He was ‘Doctor of the Year’ for helping thousands of women get pregnant. But DNA tests unraveled a dark secret.

After a nearly 13-year career as a detective with the Clackamas County, Ore., Sheriff’s Office, Wendi Babst thought a genealogy kit was the perfect Black Friday gift for herself following her retirement. As she scrolled through her results in March 2018, she discovered she had matched with a large group of first cousins.



a close up of a man wearing glasses and looking at the camera: A file photo of Dr. Quincy Fortier from the HBO documentary “Baby God.”


A file photo of Dr. Quincy Fortier from the HBO documentary “Baby God.”

There was just one problem: Babst didn’t have any cousins, aunts or uncles. Her suspicions grew deeper when she also found matches for numerous half-siblings. Babst had been conceived after her mother, Cathy Holm, was artificially inseminated at a Las Vegas fertility clinic — supposedly with her husband’s sperm.

“I knew something was up,” Babst, 54, said in an interview with The Washington Post. “That was really hard for me.”

One name kept popping up from her mother’s past: Quincy Fortier, the widely respected obstetrician who had helped her mother become pregnant.

In fact, without Holm’s knowledge or consent, Fortier allegedly used his own sperm to conceive Babst, according to a new documentary premiering this week. And there were dozens of others just like her.

Babst is one of at least 26 people who have accused Fortier of being their biological father, many with mothers who say the fertility doctor secretly inseminated them with his sperm while being treated at a women’s hospital in Las Vegas. The story of the once-acclaimed fertility doctor and his newly discovered offspring is retold in “Baby God,” premiering Wednesday night on HBO.

It’s a tale that rocked Sin City and raised serious questions surrounding the ethics of artificial insemination. Fortier, who died in 2006 at 94, was never charged with any crimes, did not admit to any wrongdoing and never lost his license while delivering thousands of babies. Named as the Doctor of the Year by the state medical association, the Las Vegas Review-Journal reported, Fortier was later sued by at least two patients for fraudulently using his own sperm to artificially inseminate them. Both cases were settled out of court and those accusers have reportedly been prohibited from speaking about their cases after signing confidential agreements.

It was only after his death that the doctor acknowledged in his will that he was the biological father to the four children of the two patients who had sued him, according to the Las Vegas Review-Journal. And in court documents filed in 2007 in connection to his estate, the newspaper reported, Fortier added a footnote that suggested more biological children could come forward.



a person standing on a snow covered forest: Wendi Babst in “Baby God.”


Wendi Babst in “Baby God.”

The film about his case came about thanks to Hannah Olson, who saw firsthand how commercial DNA tests had unraveled the world of genealogy while working as a producer on “Finding Your Roots With Henry Louis Gates Jr.,” a show that had celebrities discovering surprises in their ancestral histories.

“It was this phenomena,” said Olson, the film’s director. “I wanted to show how unfinished this act could be and how it

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The Best-Kept Fashion Secret of ‘The Crown’

Ever since “The Crown,” Season 4, bowed on Netflix, the stylesphere has been filled with strange declarations of desire for the pie-crust collars, novelty sweaters, puffed-sleeve floral frocks and 1980s power jackets immortalized by Princess Diana as she ascended to stardom and Princess Anne as she issued caustic asides. Followed pretty much immediately by queries on how to “get the look.”

Such fantasies are rarely easy to fulfill, involving, as they would, time travel — or at least fruitless searching through the pages of Vogues British or American and the social media posts of influencers. But this time around there is actually an answer.

It lies in a house in Fitzroy Square in Central London, where Chiara Menage, an elegant 54-year-old former film producer, runs an online vintage clothing store from her kitchen table: Menage Modern Vintage. She is the only employee, and until Amy Roberts, the costume designer for “The Crown,” discovered her trove of 1970s, ’80s and ’90s garments, she was pretty much an undiscovered treasure. (She still has only 807 followers on Instagram.)

But the Peter Pan-collared floral Liberty print dress Diana wears when Prince Charles issues his ill-fated marriage proposal? Menage Modern Vintage. The pale yellow puff-sleeve midi-skirt suit Diana wears for her lunch meeting with Camilla? Hardy Amies from Menage Modern Vintage. The red power suit Diana wears on the way to the Christmas finale? Valentino, Menage Modern Vintage.

