Very little has ever been revealed about the business dealings of Jeffrey Epstein, the shadowy money manager who will be spending the next 16 months or so in a Palm Beach jail cell after pleading to soliciting an underage prostitute in late June. Long described as "mysterious" and "reclusive," the only client of his who has been confirmed over the years has been Leslie "Les" Wexner, the billionaire founder of Limited Brands. Epstein once boasted to a reporter that he wouldn't even consider taking on a client who didn't have a billion dollars or more in the bank. You can now add a new billionaire to the list of Epstein associates: Leon Black, the co-founder of Apollo Management. Black recruited Epstein to serve on the board of his charitable organization, the Leon D. Black Foundation. Listed on the non-profit's IRS returns alongside Leon and his wife, Debra: Epstein's name and the address of the waterfront home where Epstein was accused of carrying out his sexual misdeeds with minors. More on this jaw-dropping revelation below.
Epstein's past has always been shrouded in mystery. He was a math teacher at Dalton once upon a time; he later joined Bear Stearns and then either left because he wanted to start his own firm or was fired, depending who you believe. He first made a splash on the social scene when he started dating Ghislaine Maxwell, the daughter of the late Brit mogul Robert Maxwell. More attention followed in 2002 when Epstein flew Clinton and actors Kevin Spacey and Chris Tucker to Africa on his private jet. Both Vanity Fair and New York magazine followed up with profiles, wondering just whose money he managed.
For years, though—and despite suggestions that he had as many as 15 clients—Wexner was the only name officially connected to him. Of course, business and pleasure occasionally mixed. Vanity Fair once suggested he had ties to Steven Hoffenberg, who went to prison for a ponzi scheme. He was an investor in the second iteration of Radar magazine with Mort Zuckerman. Donald Trump once described him as a pal. A fan of science and medical research, Epstein was said to be close to Harvard president Larry Summers and law professor Alan Dershowitz.
Black's name has never come up before in connection with Epstein. What is the nature of their relationship, in addition to the fact that Epstein is listed as a director of Black's foundation in his most recent tax return? That's difficult to say. Black's longtime publicist, Steve Anreder of Anreder & Co., declined to speak with us despite repeated requests. But it's worth noting that Epstein has longstanding ties to Michael Milken, who used to work with Black at Drexel Burnham. And the lawyer who represented a number of Drexel employees in the wake of the firm's scandalous collapse, Gerald Lefcourt, also represented Epstein in connection with the underage prostitution charges. It's unclear if Epstein also managed some of Black's money. One curious tidbit: Black's foundation's funds were kept in accounts at Bear Stearns and Epstein was a major Bear client, and was reported to have lost close to $60 million when Bear's hedge funds went south.
It's also worth noting that Black's foundation isn't nearly as active as it once was. In 2006, it dispensed $225,000 to Trinity and a group called Tree of Life in Pittsburg [sic]. The foundation lists upcoming donations of $1.6 million to such groups as the Children's Museum of Manhattan and the J. Richardson Fund for Picasso Research. But something tells us we won't be seeing Epstein's name under the list of board members the next time the foundation files with the IRS.
Black's documents below.