IBM Heir’s Adoption Annulled

Thomas J. Watson, 1917

Originally uploaded by Thomas Roche

Interesting article at CNN about IBM heir Olive Watson’s adoption of her female lover Patricia Spado in the state of Maine, where the pair shared a vacation home.

The adoption means that Spado’s claim to the fortune of Olive Watson’s father, Thomas Watson Jr., who died in 1993, and her grandfather, Thomas J. Watson, Sr. (pictured), IBM’s first president, who developed the company into a punch-card giant before his death in 1956.

Spado and Watson’s relationship ended after 14 years, a year after the adoption. After Thomas Watson Jr’s wife, also named Olive, died, Spado claimed she was a beneficiary to the fortune. The adoption was annulled by a Maine probate judge on a residency issue, since Watson and Spado weren’t actually Maine residents when the adoption took place; they lived in New York, a state whose law specifically forbids the adoption of a homosexual partner.

The case now goes to the Maine Supreme Court. Says CNN: “Gay rights activists say the case shows the lengths to which same-sex couples would go to ensure a partner’s financial security in the days before they were allowed to form civil unions or to marry.”

Image: Wikipedia.

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