All of which means the shop and its founder are about to get thrust into the royal spotlight. In the meantime, Ms. Menage agreed to tiptoe out of the shadows to reveal some of her secrets over Zoom.

How did you become the ultimate royal fashion resource?

I spent 20 years working in independent movies and then had three boys, took some time and wanted a change. I’d always loved clothes, but I haven’t bought anything new since about 2000. I live near Marylebone, which is a quite rich area, and I started shopping in charity shops and discovered people were throwing away beautiful Givenchy outfits that I’d never be able to afford to buy new.

I think it’s much easier to find a piece you love by accident than to go into a shop like Selfridges with a list. If you go into a charity shop, something just jumps out at you and insists you have it. Later I got much more interested in the sustainability side of things. I just don’t understand why you would ever buy anything new. Underwear aside.

So I had accumulated a lot. Then about two years ago a friend’s daughter said, “Why not set up a website?” My friends also said they had loads of clothes they didn’t know what to do with, and I thought, “Why not?” I just blithely set it up. I had no idea what I was doing.

What is “modern vintage”?

Vintage is officially anything over 20 years old. The millennium is a useful benchmark. Now a lot of people try to cash in

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$15K fine for NYC synagogue with 7,000 person capacity after massive secret wedding

A Brooklyn synagogue was fined $15,000 for violating coronavirus restrictions after a video surfaced showing people standing shoulder-to-shoulder and apparently without masks at a massive, secret Hasidic wedding.

New York City Mayor Bill de Blasio announced the fine at a news conference on Tuesday and condemned the large event as “unacceptable.”

The wedding was held on Nov. 8 at Yetev Lev D’Satmar synagogue in the Williamsburg neighborhood, according to the New York Post, which published a video that showed the crowd jumping, dancing and singing during the event. The video does not show people wearing masks.

Calls to the synagogue on Wednesday were not immediately returned.

Worshipers gather outside Yetev Lev D’Satmar synagogue in Brooklyn, N.Y. , on Oct. 19, 2020.John Lamparski / NurPhoto via Getty Images file

The synagogue holds up a maximum capacity of 7,000 people, although it’s unclear exactly how many were at the wedding.

The mayor said Tuesday that they are still trying to determine the final number of attendees.

“What we do know is unquestionably it was too many people,” he said. “Whatever that number — whether it was hundreds, thousands — it was too many people. And it appears that there was a very conscious effort to conceal what was going on. And that’s what makes it even more unacceptable.”

Organizers kept details of the wedding planning a secret as to not draw attention, according to The New York Times, citing the weekly Yiddish newspaper Der Blatt. Guests were told about the upcoming nuptials through word of mouth and no posters or notices about the wedding were left on the synagogue walls, the Times reported.

Gov. Andrew Cuomo said Sunday that a wedding was stopped at the synagogue before and if they kept this one a secret to avoid that happening again “that would be really shocking.”

“It’s illegal. It was also disrespectful to the people of New York,” Cuomo said.

De Blasio said that in addition to the fine a cease and desist letter was placed on the building, and if they are found to be in violation of restrictions again, the synagogue would be shut down permanently.

“We don’t want to see that happen to anyone, but we need to be very, very clear that if folks are doing something dangerous we can’t allow it to happen,” the mayor said.

The wedding was held as New York, and every other state across the country, grapples with a rise Covid-19 cases. In an update Cuomo posted on Wednesday, New York reported 6,265 positive cases and 41 deaths.

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Secret Hasidic wedding with hundreds of attendees fined $15,000 for breaking coronavirus rules

Now, city leaders say they’re taking action. New York Mayor Bill de Blasio (D) said the event’s organizers will be fined $15,000 for violating pandemic restrictions, adding that more penalties could come.

“What we do know is unquestionably it was too many people,” De Blasio told reporters on Tuesday. “It appears that there was a very conscious effort to conceal what was going on. And that’s what makes it even more unacceptable.”

