From the harbor on St. Thomas, the boat skims eastward across the crystalline Caribbean, takes a turn and there it is: the palm-fringed paradise that was the private redoubt of Jeffrey Epstein.
An American flag on a towering pole flutters in the breeze. A blue-and-white building that resembles a temple sits atop one of the hills. The pool and cabanas are visible in the distance. There’s no traffic on the winding dirt roads, no people on the dock or the beach.
It’s quiet now on the island of Little St. James. Epstein dubbed it Little St. Jeff’s. Locals have other names for it: Pedophile Island and Orgy Island.
This is where Epstein – convicted of sex crimes a decade ago in Florida and now charged in New York with trafficking girls as young as 14 – repaired, his escape from the toil of cultivating the rich and powerful.
Over the years, the 66-year-old crossed paths with former and future presidents, as well as a Who’s Who of wealthy business figures and celebrities. On St. Thomas, he has been a subject of lurid speculation for as long as anyone can remember. Tourists still take boats out to get a glimpse of the island, where, according to a former employee, Epstein hosted young women who flew into St. Thomas with him and were ferried over in groups aboard a 38-foot vessel called the “Lady Ghislaine,” apparently named for his friend Ghislaine Maxwell.
The size and provenance of his wealth and the intricacies of his alleged sex trafficking operation are not the only mysteries surrounding Jeffrey Epstein. There are questions about why he did not have to register as a sex offender in New Mexico, where he owns a large ranch with a 26,700-square-foot mansion, and why prosecutors and police in New York — where his Manhattan townhouse is worth at least $100 million according to luxury real estate agent Dolly Lenz — but not judges appeared to treat him leniently.
And then there’s Epstein’s private island in the U.S. Virgin Islands. With Epstein in jail in New York, “it’s quiet now on the island of Little St. James,” Bloomberg Newsreports. “Epstein dubbed it Little St. Jeff’s. Locals have other names for it: Pedophile Island and Orgy Island.” On St. Thomas, where Epstein’s businesses are headquartered in an unmarked office in a nondescript strip mall, “he has been a subject of lurid speculation for as long as anyone can remember,” Bloomberg says. “Tourists still take boats out to get a glimpse of the island,” topped with a blue-and-white building that resembles a temple.
Long before Jeffrey Epstein pleaded guilty to prostitution charges in Florida more than a decade ago, his fellow Palm Beach resident and hedge-fund manager Douglas Kass was intrigued by the local gossip about his neighbor.
“I’m hearing about the parties, hearing about a guy who’s throwing money around,” says Kass, president of Seabreeze Partners Management. While stories about young girls swarming Epstein’s waterfront mansion and the sex parties he hosted for the rich and powerful were the talk of the town, Kass was more focused on how this obscure person, rumored to be managing billions of dollars, had become so wealthy without much of a track record.
Kass was well-connected on Wall Street, where he’d worked for decades, so he began to ask around. “I went to my institutional brokers, to their trading desks and asked if they ever traded with him. I did it a few times until the date when he was arrested,” he recalls. “Not one institutional trading desk, primary or secondary, had ever traded with Epstein’s firm.”
When a reporter came to interview Kass about Bernie Madoff shortly before that firm blew up in the biggest Ponzi scheme ever, Kass told her, “There’s another guy who reminds me of Madoff that no one trades with.” That man was Jeffrey Epstein.
“How did he get the money?” Kass kept asking.
For decades, Epstein has been credulously described as a big-time hedge-fund manager and a billionaire, even though there’s not a lot of evidence that he is either. There appears little chance the public is going to get definitive answers anytime soon. In a July 11 letter to the New York federal judge overseeing Epstein’s sex-trafficking case, Epstein’s attorney offered to provide “sealed disclosures” about Epstein’s finances to determine the size of the bond he would need to post to secure his release from jail pending trial. His brother, Mark, and a friend even offered to chip in if necessary.
Naturally, this air of mystery has especially piqued the interest of real-life, non-pretend hedge-funders. If this guy wasn’t playing their game — and they seem pretty sure he was not — what game was he playing? Intelligencer spoke to several prominent hedge-fund managers to get a read on what their practiced eyes are detecting in all the new information that is coming to light about Epstein in the wake of his indictment by federal prosecutors in New York. Most saw signs of something unsavory at the heart of his business model.
At least a dozen new victims have come forward to claim they were sexually abused by Jeffrey Epstein even as the multimillionaire money manager tries to convince a federal judge to allow him to await a sex trafficking trial from the comfort of the same $77 million Manhattan mansion where he’s accused of luring teenage girls into unwanted sex acts.
Following Epstein’s arrest Saturday in New Jersey, four women have reached out to New York lawyer David Boies, and at least 10 other women have approached other lawyers who have represented dozens of Epstein’s alleged victims in the past.