Lawrence Summers wanted $1 million to fund an online poetry project his wife was developing. The former Treasury secretary and onetime Harvard University president turned to Jeffrey Epstein.
“I need small scale philanthropy advice. My life will be better if i raise $1m for Lisa,” Mr. Summers said in an email to Epstein in April 2014, referring to his wife, Elisa New, a Harvard professor. “Mostly it will go to make it a pbs series and for teacher training. Ideas?”
Epstein replied that they could meet in Cambridge, Mass. Mr. Summers invited him to dinner, according to a trove of documents reviewed by The Wall Street Journal. Two days later they made plans to meet at The Fireplace, a cozy restaurant in nearby Brookline, one of several meetings the two men scheduled that year.
In 2016, a nonprofit linked to Epstein donated $110,000 to Ms. New’s nonprofit, which develops video content about poetry, according to tax records.
The documents reviewed by the Journal, which include thousands of pages of emails and schedules from 2013 to 2017, provide new details about the nature and frequency of Epstein’s contacts with an array of powerful people long after he was a registered sex offender. He had pleaded guilty in 2008 to soliciting and procuring a minor for prostitution.
Mr. Summers “deeply regrets being in contact with Epstein after his conviction,” and Ms. New’s nonprofit “regrets accepting funding from Epstein,” said a spokeswoman for the couple. Ms. New’s nonprofit later made a contribution “exceeding the amount received, to a group working against sex trafficking,” the spokeswoman said.
Many of the people or institutions named in the documents were previously known to have associated with Epstein. Some of the documents show that their disclosures about contacts with Epstein were incomplete. Other documents provide new details about how often or where the people met with Epstein, and the kinds of favors Epstein did for them.
The documents don’t reveal the purpose of most of the meetings. The Journal couldn’t verify whether every scheduled meeting took place. Many of the people told the Journal they met with Epstein for reasons related to his wealth and connections.
Among the new details:
- Mr. Summers continued to meet with Epstein and seek his help years after Harvard decided it would no longer accept his donations.
- Reid Hoffman, a billionaire venture capitalist and LinkedIn co-founder, visited Epstein’s private island in the Caribbean and was scheduled to stay over at his Manhattan townhouse in 2014.
- Woody Allen, the Oscar-winning movie director, attended dozens of dinners with his wife, Soon-Yi Previn, at Epstein’s mansion and invited Epstein to film screenings.
- Ehud Barak, the former Israeli prime minister, visited Epstein dozens of times and accepted flights on Epstein’s private jet while visiting Epstein’s mansions in Florida and New York.
- Leon Black, the billionaire co-founder of private-equity giant Apollo Global Management, scheduled more than 100 meetings with Epstein from 2013 to 2017.
Mr. Hoffman said he met with Epstein to raise funds for the Massachusetts Institute of Technology, and that he regrets interacting with Epstein after his conviction. Mr. Allen’s spokeswoman said the filmmaker went with his wife to group social events at Epstein’s townhouse. Mr. Black declined to comment. He stepped down after an Apollo investigation found he paid Epstein for tax planning and estate advice.
Mr. Barak said he often visited Epstein when he traveled to New York. He said he met interesting people at Epstein’s townhouse where they would discuss politics and other topics.
“In retrospect, [Epstein] seems to be a terrible version of Dr. Jekyll and Mr. Hyde, but at the time seemed to be an intelligent person, socially well connected and of wide areas of interest, from science to geopolitics,” Mr. Barak said. He said that he never participated in any parties or activities with girls or women.
The rest of the article goes through a long list of the uber-wealthy and famous. They all regret their involvement with Epstein and all deny any involvement with sex trafficking. That’s a little hard to believe for those who made multiple trips to his island. It does seem that many of them got suckered into his orbit because they wanted access to his money and connections to money.