The wedding, organized by leaders of the Satmar sect, was the latest act of defiance against pandemic rules in Brooklyn’s Hasidic community, which health officials have cited for ignoring mask regulations and driving local spikes in the virus. Tensions boiled over in October, when hundreds of Orthodox Jews took to the streets to protest new restrictions on religious gatherings, clashing with the police and burning masks.

The conflicts come as coronavirus cases are on the rise in New York. The state reported 4,881 new cases and 45 new deaths on Tuesday, according to The Washington Post’s coronavirus tracker. In the past week, the percentage of new daily reported cases and deaths, as well as the percentage of covid-related hospitalizations have all risen in the state.

This was not the first time the Yetev Lev D’Satmar synagogue has come into conflict with officials over a wedding. In October, the state health commissioner personally intervened to shut down a planned wedding for the grandson of Zalman Leib Teitelbaum, the synagogue’s rabbi, that could have drawn 10,000 guests, the New York Times reported.

This month, for the wedding of the grandson of another rabbi, the sect’s leaders worked to keep the celebration a secret, according to Der Blatt, a Yiddish-language paper. The newspaper said it was aware of the wedding plans but remained quiet “so as not to attract an evil eye from the ravenous press and government officials,” reported the Times, which obtained a translated copy of the article.

But how did hundreds of attendees keep the secret?

“All notices about upcoming celebrations,” Der Blatt wrote, per the Times translation, “were passed along through word of mouth, with no notices in writing, no posters on the synagogue walls, no invitations sent through the mail, nor even a report in any publication, including this very newspaper.”

The wedding lasted more than four hours, the Times reported. Representatives of the Yetev Lev D’Satmar congregation did not respond to The Washington Post’s request for comment as of early Wednesday morning.

On Sunday, New York Gov. Andrew M. Cuomo (D) blasted the synagogue over the event, calling it a “blatant disregard of the law” that was “disrespectful to the people of New York.”

If the event’s organizers kept it “secret” due to the state health commissioner’s move to block October’s wedding at the synagogue, he said, that act of defiance would be “shocking.” The governor was also skeptical that local officials wouldn’t have been alerted to such a large gathering.

“If 7,000 people went to a wedding, you can figure that out right?” Cuomo

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Is Secret Sister on Facebook a scam? BBB says yes

The Better Business Bureau and other experts say gift exchanges like these are scams and considered illegal pyramid schemes.

Are “Secret Sister” gift exchanges legitimate? 

No. Authorities say gift exchanges like these are not legit and are considered illegal pyramid schemes.

United States Postal Inspection Service

U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission

PROCESS:
“Secret Sister” holiday gift exchange posts are once again circulating online. The post typically says, “I’m looking for 6 or more ladies interested in a holiday gift exchange. You have to buy one gift and you get 6-36 gifts in return.”

Kelsey Coleman, the Director of Communications for the Better Business Bureau in D.C., said the BBB is warning people that these types of gift exchanges are typically scams, and can turn dangerous. 

“When you share your personal information with who you think is just your friend, she may be sharing it with a much larger network of people that you don’t know,” Coleman said. “And you may never get a gift in return. Keep in mind that these kinds of gift exchanges are classified as pyramid schemes, and they’re illegal.”

“Secret Sister” gift exchanges have been on the U.S. Postal Inspection Service (USPIS) and the Federal Trade Commission’s (FTC) radar since at least 2015.

“These posts are just like any other chain letter that asks for money or items of value,” The FTC said. “They’re against the law.”

The consumer protection agency added that people should not send money or gifts to strangers, and should avoid reposting chain letters. 

When Verify researchers checked the Postal Inspection Service’s Facebook page and website, they say this type of deal is “a form of pyramid scheme.” 

USPIS said they typically violate the “Lottery Statute” of U.S. code laws because they contain all three elements of a lottery:

  1. Prize – or in this case a gift
  2. Chance – you’re relying on others to participate
  3. Consideration – the price to join in

The agency said while some at the top may get gifts, it’s “mathematically impossible to sustain.”

On its webpage, the U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC) explains in an infographic why “all pyramid schemes are destined to collapse.” 

