Epstein victim payouts paused because no one will buy former properties

The US Treasury collected $190m in estate taxes from Epstein's properties

Graig Graziosi
Thursday 04 February 2021 21:50
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Victims of child sex trafficker Jeffrey Epstein will not receive compensation from his estate - because no one will buy his former properties.

Until recently, the compensation fund for Epstein's victims had paid out nearly $50m to survivors.

Now, due to "uncertainty about the liquidity" of Epstein's estate, the compensation fund will stop making new offers.

Jordy Feldman, who manages the Epstein Victims' Compensation Fund, issued a statement on Thursday explaining the situation.

“Although I sincerely regret having to take this action, I have concluded that it is necessary to protect the interests of eligible claimants who have not yet resolved their claims through the Program,” the statement said. “Issuing a compensation offer that cannot be timely and fully funded and paid, consistent with the way the Program has operated to date, would compromise claimants’ interests and the guiding principles of the Program.”

The victims' compensation fund will suspend offers for payments until 25 March, which is the last day to file claims. If it is determined that the estate has enough money to pay victims in full, then claims may reopen.

More than 150 claims have been filed so far.

A lawyer representing the estate, Daniel Weiner, said that as of 31 Dec, Epstein's assets were worth $240m.

“To date, the Estate has already funded the Program with over $87 million to pay claimants, in addition to regular payments the Estate has made to cover the Program’s ongoing administration and operations,” Mr Weiner told The Daily Beast. “More than $55 million has already been paid to claimants since the Program began accepting claims seven months ago, a measure of the Program’s remarkable efficiency in hearing and issuing determinations for the benefit of claimants.”

Mr Weiner said that the co-executors of Epstein's estate have struggled selling his properties and vehicles.

“Because the great bulk of the Estate’s assets are illiquid—including residential properties, private investments and aircraft—the Co-Executors have been attempting for months to sell those illiquid assets in order to fund the Program and cover the Estate’s expenses, all of which are submitted to the U.S. Virgin Islands Superior Court for itemized review,” he said.

According to the lawyer, buyer reluctance, the pandemic, and ongoing civil suits against Epstein have limited the liquid assets available to the compensation fund.

"Regrettably, the Co-Executors’ efforts to sell these assets have been hampered by the now nearly-year-long coronavirus pandemic, and its enormous adverse effect on local and global economies. In addition, the Estate has been forced to expend substantial funds in defending against multiple civil lawsuits and administrative proceedings, including attempting to clear recent fraudulent claims on title to the Estate’s Palm Beach property,” he said. “The Co-Executors continue to seek to liquidate assets of the Estate, in the full expectation that the Program can soon fully resume its regular operations,” Weiner concluded.

The day before the announcement, the Miami Herald reported that the US Treasury Department was the largest beneficiary of the Epstein estate. According to the paper, the US Treasury received $190m in estate taxes from Epstein.

The Daily Beast spoke with Brad Edwards, a lawyer representing several of Epstein's victims, is advocating for a court to take control of the estate and ensure survivors receive their payments.

“On behalf of the victims of Jeffrey Epstein, we worked very hard to establish a protocol for the claim program that would ensure fairness for all claimants,” Mr Edwards said. “Those in charge of managing the Estate have always known the status of its assets and the need for sufficient liquidity to fulfill their obligations. The irresponsible mismanagement that led to today’s announcement was entirely preventable and indefensible. Jeffrey Epstein’s victims deserve not to be revictimized any further. At this juncture, the court must step in, on an emergency basis, and take control over the Estate to prohibit further injustice.”

A lawyer representing the estate, Daniel Weiner, said that as of 31 Dec., Epstein's assets were worth $240m.

“To date, the Estate has already funded the Program with over $87 million to pay claimants, in addition to regular payments the Estate has made to cover the Program’s ongoing administration and operations,” Mr Weiner told The Daily Beast. “More than $55 million has already been paid to claimants since the Program began accepting claims seven months ago, a measure of the Program’s remarkable efficiency in hearing and issuing determinations for the benefit of claimants.”

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