I can’t prove this article is actually from the London tabloid Mail on Sunday in the pre-Internet year of 1992. I just found it on Reddit. But it seems plausible, although pretty early:
The mystery of Ghislaine Maxwell’s secret love,
Mail on Sunday, 15/11/1992
REVEALED: THE UNLIKELY ROMANCE BETWEEN A BUSINESS SPY AND THE CROOKED FINANCIER’S FAVOURITE DAUGHTER
IN PUBLIC relations terms, it was an unmitigated disaster.
Ghislaine Maxwell, the youngest and most pulchritudinous of the disgraced tycoon’s children, was photographed boarding Concorde to return to her adopted city, New York.
The bankers cheated by her father and pensioners left destitute as a result of Robert Maxwell’s wickedness were incandescent with anger. A one-way trip on Concorde costs more than £2,000 – an awful lot of money for a young woman reported to be living on a “meagre”£80,000 trust fund set up by her father.
But her departure for New York is notable for a very different reason.
Unnoticed by almost everybody, travelling with her was a greying, plumpish, middle-aged American businessman who managed to avoid the photographers. It is to this man that 30-year-old Ghislaine has turned to ease the heartache of her father’s shame.
His name is Jeffrey Epstein, a shadowy, almost maverick New York “property developer”who, for over a year, has helped Ghislaine become a coveted fixture on the Manhattan social scene. During the last year, say friends, she has fallen in love with him, and the couple are inseparable.
DESPITE the dubious fame of having been nominated as Cosmopolitan magazine’s Bachelor of the Month,
That was in June 1980:
Back then, Epstein looked like Lou Reed starring in American Psycho.
Epstein walked into her life at a time when she was desperately lonely. …
But by Epstein’s side, Ghislaine is building a respectability in New York which would be impossible in London, where the wounds created by her father cut deepest.
In New York, they adore the progeny of felons as much as the felons themselves. …
And yet, like much associated with the Maxwell clan, little is known about Mr Epstein.
One outrageous story links him to the CIA and Mossad. Another that Epstein was a concert pianist. Yet another that he was a maths teacher at an exclusive girls school.
THE most intriguing rumour is that he was a corporate spy hired by big businesses to uncover money that had been embezzled.
But what is the truth about him? Like Maxwell, Epstein is both flamboyant and intensely private.
… One of his first notable dates was Nikki Haskell, a former TV talk-show hostess who met him six years ago.
… She experienced Epstein’s love of intrigue. “He told me he was a spy hired by corporations to find major amounts of money which had been embezzled,”she says. “He made it sound very exciting and glamorous.”Epstein escorted Haskell to the annual BEST Awards in New York, a meretricious event celebrating the best dressed people in America. Haskell said: “In the middle, Jeffrey got up and said “I have to go’. When I asked why, he said: “Just look at me as a doctor who has to make a house call.”Who was he meeting at midnight on a Saturday?”
Dorothy Sowell, another New York socialite, came across Epstein at roughly the same time. “Jeffrey is the type of person whose stories sound far-fetched, but you never know when you will run into him,”she said at her Park Avenue apartment. “There is something about him that must ring true.”
… According to friends, Epstein was born and raised in New York. His parents were relatively poor, and now live in a house he bought for them in Palm Beach, Florida. He appears to have an inexhaustible supply of money and yet no one seems able to answer the question of precisely what the source is.
HIS Madison Avenue office is decorated with fabulous works of art, and he has been known to drive a Silver Spirit Rolls-Royce.
He once lived in a building which also housed socialite and fashion guru, Mary McFadden, and several children of the Walkmeister family, part of New York’s tightly-knit circle of Jewish philanthropists.
According to a close friend, Epstein is now the right-hand man of Leslie Wexner, the founder of the Limited Corporation, a giant retailing chain. …
When she first arrived in February 1991, in the wake of her father’s triumphant entrance into Manhattan as the saviour of the New York Daily News, she had one important role – as Captain Bob’s ticket into New York society. She accompanied him to all the right parties and helped to woo the Kennedy clan. When Kerry Kennedy, Robert Kennedy’s daughter, was married Ghislaine was a guest.
