May 19, 2022

Bill Gates Goes on a Yearly  Vacation with Ann Winblad; Feds Seek to Forfeit Statue from Kim Kardashian; IRS to Issue Tax Refunds on Unemployment Benefits; Mayor Lightfoot Goal for July 4th; Market Days Festival Returning to Chicago

Bill Gates Goes on a Yearly Beach Vacation with Ex, Ann Winblad

Since the announcement of Bill and Melinda Gates’ divorce after 27 years of marriage, many speculation surfaces are being considered as the reason for the separation. One particularly curious detail about the tech billionaire’s union gained interest today after a 1997 Time profile resurfaced. Discussed with depth was his relationship with longtime ex-girlfriend Ann Winblad. It included the extent to which they maintained a close relationship after his marriage to Melinda. 

The exes, Gates and Winblad, went on to spend a long weekend on the beach together once every year, even after he married Melinda in 1994. It appears to have been an agreed-upon arrangement with Melinda, per the article written by Walter Isaacson.

“Another of Gates’ vacation companions is Ann Winblad, the software entrepreneur and venture capitalist he dated during the 1980s. They met in 1984 at a Ben Rosen-Esther Dyson computer conference. They started going on ‘virtual dates’ by driving to the same movie simultaneously in different cities and discussing it on their cell phones. For a few years, she even persuaded him to stop eating meat, an experiment he has since resolutely abandoned.” Isaacson wrote.

“They broke up in 1987, partly because Winblad, five years older, was more ready for marriage. But they remain close friends. ‘When I was off on my own thinking about marrying Melinda, I called Ann and asked for her approval. I said she’d be a good match for him because she had intellectual stamina.’ said Gates. She gave it. Even now, Gates has an arrangement with his wife that he and Winblad can keep one vacation tradition alive. Every spring, as they have for more than a decade, Gates spends a long weekend with Winblad at her beach cottage on the Outer Banks of North Carolina, where they ride dune buggies, hang-glide and walk on the beach.” Said the article.

This 1997 Time profile of Bill Gates is gathering a lot of interest as the high-profile divorce of one of the world’s power couples became public. No details were released on the separation agreement, but it was reported that there was no prenuptial agreement, and they will divide the assets based on the separation agreement.

Feds Seek to Forfeit Ancient Roman Statue from Kim Kardashian

The U.S. government asks Kim Kardashian to forfeit an ancient Roman sculpture that was illegally smuggled out of Italy. The ancient Roman sculpture was headed to Kim Kardashian when seized at Los Angeles’ port five years ago, according to the records.

The antique artwork, which claimed to be from the 1st or 2nd century, was stopped when it arrived in Los Angeles in May 2016. The sculpture caught the attention of the U.S. Customs and Border Protection officials after an alert that it might be protected cultural property.

In a civil forfeiture complaint filed on Friday in California against Kardashian, the Government orders Kardashian to relinquish the work. However, it was not apparent if she was aware of the origins of the statue.

According to a representative for Kardashian, “Kim never purchased this piece, and this is the first that she has learned of its existence. We believe it may have been purchased using her name without authorization, and because it was never received, she was unaware of the transaction. We encourage an investigation and hope that it gets returned to the rightful owners.”

Kardashian reportedly bought the limestone statue from Axel Vervoordt Gallery in Belgium in 2016. The sculpture is known as “Fragment of Myron’s Samian Athena.”

The artwork was part of a 5.5-ton shipment valued at $ 745,882 and contained 40 antiques and modern furniture, and decorative objects. Further examination of the statute’s paperwork had some discrepancies, leading officials to become suspicious about where it had originated.

In 2018, the Ministry of Cultural Heritage of Italy then sent an archaeologist to examine the work, and they concluded that it had been “looted, smuggled, and illegally exported from Italy. The sculpture, described as “Fragment of Myron’s Samian Athena, Limestone, Roman, 1st – 2nd century A.D.,” was originally looted from Italy, and the Italian Government wants it back, according to a civil complaint filed in federal court for the forfeiture of the stolen property.

IRS to Issue Tax Refunds on Unemployment Benefits Starting May

President Joe Biden signed in mid-March the American Rescue Plan, which waived federal tax on up to $10,200 of unemployment benefits received per person. The IRS has announced that they will start issuing refunds to eligible taxpayers in May. The refunds will be received by workers who had filed their tax returns before the COVID-19 relief bill amounting to $1.9 trillion was passed into law.

The agency will send the refunds in two phases, and the payments will continue into the summer. However, some taxpayers, particularly the single filers, will receive the refund sooner than others. According to the IRS, it may be around summertime before married couples, and those with complex tax returns will receive their refunds.