RELATED: Verify: No, there isn’t an official Office of the President-Elect, but even President Trump used the title

According to the SEC, here’s how a typical pyramid scheme works: 

One person recruits six people. Each of those six participants must recruit six new people in order for everyone to get what was promised.

In this example, that would mean gifts.

At level six, the SEC says you’d need more than 46,000 participants for everyone to get six gifts.

RELATED: VERIFY: Is Ticketmaster going to require vaccines?

At the ninth level, you’d need more than 10 million participants. And at the eleventh level, the SEC says everyone in the United States would have to be participating in order for everyone to get what was promised, which is six gifts.

So, we can Verify that experts and authorities say gift exchanges like these are

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New York authorities issue $15,000 fine over secret ultra-Orthodox Jewish wedding

New York City officials on Monday announced that they would fine the organizers of a Hasidic Jewish wedding that was attended by thousands of people earlier this month, calling it reckless and accusing organizers of concealing it from authorities.



a person talking on a cell phone: New York authorities issue $15,000 fine over secret ultra-Orthodox Jewish wedding


© Getty Images
New York authorities issue $15,000 fine over secret ultra-Orthodox Jewish wedding

The New York Times reported that New York City Mayor Bill de Blasio (D) said that those who planned the wedding took active steps to ensure that the thousands of participants would not reveal news of the wedding to city authorities.

“We know there was a wedding,” the mayor said on local news station NY1, according to the newspaper “We know it was too big. I don’t have an exact figure, but whatever it was, it was too big. There appeared to be a real effort to conceal it. Which is absolutely unacceptable.”

Video of the wedding that first appeared online and was obtained by the Times shows thousands of men packed closely together in a hall for the wedding, and a report of the cover-up efforts reportedly appeared in a local Hasidic newspaper.

“We’ve been through so much,” de Blasio continued during the NY1 interview, according to the Times. “And in fact, the Williamsburg community in recent weeks responded very positively, did a lot more testing and was being very responsible. This was amazingly irresponsible, just unacceptable. So there’s going to be consequences right away for the people who let that happen.”

City officials have battled with members of the Hasidic ultra-Orthodox Jewish community in parts of New York for months over COVID-19 restrictions, which have banned the large public gatherings that often take place in closely-knit majority-Hasidic neighborhoods.

In October, the NYPD arrested organizers of a Hasidic Jewish protest against the city’s COVID-19 restrictions after fires were set and a journalist was brutally assaulted on the street.

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$15,000 Fine After Secret Hasidic Wedding Draws Thousands of Guests

Thousands of ultra-Orthodox Jews gathered to celebrate a wedding inside a cavernous hall in Brooklyn’s Williamsburg neighborhood earlier this month, dancing and singing with hardly a mask in sight. The wedding was meticulously planned, and so were efforts to conceal it from the authorities, who said that the organizers would be fined $15,000 for violating public health restrictions.

The wedding, organized on Nov. 8 by the leaders of the Satmar sect of Hasidic Judaism, is the latest incident in a long battle between city and state officials and members of the ultra-Orthodox community, who prize autonomy, chafe at government restrictions and have frequently flouted guidelines like mask-wearing and social distancing.

In October, state officials announced a series of restrictions in several neighborhoods in Brooklyn and Queens with large Orthodox Jewish populations after the positive test rate in those areas rose above 4 percent. Many residents protested the restrictions, which included the closing of nonessential businesses and limiting capacity at houses of worship.

While the rates in several of these areas have decreased since the implementation of the restrictions, tensions between city officials and area leaders have continued.

Mayor Bill de Blasio announced the fine on Monday night after video of the wedding — and a florid account of the event and the extensive efforts to conceal it appeared in a Hasidic newspaper — drew backlash online. He said additional penalties could be imposed on the organizers.

“We know there was a wedding,” the mayor told the local news network NY1. “We know it was too big. I don’t have an exact figure, but whatever it was, it was too big. There appeared to be a real effort to conceal it. Which is absolutely unacceptable.”

Representatives for the Satmar community did not respond to a request for comment on Tuesday.

