It turns out that just two days before his death in jail, Jeffery Epstein wrote a will leaving his entire estate of nearly half a billion dollars to a trust. I don’t know anything about trusts except that what I can gather is that they are the product of yet another one of those loopholes inserted into the tax code that benefit the wealthy who can afford to hire tax accountants and lawyers, and that it enables the wealthy to hide their assets and reduce their taxes.
Epstein’s longtime lawyers, Darren K. Indyke and Richard D. Kahn, were named as primary executors of the estate and are slated to receive $250,000 of the $577 million fortune for their efforts.
But the document shows the disgraced money-manager also selected an alternate executor in the event that Indyke and Kahn can’t carry out their duties: Boris Nikolic, an immunologist and biotech entrepreneur.
Nikolic was reportedly “shocked” to learn that he was listed in the will—which dictates that all of Epstein’s personal property should go to the trustees of a mysterious entity called The 1953 Trust.
“I was not consulted in these matters and I have no intent to fulfill these duties, whatsoever,” he said in a statement obtained by Bloomberg.
“He created some sort of trust very shortly before he died to receive all his property, and the reason people do that is to keep private from the public who is the beneficiary,” Crawford told The Daily Beast, adding, “The will is public, but the trust itself is not.”
Epstein’s selection of the immunologist Nikolic as an executor is symbolic of the symbiotic relationship of Epstein with well-known scientists. He seemed to like to hang out with them, presumably so that some of their prestige and credibility would reflect on him. We saw how that resulted in him getting some of his ridiculous speculations into a book alongside others described ‘leading thinkers’.
But what did the scientists get in return, if they were not part of the sex and pedophilia activities? Were they just flattered to be invited into the high life of private jets, private islands, lavish parties, and carousing with celebrities? Some of the celebrities now claim that they thought he was just a poseur but others seemed to think he was profound.
One aspect of Epstein’s life of luxury seems incongruously out of place though. He surrounded himself with prominent scientists, Harvard professors, multiple Nobel Prize winners, authors, almost exclusively men – Epstein kept his social gatherings stocked with some of the world’s most eminent figures in this world.
He would host dinners at his Upper East side Manhattan apartment and invite a mix of leading scientists and people from the world of fashion and modeling. One scientist, who preferred to remain anonymous, told Slate that there was virtually no interaction between these two sets of guests . “Sometimes he’d turn to his left and ask some science-y questions. Then he’d turn to his right and ask the model to show him her portfolio.” Slate claimed that a young “female staffer” emerged in the middle of one of these dinners to give Epstein a neck massage while he talked.
By most accounts, he would engage with his guests at his science-related parties but never for very long or very deeply, often derailing conversations by abruptly changing topics or turning other people’s comments into jokes.
Still, some of the scientists seemed smitten. In a 2002 profile of Epstein for New York Magazine, Martin Nowack, now a professor of biology and mathematics and head of the Program for Evolutionary Dynamics at Harvard, said that he once broke out a blackboard during dinner with Epstein and, for two hours, gave a mathematical description of how language works. “Jeffrey has the mind of a physicist. It’s like talking to a colleague in your field. Sometimes he applies what we talk about to his investments. Sometimes it’s for his own curiosity. He has changed my life. Because of his support, I feel I can do anything I want,” Nowack said.
The relationships that Epstein developed with prominent scientists are an intriguing phenomenon in their own right.
The puzzle at the heart of Epstein’s fandom is how it lasted for so long and why he managed to draw so many scientists into this circle. As Katha Pollit, writing in the Nation last week said: “What I can’t get over is how Epstein successfully weaseled his way into science at the highest level by cultivating major figures in the field socially and spreading his wealth around. Science! The very temple of the pursuit of truth. Call me insufficiently jaded, but am I wrong to expect more of those we rely on to combat all of the nonsense swirling around us?”
Pollitt is right to expect more of us but wrong to be shocked that so many failed to live up to the standards we claim to live by. What this sordid episode shows is that scientists are as susceptible as any other person to flattery and attention and lavish hospitality from the wealthy.
The article goes on to say that Epstein was enamored of the idea of eugenics.
Epstein was allegedly fascinated with and inspired by the Repository for Germinal Choice, which was founded in Escondido, California, in 1980 by Robert K Graham, an avowed eugenicist and tycoon who got rich developing shatterproof eyeglass lenses. Graham’s goal was the “strengthening of the human gene pool” and he would accomplish this with the Repository, a sperm bank where all the donors were Nobel laureates. At least that’s how it was supposed to work: according to a 2001 story in Slate, Graham only ever convinced three or five (the stories vary) to actually contribute, and the Repository shuttered in 1999.
This may be the foundation of Epstein’s plan to impregnate as many as 20 young women at a time at his New Mexico ranch, no doubt because he thought of himself as some kind of superman and that the world would be better off with as many copies of his DNA in circulation as possible.
What a creep.