Bill Gates, Leon Black, Thomas Pritzker: One Day in the Life of Jeffrey Epstein

From a Wall Street Journal story by Khadeeja Safdar, David Benoit, and Kara Dapena headlined “Bill Gates, Leon Black, Thomas Pritzker: One Day in the Life of Jeffrey Epstein”:

On Monday, Sept. 8, 2014, Jeffrey Epstein had a full calendar. He was scheduled to meet that day with Bill Gates, Thomas Pritzker, Leon Black and Mortimer Zuckerman, four of the richest men in the country, according to schedules and emails reviewed by The Wall Street Journal.

Epstein also planned meetings that day with a former top White House lawyer, a college president and a philanthropic adviser, three of the dozens of meetings the Journal reported he had with each of them.

Six years earlier, in 2008, Epstein pleaded guilty to soliciting and procuring a minor for prostitution, and he subsequently registered as a sex offender. He was arrested again in 2019 on sex-trafficking charges, and died that year in jail awaiting trial.

Mr. Gates, the co-founder of Microsoft, has said they discussed philanthropy, and it was a mistake to meet with Epstein. Mr. Black, a co-founder of Apollo Global Management, who has said previously he met for tax and estate advice, declined to comment. The other two men haven’t previously discussed their meetings with Epstein and didn’t respond to requests for comment. Mr. Pritzker is chairman of Hyatt Hotels and Mr. Zuckerman is a real-estate investor and media owner.

That Monday featured appointments at two luxury hotels in midtown Manhattan—the Park Hyatt and Four Seasons. Epstein was also scheduled to host several visitors at his sprawling townhouse near Central Park.

What follows is a breakdown of Epstein’s agenda that day, offering a glimpse of the many connections he made with wealthy and prominent people. The Journal couldn’t verify whether every scheduled meeting took place.

What follows is a breakdown of Epstein’s agenda that day, offering a glimpse of the many connections he made with wealthy and prominent people. The Journal couldn’t verify whether every scheduled meeting took place.

Epstein’s driver picked him up in the morning and brought him to meet the Microsoft mogul and Hyatt hotel heir at the Park Hyatt hotel near Central Park.

Epstein had met with each of them before. In 2011, Epstein was discussing a multibillion-dollar charitable fund with JPMorgan Chase executives and wrote in emails to them that he could involve Mr. Gates and Mr. Pritzker.

On this day, Mr. Gates was scheduled to spend several hours with Epstein, accompanying him to various meetings. Mr. Gates runs, with his ex-wife, one of the world’s biggest philanthropies.

“As Bill has said many times before, it was a mistake to have ever met with him and he deeply regrets it,” said a spokeswoman for Mr. Gates.

Mr. Pritzker, part of a wealthy and politically connected Chicago family, was a frequent guest at Epstein’s townhouse, according to the documents.

Mr. Pritzker and Hyatt representatives didn’t respond to requests for comment about the scheduled meetings.

11:30 a.m.

The schedule called for Epstein and Mr. Gates to head two blocks along 57th Street to the skyscraper that houses the offices of Apollo Global Management.

Epstein had been scheduled to meet with its co-founder Mr. Black the day before, and the two men were slated to meet again three days later, the documents show.

Mr. Black had more than 100 meetings scheduled with Epstein from 2013 to 2017. They typically met at Epstein’s townhouse and occasionally at Mr. Black’s office, the documents show.

The billionaire stepped down as Apollo’s CEO in March 2021. An Apollo review found he paid Epstein $158 million for estate planning and tax work.

Mr. Black declined to comment about the scheduled meetings. Apollo has said Epstein was working for Mr. Black, not Apollo.

2 p.m.

Epstein and Mr. Gates were next scheduled to head to Epstein’s townhouse to meet with Mr. Zuckerman, the owner of U.S. News & World Report.

At the time of the meeting, Mr. Zuckerman also owned the Daily News and was executive chairman of Boston Properties, a big owner of office buildings.

Mr. Zuckerman was scheduled to meet Epstein more than a dozen times over the years. On some occasions, the two men planned to meet at Mr. Zuckerman’s office or home, which was near Epstein’s townhouse, the documents show.

One night in January 2014, Epstein waited past 11 p.m. to meet with Mr. Zuckerman, who was scheduled to visit his townhouse at 10:30 p.m., the documents show.

3 p.m.

The Four Seasons, a luxury-hotel chain in which Mr. Gates’s investment firm holds a stake, was the next scheduled stop. There, Epstein introduced Mr. Gates to Kathryn Ruemmler, who until earlier that year had served as President Obama’s top White House lawyer.

Over the next few years, Epstein often had appointments with Ms. Ruemmler, who was a partner at Latham & Watkins at the time and is now general counsel at Goldman Sachs.

Ms. Ruemmler had a professional relationship with Epstein and many of their meetings were about a mutual client, a Goldman Sachs spokesman said. “I regret ever knowing Jeffrey Epstein,” Ms. Ruemmler said.

The spokeswoman for Mr. Gates said Epstein never worked for Mr. Gates. A spokeswoman for Latham & Watkins said Epstein wasn’t a client of the firm.

4:30 p.m.

Epstein returned to his Upper East Side townhouse in the afternoon, the schedule shows. One of the largest private homes in Manhattan, the townhouse was originally built for a Macy’s heir.

At 4:30 p.m., Epstein was scheduled to meet with Ramsey Elkholy, a musician and anthropologist. Mr. Elkholy had several other meetings with Epstein over the years.

Mr. Elkholy said one of Epstein’s girlfriends had introduced them, and that he occasionally went to Epstein for financial and book publishing advice. “When I heard about everything that happened, I was sick to my stomach,” he said.

“In hindsight, I realize that Jeffrey was a very good con man,” Mr. Elkholy said. “He could give the impression that he was helping you when in fact he was mostly B.S.-ing.”

5 p.m.

The next person on Epstein’s calendar, Leon Botstein, was running late that day. The longtime president of Bard College was arriving at LaGuardia Airport and planned to head straight to the townhouse, the documents show.

Mr. Botstein said he first visited Epstein’s townhouse in 2012 to thank him for $75,000 in unsolicited donations for Bard’s high schools, then visited again over several years in an attempt to get more. He also invited Epstein to events at the college.

Mr. Botstein said fundraising for the school was his responsibility, and that he met just as frequently with other potential donors.

“It was a humiliating experience to deal with him, but I cannot afford to put my pride before my obligation to raise money for the causes I’m responsible for,” Mr. Botstein said.

“It looked like he was someone who was convicted and served his time,” Mr. Botstein said. “That turned out to be corrupt, but we didn’t know that.”

6 p.m.

The last meeting scheduled for the day was with Barnaby Marsh, a philanthropic adviser to wealthy families. At the time, Mr. Marsh was an executive at the John Templeton Foundation, which donates to various science and research groups. He had roughly two dozen meetings with Epstein.

Mr. Marsh said he often went to Epstein’s townhouse for gatherings because it was full of academics and wealthy people who discussed philanthropy ideas. “So many of these billionaires knew him,” Mr. Marsh said. “And he would sit in the corner, just kind of watching.”

Mr. Marsh said Epstein openly discussed his jail time. Mr. Marsh said, however, that he never saw evidence Epstein made significant donations. “He was a lot of talk, but he never did anything.”

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