“We’ve been through so much,” the mayor added. “And in fact, the Williamsburg community in recent weeks responded very positively, did a lot more testing and was being very responsible. This was amazingly irresponsible, just unacceptable. So there’s going to be consequences right away for the people who let that happen.”

On Sunday, Gov. Andrew M. Cuomo called the event “a blatant disregard of the law” and “disrespectful to the people of New York.”

State officials ordered the Satmar community in Orange County to cancel a series of weddings planned for Monday night, but it was unclear if the group complied with that order.

The wedding in Brooklyn, which lasted for more than four hours, was held at the Yetev Lev D’Satmar synagogue in Williamsburg and celebrated the marriage of Rabbi Joel Teitelbaum, the grandson of Satmar Grand Rabbi Aaron Teitelbaum.

Last month, Satmar leaders canceled another wedding in Williamsburg, which they said expected 10,000 guests, that was to be held for the grandson of Rabbi Teitelbaum’s brother and longtime rival, Grand Rabbi Zalman Teitelbaum.

An account of the wedding was published on Nov. 11 by Der Blatt, a Yiddish-language newspaper closely aligned with the Satmar leadership in Williamsburg.

It described

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Brooklyn synagogue that held crowded, secret wedding to be fined $15,000: Mayor de Blasio

As coronavirus cases continue to surge across New York City, a Brooklyn synagogue will be slapped with a $15,000 fine for hosting a huge wedding in violation of restrictions aimed at reducing the COVID infection rate, Mayor de Blasio said Monday.

“We know there was a wedding. We know it was too big. We don’t have an exact figure, but whatever it was, it was too big,” Hizzoner said on NY1. “There appeared to be a real effort to conceal it, which is absolutely unacceptable.”



a group of people standing on a sidewalk: NYPD officers speak with community members briefly outside a synagogue in the Brooklyn borough of New York.


© John Minchillo
NYPD officers speak with community members briefly outside a synagogue in the Brooklyn borough of New York.

NYPD officers speak with community members briefly outside a synagogue in the Brooklyn borough of New York. (John Minchillo/)

Video: Mayor De Blasio Speaks At Brooklyn Church (CBS New York)

Mayor De Blasio Speaks At Brooklyn Church

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He’d been asked about a published report describing thousands of attendees at the Nov. 8 wedding of a top rabbi’s grandson in the Yetev Lev temple in Williamsburg.

“There is going to be a summons for $15,000 immediately for that site,” de Blasio said. “And there could be additional consequences quite soon, as well. That’s just not acceptable.”

The wedding came after the state imposed a 10-person limit on private gatherings and as the city is grappling with an alarming surge in COVID cases.



a close up of a man wearing a suit and tie: New York City Mayor Bill de Blasio


© Bryan Thomas
New York City Mayor Bill de Blasio

Earlier Monday, de Blasio said the entire city could be declared an “orange zone” as soon as next week, shutting down non-essential businesses and putting an end to indoor dining.

“We’ve got to fight back the second wave. We still can. We get through these holidays, we have a chance to really turn the corner, but it’s up to every one of us,” he said at a press conference.

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Gov. Cuomo furious at ‘secret’ NY wedding with thousands of unmasked guests

NEW YORK (AP) — A Brooklyn synagogue should be investigated over reports that it hosted a secret wedding with thousands of unmasked guests earlier this month, New York Gov. Andrew Cuomo said Sunday.

“If that happened, it was a blatant disregard of the law,” Cuomo said during a briefing in New York City. “It’s illegal. It was also disrespectful to the people of New York.”

The New York Post reported that guests, mostly unmasked, crammed inside the Yetev Lev temple in Williamsburg for the Nov. 8 wedding of Yoel Teitelbaum, a grandson of Satmar Grand Rabbi Aaron Teitelman, in blatant violation of coronavirus restrictions that ban large indoor gatherings. The synagogue has a capacity of 7,000 people.

Organizers kept the wedding secret after state officials canceled an earlier Satmar wedding, the Post reported, citing a Yiddish newspaper, Der Blatt. The Post reported all notices were passed along through word of mouth, with no mail invitations or written announcements.

