Bill Gates reportedly lying low in luxury California resort with $250k joining fee ahead of divorce hearing

·3 min read
 (REUTERS)
(REUTERS)

Bill Gates has been riding out his high-profile divorce from Melinda Gates by hiding away in an ultra-exclusive golf club in California for the last few months, according to a new report.

The New York Post’s Page Six gossip column cited an anonymous source familiar with the situation that said the billionaire was keeping his head down at The Vintage Club, which advertises itself as "one of the United States' most prestigious and ultra-exclusive private country club communities." 

The 712-acre resort has reportedly been Mr Gates' home for the last three months, leading a source speaking with Page Six to conclude "Bill clearly saw this divorce coming for a long time."

The source said Mr Gates was at the club as recently as this week, when he was visiting along with his daughter, Jennifer Gates, and her fiance. 

Mr Gates – like other billionaires who frequent the club – owns a private home on the property, which reportedly cost $12.5m in 1990. 

The club costs $250,000 to join. Homes at the resort cost between $2.3m and $20m. The two 18-hole courses are situated around a massive 85,000-square-foot clubhouse, numerous restaurants, and a spa.

According to a report in The Wall Street Journal, Ms Gates has been considering the divorce for at least two years. She reportedly told the divorce attorneys that her 27 year marriage was "irretrievably broken." 

The resort is based in Palm Desert, California, which is also where Mr Gates signed his divorce papers. 

Ms Gates reportedly signed her petition for divorce in Bellevue, Washington, near the couple's $130m home. 

Watch: Bill Gates spends 'quality time' with elder daughter Jennifer amid divorce

It's not surprising that the billionaire founder of Microsoft wants to keep his head down and duck questions from the press; not only is he going through an extremely visible divorce, but it was recently uncovered that he had some familiarity with infamous child sex trafficker Jeffrey Epstein. 

According to a New York Times report, the men met several times beginning in 2011, which was three years after Epstein pleaded guilty to soliciting an underage girl in Florida. 

One of those meetings reportedly included Mr Gates flying on the "Lolita Express" – as Epstein's plane was known – between New Jersey and Palm Beach, Florida. 

Mr Gates has denied that he had any kind of relationship with Epstein beyond knowing who he was, and said he never attended any parties or was involved in any kind of questionable activity. 

“I met him. I didn’t have any business relationship or friendship with him,” Mr Gates told The Daily Beast in September 2019. “I didn’t go to New Mexico or Florida or Palm Beach or any of that. There were people around him who were saying, ‘Hey, if you want to raise money for global health and get more philanthropy, he knows a lot of rich people.’”

He said that every meeting he attended with Epstein was full of men. 

According to The New York Times, Epstein was trying to pitch Mr Gates on a new charitable fund.  

Ms Gates was apparently "furious" after meeting Epstein for the first time, according to one of her friends who spoke to The Daily Beast

The couple reportedly visited Epstein at his former home on New York's Upper East Side, where Ms Gates was left so disturbed by the meeting that she warned her husband not to have further interactions with the financier.

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