…No one really seems to know him or his history completely or what his arsenal actually consists of. He has carefully engineered [it that way.] People know snippets, but few know the whole.
“…He’s a classic iceberg. What you see is not what you get.”
…Under the mentorship of both Greenberg and current Bear Stearns C.E.O. James Cayne, he did well enough to become a limited partner—a rung beneath full partner. He abruptly departed in 1981 because, he has said, he wanted to run his own business.
…Several of Epstein’s Bear Stearns contemporaries recall that Epstein left the company very suddenly. Within the company there were rumors also that he was involved in a technical infringement, and it was thought that the executive committee asked that he resign.
…”Jeffrey said specifically, ‘I don’t want to work for anybody else. I want to work for myself.’” Yet, this is not the story that Epstein told to the S.E.C. in 1981 and to lawyers in a 1989 deposition involving a civil business case in Philadelphia.
In 1981 the S.E.C. ..took Epstein’s testimony …in part of what became a protracted case about insider trading.
…An investment from Stroll of $450,000, which Epstein put into oil. In 1984 Stroll asked for his money back; four years later he had received only $10,000. Stroll lost the suit, after Epstein claimed in court, among other things, that the check for $10,000 was for a horse he’d bought from Stroll.
Though he has claimed that he managed money for billionaires only, in a 1989 deposition he testified that he spent 80 percent of his time assisting people recover stolen money from fraudulent brokers and lawyers.
One friend recalls that when he took Canadian heiress Wendy Belzberg on a date he hired a Rolls-Royce especially for the occasion. (Epstein has claimed he owned it.)
Some friends remember that in the late 80s Epstein would offer to upgrade the airline tickets of good friends by affixing first-class stickers; the only problem was that the stickers turned out to be unofficial. Sometimes the technique worked, but other times it didn’t, and the unwitting recipients found themselves exiled to coach. (Epstein has claimed that he paid for the upgrades, and had no knowledge of the stickers.)
[Snicker… Oh, come on!]
…According to him, the flat fees he receives from his clients, combined with his skill at playing the currency markets “with very large sums of money,” have afforded him the lifestyle he enjoys today.
…Some of the businessmen who dine with him at his home …seem not all that clear as to what he actually does to earn his millions. …“The trading desks don’t seem to know him. It’s unusual for animals that big not to leave any footprints in the snow,” says a high-level investment manager.
…Since Leslie Wexner appeared in his life—Epstein has said this was in 1986; others say it was in 1989, at the earliest
[This story has a lot of holes and squishy spots, and Wexner’s a big one.]
Wexner, through a trust, bought the town house in which Epstein now lives for a reported $13.2 million in 1989. …Public documents suggest that the house is still owned by the trust that bought it, but Epstein has said that he now owns the house.
…The entrance hall is decorated not with paintings but with row upon row of individually framed eyeballs; these, the owner tells people with relish,
[and nothing to back it up but his say-so]
…were imported from England, where they were made for injured soldiers. Next comes a marble foyer, which does have a painting, in the manner of Jean Dubuffet … but the host coyly refuses to tell visitors who painted it.
[It strikes the peanut gallery that if a conman was going to pass off a knock-off, being coy would be a good way to do it.]
…the house is curiously impersonal, the statement of someone who wants to be known for the scale of his possessions.
… On the desk, a paperback copy of the Marquis de Sade’s The Misfortunes of Virtue was recently spotted.
…stuffed black poodle, standing atop the grand piano. “No decorator would ever tell you to do that,” Epstein brags to visitors. “But I want people to think what it means to stuff a dog.”
[Seriously? Stuff a dog? Come on! …And no, it actually doesn’t sound like he’s referring to getting the last word at all.]
His real mentor, it might seem, was not Leslie Wexner but Steven Jude Hoffenberg, 57, who …is currently incarcerated in the Federal Medical Center in Devens, Massachusetts, serving a 20-year sentence for bilking investors out of more than $450 million in one of the largest Ponzi schemes in American history.
[OK, now we’re getting somewhere…]
…“He ‘inserted’ himself into the construction process of Leslie Wexner’s yacht…. That resulted in litigation down the road between Mr. Wexner and the shipyard that eventually built the vessel.” ..Evidently, Epstein stalled on paying Dickerson and Reily for its work. “It’s probably once or twice in my legal career that I’ve had to sue a client for payment of services that he’d requested and we’d performed … without issue on the performance,” says Forsberg. In the end the matter was settled, but Epstein claims he now has no recollection of it.
[How very Ponzi of him.]
…Citibank is suing Epstein for defaulting on loans from its private-banking arm for $20 million. Epstein claims that Citibank “fraudulently induced” him into borrowing the money for investments. Citibank disputes this charge.
…Epstein’s financial statement for 1988, in which he claimed to be worth $20 million. He listed that he owned $7 million in securities, $1 million in cash, zero in residential property (although he told sources that he had already bought the home in Palm Beach), and $11 million in other assets, including his investment in Riddell. A co-investor in Riddell says: “The company had been bought with a huge amount of debt, and it wasn’t public, so it was meaningless to attach a figure like that to it … the price it cost was about $1.2 million.” The co-investors bought out Epstein’s share in Riddell in 1995 for approximately $3 million. At that time, when Epstein was asked, as a routine matter, to sign a paper guaranteeing he had access to a few million dollars in case of any subsequent disputes over the sale price, Wexner signed for him. Epstein has explained that this was because the co-investors wanted an indemnity against being sued by Wexner. One of the investors calls this “bullshit.”
Bullshit indeed. [All emphasis: mine]