The Billionaire From Humble Beginnings
The latest question about Jeffrey Epstein: how did he amass $2 billion, if that number is even accurate? Not exactly to the manor born, he grew up in Coney Island, home of the Warriors. His father worked for the Department of Parks and Recreation.
He started out educating children, not molesting them. In an ironic twist, it was Donald Barr, father of current Attorney General William Barr, who hired Epstein as a math teacher at the tony, private Dalton School in New York shortly after Epstein dropped out of college at Cooper Union.
After two years of teaching, serendipity intervened in the person of Alan ‘Ace’ Greenberg, chairman of Bear Stearns. As Todd Neikirk at Hill Reporter notes, “[Greenberg’s] son attended the Dalton School. Greenberg hired Epstein as an options trader and the former teacher was able to amass a fortune.”
But that simple conclusion, that a job as an options trader, then hanging his own shingle in 1982 as an investment manager, would equate to $2 billion–the average estimate of his net worth from several sources–is fraught, even naive. His firm, J. Epstein & Co., later renamed Financial Trust Company and moved offshore for tax purposes, is mysterious to say the least. To qualify, clients must have $1 billion in investable assets, a lofty bar even for high finance. That Epstein became wealthy is not surprising, but to start with nothing, trade options for a few years, then head a boutique firm for 35 years? Judging by others with a similar career trajectory, one would expect a net worth in the range of seven to eight figures, not ten.
Further, no one on Wall Street has ever met any of Epstein’s employees. As veteran Epstein reporter Vicky Ward notes in The Daily Beast, “…he claimed he’d fueled a lifestyle of vast homes, a private jet, and endless travel by managing the money of billionaires and taking a commission, a story that no one I spoke to believed.”
Show Us The Money
For perspective, there are only a handful of billionaires in the world. The total number changes daily with the markets and is disputed over geopolitical lines, but the general consensus is that there are between 1,600 and 2,200 billionaires globally. There were only 95 of them in 1987, when Forbes started to track the statistic, and Epstein started to manage private money five years prior to that.
In short, such a high qualification gave Epstein the ability to deny his services to virtually everyone, which is convenient if his firm was merely a front.
As Tom Metcalf writes of Epstein, “For all his infamy, there are scant details of how he made his money…He ran a money management firm catering to the ultra-rich, primarily for Victoria’s Secret founder Les Wexner, but its assets were never made public and few on Wall Street have dealt with him…Today, so little is known about Epstein’s current business or clients that the only things that can be valued with any certainty are his properties.”
What we do know: his New York townhouse is valued at $77 million, and was previously owned by Wexner, who, like so many of Epstein’s friends, publicly cut ties with him in 2008 when he was convicted as a pedophile. His other holdings are extensive, as Metcalf writes, “He…has properties in New Mexico, Paris and the U.S. Virgin Islands, where he has a private island, and a Palm Beach estate with an assessed value of more than $12 million. He shuttles between them by private jet and has at least 15 cars, including seven Chevrolet Suburbans, according to federal authorities.”
A 2016 article from the New York Post pegs the value of some of the other properties: “$6.8 million mansion in Palm Beach, an $18 million property in New Mexico…a helicopter, a Gulfstream IV and a Boeing 727.” Chris Carrol uncovered documents that had the Little St. James Island on the market in 1999 for $12 million.
Without knowing the value of the Paris property, that comes to roughly $150 million in properties alone.
Blackmail For Personal Gain…Or An Intelligence Agency?
The idea that Epstein used video footage from orgies with children to blackmail his wealthy and powerful acquaintances is nothing new, it just got lost in the degenerate evidence that piled up after his 2006 arrest. From the New York Post:
“In a 2006 court filing, Palm Beach police noted that a search of Epstein’s home uncovered two hidden cameras. The Mirror reported that in 2015, a 6-year-old civil lawsuit filed by ‘Jane Doe No. 3,’ alleged that Epstein wired his mansion with hidden cameras, secretly recording orgies involving his prominent friends and underage girls. The ultimate purpose: blackmail, according to court papers.”
It isn’t difficult to imagine Epstein using video of a billionaire guest engaged in sex (or worse) with a minor to extort vast sums, or simply to get them to hand over property. Indeed, as Metcalf writes of the E. 71st St. mansion Epstein acquired from his chief investment client, Victoria’s Secret owner Les Wexner, “There are no New York property records documenting a transfer until 2011, when the company that Wexner used to purchase the townhouse transferred it to Epstein’s Virgin Islands-based Maple Inc. for $0. Epstein signed for both sides of the transaction.”
In a ZeroHedge article today, this idea is reinforced by a stunning statement from Alex Acosta, who during the 2008 prosecution of Epstein was U.S. Attorney for Southern Florida. “I was told Epstein ‘belonged to intelligence’ and to leave it alone,” Acosta said. As the author notes, if this is the case, we’re in for one hell of a reveal:
“Many people had assumed Epstein was untouchable merely because he had so much dirt on so many powerful people, but it increasingly looks far bigger than that. It appears he may have been untouchable because he was systematically collecting this information on behalf of an intelligence agency. If so, we need to find out precisely who he was working for. This should be the number one story in the country right now. Blackmail at this level is a genuine national security issue.”
A Portrait In The Rubble
In summary, the explosion of news around Epstein hasn’t settled, but as the smoke clears, a picture of the disgraced man has begun to emerge. He appears to be an intelligence agent, who has blackmailed famous and wealthy people. It appears that his stunningly lenient sentencing in 2008 is a result of his spy status, and/or dirt he had on Bill Clinton, whose wife was still the Democratic frontrunner in the presidential race at the time of Epstein’s sentencing. It appears that his investment company is a sham.
Stunning as it seems to say, the real story about Epstein may not be his craven pedophilia, but how he used proof of underage sex acts as a lever to influence global affairs. Much more to come on Epstein. Next, CD Media will delve into Epstein’s fixer Ghislaine Maxwell, and what’s on Little St. James Island.