The American Rescue Plan effectively waived federal tax on up to $10,200 of unemployment benefits per person last year. The unemployment benefit is typically treated as taxable income. According to The Century Foundation, 40 million Americans received unemployment benefits in 2020. The average person received $14,000. Since the Great Depression, the COVID-19 pandemic created the worst unemployment crisis.

Many workers eligible for the tax waiver had already filed their tax returns by the time President Joe Biden signed the relief bill in mid-March. As a result, they may have overpaid their taxes. The IRS will automatically recalculate tax liabilities for those workers and will send out the refunds starting May.

“Any resulting overpayment of tax will be either refunded or applied to other outstanding taxes owed,” according to an announcement made by the IRS. The refunds will be issued via direct deposit to taxpayers who selected that method when filing their tax returns. Others will receive their check through traditional mail.

The IRS will issue the refunds in two phases. First, to taxpayers eligible to exclude up to $10,200 of unemployment benefits from their taxable income. The second phase covers married couples who file a joint tax return, according to the IRS. Couples can waive tax on up to $20,400 of benefits (since each spouse can exclude up to $10,200 from their taxable income).

Chicago Mayor Lightfoot Announces Goal for July 4 Full Reopening

On Tuesday, Chicago Mayor Lori Lightfoot announces her goal is to reopen the city by July 4 fully. Along with the Mayor, Gov. JB Pritzker said the state is ready to enter a bridge phase in the coming weeks if metrics continue their downward trend. 

The city most recently announced changes to its reopening plan last week, expanding capacity at several businesses and allowing for the return of fans in the stands at the United Center.

These are the reopening changes that took effect on Thursday:

Restaurants and bars: Indoor capacity increased to less than 50% or 100 people.

Spectator events, theater, and performing arts: Large indoor venues are now allowed to operate at 25% capacity, including the United Center.

Meetings, conferences, and conventions: Large indoor venues can now operate at less than 25% or a maximum of 250 people.

Places of worship: Indoor venues can now operate at 25% capacity. 

Festivals and general admission outdoor spectator events: Allowed to have 15 people per 1,000 sq. ft capacity.

Flea and farmers markets: Increased capacity to 25% or 15 people per 1,000 sq. ft.

The Phase 5 plan includes the expansion of capacity to 60% for theaters, gyms, spectator events, offices, retail, zoos, museums, and amusement parks.

Gov. Pritzker said that the decline in COVID-19 infections and hospitalization and seniors surpassing the goal of 70 percent being vaccinated is qualifying the state to potentially move to the next phase. This Saturday, 44,600 people were vaccinated, and 16,900 got their shot on Sunday.

According to state health officials, “Chicago has made significant progress in reversing the rise in COVID-19 metrics that started in March and caused the city to pause the reopening plan.”

“We have seen steady progress in recent weeks with a downward trend in our leading COVID metrics and more and more people stepping up to get vaccinated, which is so important in getting us out of this pandemic. That has made this exciting day possible.” Chicago Department of Public Health Commissioner Dr. Allison Arwady said in a statement.

Market Days Festival is Returning to Chicago

On Tuesday, the organizers announced that Market Days, Northalsted’s iconic live music festival, is returning to Chicago this summer after being canceled last year due to the COVID-19 pandemic. The news came after the city has been slowly easing into a relaxed restriction with the opening of indoor dining and encouraging the people to enjoy the outdoors and the pleasantly warm weather.

With Market Days anticipated to happen from Aug. 6 to 8 for the first time in its 38 year history, the Northalsted Business Alliance will add a day to the street festival. According to a release, the weekend-long event is expected to run half a mile on five stages, and over 250 vendors will be participating. They will feature a wide range of products, including folk and contemporary artworks, local crafts, food and drinks, and a lot more.

As of Tuesday, all dates set for the festival are tentative as the city has not yet officially approved any permits. According to a festival spokesperson, the Department of Cultural Affairs and Special Events is still working on the plans with event producers to ensure COVID-19 protocols are met.

“We look forward to the possibility of welcoming neighbors and visitors alike to this iconic event. While planning is underway, we will remain in continual contact with the City of Chicago, the State of Illinois, and monitor the CDC guidelines to be flexible in our approach to meet all necessary requirements to produce a safe event,” Northalsted Business Alliance President Ramesh Ariyanayakam said.

The festival will be asking for a $15 recommended donation entry fee, which will support the festival entertainment cost, local charities, programming, and maintenance in the community, organizers said.

The Market Days venue can be accessed from the following CTA lines:
Red Line Addison station
Red/Brown/Purple Lines at Belmont
Most CTA bus line ends along Belmont and Addison in Chicago’s Northalsted and Lake View neighborhoods.