Kerry Kennedy, the ex-wife of New York governor Andrew Cuomo, might have some light to shed on what Ghislaine is worried about at present.
Recently, she was seen warmly greeting John Kennedy Jnr, JFK’s only son, at a New York party. As they kissed on meeting their friendship was obvious.
Whatever happened to JFK Jr. anyway?
… “Jeffrey is much more like her father,”said one friend. But what is he – property developer, concert pianist, maths teacher, corporate treasure hunter, stockbroker, merchant banker or globe-trotting businessman?
A friend laughed. “I think you’ll find there is probably a bit of truth in all of them.”
Epstein grew up in Coney Island, the son of a groundskeeper for the New York Parks Department. He was good at classical piano and at math, which appears to have gotten him comfortable with a higher class of people, such as getting him hired to teach at the fancy Dalton School despite being a young college dropout.
He only lasted two years there, but he got to know Ace Greenberg, head of Bear Stearns, whose kids were going to Dalton. When Epstein got canned from Dalton, he got hired at Bear Stearns. He made limited partner in 4 years, but got fired the next year for some murky infractions, but Epstein stayed friends with Greenberg and Jimmy Cayne. Presumably, they liked his moxie.
Then he went into business for himself helping rich people get their money back from crooks and perhaps vice-versa. “He told friends that he worked sometimes as a consultant for governments and the very wealthy to recover embezzled funds, while at other times he worked for clients who had embezzled funds.”
In 1987, he joined a collections agency, Tower Financial, which then tried to buy Pan Am airlines. In 1993 Tower Financial blew up in a big Ponzi scheme and his partner went to jail, but Epstein was nominally separated from the firm by 1989.
It’s possible that some of Epstein’s teflonness came from serving as a snitch on his fellow crooks?
Okay, here’s my sociological suspicion. Epstein was basically a low class guy from Coney Island who had acquired a high class veneer through classical music camp and the like that let him fit in in executive suites. But his specialties were basically in low class mobbed-up activities like collections where the threat of violence or other illegal activities can be a big help.
Why did women’s clothing billionaire Leslie Wexner, a genius at understanding how women want to dress, give Epstein a Manhattan mansion?
Maybe it was blackmail, maybe payment for some nefarious service, or maybe it was love. From New York magazine, August 5, 1985:
Wexner is now married with four kids, but the article makes a point of his fussiness:
When did Epstein and Wexner meet? Wexner’s recent letter says only “the mid-1980s.”
I first met Mr. Epstein in the mid-1980s, through friends who vouched for and recommended him as a knowledgeable financial professional. Mr. Epstein represented that he had various well-known and respected individuals both as his financial clients and in his inner circle. Based on positive reports from several friends, and on my initial dealings with him, I believed I could trust him.
Eventually, he took over managing my personal finances. He was given power of attorney as is common in that context, and he had wide latitude to act on my behalf with respect to my personal finances while I focused on building my company and undertaking philanthropic efforts.
So billionaire Wexner gave power of attorney to non-attorney Jeffrey Epstein as one does.
Something else that happened in the mid-1980s in Columbus, Ohio was that The Limited’s outside counsel, local lawyer Arthur Shapiro, was supposed to testify to the grand jury on March 7, 1985 about why he hadn’t filed a tax return in seven years. On March 6, 1985, an unknown gunman chased Shapiro through a Columbus cemetery and shot him dead. The case remains unsolved today.
There’s a pretty good suspect in Barry Kessler, an accountant involved in setting up shady tax shelters with Shapiro. Kessler was accused in several other murders and eventually died in prison.
On the other hand, local journalist Bob Fitrakis has long been implying that the conspiracy to murder Shapiro before he testified goes all the way to the top, or at least as top as you can get in Columbus, Ohio.