It lives! So what if Epstein is dead, he was just a symptom of a whole slimy vein of rot.
One of his successors is Leon Black, another billionaire and good buddy to Jeffrey.
Now Black is back in the headlines, this time accused of raping a 16-year-old girl in the home of Jeffrey Epstein, a serial sex trafficker Black financed with more than $150 million.
Is anyone surprised? The poison spreads. It spreads further. It turns out Black and his private equity cronies have bought a politician, Kyrsten Sinema. Are you surprised yet?
In 2018, Black and his wife together made a $5,400 donation to Sinema’s campaign, the maximum legal contribution at the time. Three years later, Black was out from the top post at Apollo Global Management, the firm he helped found, after it was revealed that he paid the disgraced financier Epstein more than $150 million for estate planning and tax services. The Senate Finance Committee is currently investigating that payment and whether it involved tax evasion.
During her 2018 bid, Sinema received a smattering of donations from others in the private equity world, including a few dozen senior Blackstone managers, Bain executives, and Goldman Sachs financiers, but she received much more money through the Emily’s List political action committee and from Google employees.
This whole story is about tawdry corruption and the oddly insulated world of the very rich. One of the main threads connecting everything, though, is Harvard. Harvard isn’t an educational institution anymore, it’s the prestigious locus of every pretentious wanna-be and nouveaux riche moneybags who wants to buy credibility…and unfortunately, Harvard knows this and is happy to sell out. It’s what they do, and they simultaneously attracted grifters like Epstein and exploited them in a hideous symbiotic relationship.
As the steady drip of revelations over the past few months shows, Jeffrey Epstein’s ties to intellectual, cultural, and financial luminaries were much more extensive than previously known. For years after Epstein pleaded guilty in 2008 to soliciting and procuring a minor for prostitution, he socialized with Bill Gates, Woody Allen, Noam Chomsky, Leon Botstein, former Israeli prime minister Ehud Barak, private equity billionaire Leon Black, LinkedIn cofounder Reid Hoffman, CIA director William Burns, and Lawrence Summers.
According to a recent report in The Wall Street Journal, Summers—a former president of Harvard and the current Charles W. Eliot University Professor and director of the Mossavar-Rahmani Center for Business and Government at the Harvard Kennedy School—had more than a dozen meetings scheduled with Epstein from 2013 to 2016. In April 2014, Summers sent Epstein an e-mail seeking “small scale philanthropy advice” regarding his wife, Elisa New, a professor of English at Harvard. “My life will be better if i raise $1m for Lisa,” he wrote. “Mostly it will go to make a pbs series and for teacher training. Ideas?”
“Small scale.” She wanted to make videos about poetry, which is nice, but most of us wouldn’t even dream of getting a million dollars for that sort of thing. But if you know a criminal who wants to whitewash his reputation and suck up to a famous university, you can find a way.
The Summers-Epstein relationship opens a window into the interlocking of intellectual and financial elites in our era of bloated capital accumulation. The perks and privileges that the superrich can offer make their company and resources hard to resist. Top universities, in turn, entice the tycoon class with a mix of academic prestige, intellectual stimulation, and social legitimation. And no university has more to offer in this regard than Harvard. The school has come to have a mesmerizing effect on the American public, especially its most mercantile tier, for which it is a honeypot.
Harvard is going to have a tough time buying their way out of the strikes against their reputation in the last few decades. I know if I had a grandchild applying to callege, I’d strongly discourage them from considering Harvard. I’d consider Harvard on a CV to be a detriment, but then, I’m not a billionaire with ties to the financial industry who thinks schmoozing with other rich people is more important than an actual education.
Right now, I mainly follow news from Harvard for the scandals. Like this one:
On June 16, Harvard Business School put one of its most celebrated professors on leave after an internal investigation into accusations that she had falsified her research. Francesca Gino was a popular behavioral scientist who was known for prolific publishing and a schedule packed with speaking gigs and expensive corporate trainings. Harvard paid her over $1 million a year while companies paid tens of thousands more to book her for their private events.
Gino’s record of publishing over 10 journal articles a year, in contrast to the faculty average two or three, seemed too good to be true—and as is now coming to light, it may have been. A four-part investigation by the independent academic watchdog site Data Colada alleges that Gino fabricated some of her high-profile research over at least a decade and as recently as three years ago. It claims to have found at least four times that data in her studies were manipulated. The watchdog believes it is likely that Gino carried out the alleged fraud without assistance from her collaborators.
OK, Harvard Business School is kind of the lowest cesspit of a tainted brand, but a professor getting paid a million dollars a year is already suspicious. What, you may wonder, does she study that warrants that kind of salary? She studies dishonesty in business, ironically enough. She’s an advocate for being a rebel and breaking the rules, so you can see already why this would appeal to corporate executives.
Anyway, don’t go to Harvard unless you dream of one day being a willing enabler of the extremes of capitalism.