New York City’s largest private residence, owned by multimillionaire Jeffrey Epstein and worth US$77 million, is in the sights of the FBI in a forfeiture request as part of the sex trafficking case against the convicted sex offender.
Epstein owns the historic 21,000 square foot Herbert Straus Mansion at 9 East 71st Street, New York City, near Central Park, Heavy reported.
Detail: Federal prosecutors want to seize Epstein's NYC mansion. pic.twitter.com/O4fifbSIcP
— Adam Klasfeld (@KlasfeldReports) July 8, 2019
Described in minute, and fascinating, detail in many reports over the decades, as well as in depositions and court documents related to sex-trafficking cases against Epstein by his victims, the mansion has been called a “crown jewel”.
Journalist and author Vicky Ward wrote in a Vanity Fair interview with Epstein at his mansion “the only book he’d left out for me to see was a paperback by the Marquis de Sade”.
She began her profile in 2003 describing Epstein’s house, the city of New York’s reported largest private home that she called the “crown jewel of the city’s residential town houses”.
Ward wrote of the “15-foot-high oak door, huge arched windows, and nine floors” with black-suited “menservants” in not just a “rich person’s home, but a high-walled, eclectic, imperious fantasy that seems to have no boundaries”.
“The entrance hall is decorated not with paintings but with row upon row of individually framed eyeballs; these, the owner tells people with relish, were imported from England, where they were made for injured soldiers. Next comes a marble foyer, which does have a painting, in the manner of Jean Dubuffet … but the host coyly refuses to tell visitors who painted it. In any case, guests are like pygmies next to the nearby twice-life-size sculpture of a naked African warrior,” Ward wrote.
Ward wrote that Earl Grey-drinker Epstein served guests tea “in the ‘leather room’, so-called because of the cordovan-coloured fabric on the walls. The chairs are covered in a leopard print, and on the wall hangs a huge, Oriental fantasy of a woman holding an opium pipe and caressing a snarling lionskin (sic).”
She continued: “Upstairs, to the right of a spiral staircase, is the ‘office,’ an enormous gallery spanning the width of the house. Strangely, it holds no computer. Computers belong in the “computer room” (a smaller room at the back of the house), Epstein has been known to say. The office features a gilded desk (which Epstein tells people belonged to banker J. P. Morgan), 18th-century black lacquered Portuguese cabinets, and a nine-foot ebony Steinway ‘D’ grand. On the desk, a paperback copy of the Marquis de Sade’s The Misfortunes of Virtue was recently spotted. Covering the floor, Epstein has explained, ‘is the largest Persian rug you’ll ever see in a private home — so big, it must have come from a mosque.’ Amid such splendour, much of which reflects the work of the French decorator Alberto Pinto, who has worked for Jacques Chirac and the royal families of Jordan and Saudi Arabia, there is one particularly startling oddity: a stuffed black poodle, standing atop the grand piano. ‘No decorator would ever tell you to do that,’ Epstein brags to visitors. ‘But I want people to think what it means to stuff a dog.’ People can’t help but feel it’s Epstein’s way of saying that he always has the last word.”
An Epstein-owned company bought the mansion for US$0 in 2011 from a company owned by Les Wexner.
Aside from New York City and the US$12 Palm Beach compound, Epstein also owns properties in New Mexico, Paris, the US Virgin Islands, plus he has a private jet and owns 15 cars.
Epstein was charged in a bombshell 13-page indictment in Manhattan Federal Court with conspiracy and sex-trafficking charges that carry a maximum sentence of 45 years in prison. Between 2002 and 2005 he allegedly sexually abused dozens of minors as young as 14 years old at his Manhattan mansion and Palm Beach estate by enticing them to give him nude or partially nude massages. He also paid “victim-recruiters” to lure new, young victims for him to abuse, the indictment charged.
“The defendant, a registered sex offender, is not reformed, he is not chastened, he is not repentant,” prosecutors wrote.
Court documents allege that at least 40 underage girls were brought into Epstein’s mansion for sexual encounters.
Epstein allegedly had perverted pictures in a safe that also contained CDs with handwritten labels like “Misc nudes 1,” and “Girl pics nude,” prosecutors wrote in court papers. One label in the mansion featured an alleged victim’s name preceded by the word “young”, papers charged.