billionaire admitted he had had meetings with the alleged sex predator, they maintained that Bill and Epstein were not friends.
"Multiple high-profile people suggested that Bill Gates meet with Epstein because he made claims of being able to bring billions of dollars into philanthropy based on his status as an agent and advisor to wealthy individuals with respect to their giving strategies," Bill's rep told us. "Given the prospect of helping catalyze significant increases in charitable giving, Gates met with Epstein and others multiple times to discuss philanthropy and the work of his foundation."
"Although Epstein pursued Gates aggressively, Gates had absolutely no business partnership or personal friendship with Epstein," they continued. "Gates never socialized with Epstein or attended parties with him. It's become clear that Epstein misrepresented the nature of his meetings with Gates while also working to insert himself behind-the-scenes without Gates's knowledge. Gates regrets ever meeting with Epstein and recognizes it was an error in judgement to do so."