“If it turns out that because we stopped that wedding the reaction was, ‘Well we’ll have a secret wedding,’ that would be really shocking and totally deceitful,” Cuomo said. “It’s illegal and the city should do a robust investigation,” he added.

A spokesperson for New York City Mayor Bill de Blasio said the city is investigating.

“The city is conducting an investigation into the incident and will hold those accountable to the fullest extent of the law,” spokesperson Avery Cohen said.

Businesses and houses of worship that flout bans on large gatherings risk fines of $15,000.

A man who answered the phone at the Yetev Lev synagogue on Sunday said officials there had no comment.

Compliance with coronavirus restrictions in some of New York’s Orthodox Jewish communities has been an issue since the pandemic started last spring.

Protests erupted in the Borough Park section of Brooklyn last month after Cuomo announced a crackdown in several Orthodox neighborhoods as virus cases increased. Many members of Orthodox communities complained that they were being singled out.

Cuomo and de Blasio have warned all New Yorkers that even small gatherings during the holidays could fuel a spike in coronavirus infections.

“The problem is that this is a dangerous period because you have increased social activity by definition,” Cuomo said.

Virus rates will likely rise between now and New Year’s Day, Cuomo said.

Cuomo said there were 2,562 people hospitalized with COVID-19 across the state on Saturday, 119 more than the previous day. There were 30 deaths, he said.

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What’s in Blackpink’s Almighty Secret Style Sauce?

Taylor Glasby fell into K-pop much like Alice climbed into the rabbit hole. Drowsy on the riverbank, the protagonist grew transfixed by a kind of extrasensory delight, and in spades. Glasby, meanwhile, came into the musical genre in the midst of an already-accomplished career in music journalism, when she found her standard beats just weren’t cutting it like they used to.

“I’d grown up loving pop music, especially performance-lead artists like Prince and Madonna, before shifting into a rock and indie space,” the London-based journalist says. “Around 2010, 2011, I’d burned out on covering those genres and was looking for something to get me excited about music again.”

Enter K-pop, the rabbit hole in which the world seemed to shine a little bit brighter. She was hooked instantly.

“It was everything I’d loved about U.S. pop, but amplified — bigger colors, bigger videos, bigger groups and more intricate songs,” she remembers. “Over the past decade, K-pop has refined itself into a genius work of art, from the way groups visually embody their creative concepts to the immaculate choreography and song production. It’s impossible to get bored.”

“K-pop,” short for “Korean pop,” is a genre of popular music originating in South Korea, with rich, vivid origins that can be traced all the way back to the late 19th century. But K-pop didn’t begin taking form as the contemporary music force we know today until the 1990s — April 11, 1992, in fact, on which date a hip-hop group named Seo Taiji and Boys appeared on a televised South Korean talent show. Today, K-pop comes complete with fandoms so colossal, so engaged, they can take down an entire presidential campaign rally if they want to.

Jisoo, who serves as a Brand Ambassador for Dior, attends Burberry's Spring 2020 runway show at London Fashion Week. 

Jisoo, who serves as a Brand Ambassador for Dior, attends Burberry’s Spring 2020 runway show at London Fashion Week. 

K-pop doesn’t have stars — it has “idols,” who serve as a part of a K-pop group or perform as a solo act. A hyper-curated personal image is a crucial piece of the idol machine, but it’s not everything: There’s also often intensive training across dance, vocals and foreign language — all of which ladders up to a visual experience that’s an undeniably sparkly feast for the eyes. 

“K-pop is incredibly visual, and groups really are associated with particular styles and looks,” Glasby explains. In 2020, this extends to particular fashion brands by proxy. “It’s a misconception that idol groups are these uniform teams working like a hive mind,” Glasby adds. “Personalities are half the draw in K-pop, and dressing them to fit their personality while still blending as a group is a tricky but rewarding endeavor.”

Chart-topping girl group Blackpink is, perhaps, the best case study on how they’re able to utilize fashion to build up their profiles as an act while still furthering themselves as individuals. Each of its four members — best known by the mononyms Jisoo, Jennie, Rosé and Lisa — have inked blue-chip partnerships with four separate, visually disparate

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