- The Washington Post published a report on Thursday outlining how President Donald Trump and convicted sex offender Jeffrey Epstein’s friendship ended when the two fought over a Palm Beach mansion in 2004.
- The report also reveals that Palm Beach cops received their first tip about underage girls visiting Epstein’s house fewer than two weeks after Trump won the mansion at auction.
- Epstein was charged with sex trafficking last month. He is pleading not guilty and being held without bail.
- Visit INSIDER’s homepage for more stories.
The Washington Post reports that President Donald Trump and Jeffrey Epstein’s friendship soured when the two fought over a Palm Beach mansion in 2004.
In the weeks since Epstein’s arrest on sex trafficking charges, the question has been raised of just how close he was to the president, since they were often spotted looking chummy together at parties in the ’90s.
While Trump has tried to distance himself from the disgraced financier, saying he “was not a fan,” sources who spoke to the Post — including Epstein’s brother Mark — said they were “good friends.”
The New Yorkers appeared to forge their friendship on the Palm Beach social scene, shortly after Trump divorced his first wife, Ivana, in 1992.
“They were tight,” an anonymous source, who witnessed the two together, told the Post. “They were each other’s wingmen.”
Trump went so far as to call Epstein a “terrific guy” in a 2002 New York Magazine article.
“He’s a lot of fun to be with. It is even said that he likes beautiful women as much as I do, and many of them are on the younger side. No doubt about it — Jeffrey enjoys his social life,” Trump told the magazine.
A spat over a $41 million mansion
But public sightings of the two together ended in 2004, when nursing home magnate Abe Gosman’s Palm Beach mansion, named the Maison de l’Amitie (The House of Friendship), came on the market in a bankruptcy auction. Both Trump and Epstein wanted the six-acre oceanfront estate for themselves, the Post reported.
Joseph Luzinski, who was the property’s trustee, told the paper that both men started lobbying him and would talk behind each other’s back.
“It was something like, Donald saying, ‘You don’t want to do a deal with him, he doesn’t have the money,’ while Epstein was saying: ‘Donald is all talk. He doesn’t have the money,’ ” Luzinski told the Post. “They both really wanted it.”
When the home hit the auction block in November 2004, Trump came out victorious, paying $41.35 million for the property (he later sold it, more than doubling his investment).
Fewer than two weeks after the auction, Palm Beach police received a tip about young women seen coming and going from Epstein’s home, according to a deposition the Post found from then-Police Chief Michael Reiter.
An investigation into Epstein was launched after police received a second complaint, from a woman who alleged her 15-year-old stepdaughter had been paid $300 by Epstein for a massage. He served just 13 months in a county jail after cutting a lenient plea deal with prosecutors.
Epstein was arrested again on July 6 and charged with sex trafficking after authorities raided his New York home and found hundreds of photos depicting nude females, some of which were confirmed to be underage. He is pleading not guilty and being held without bail.
The president hasn’t specified why he and Epstein stopped talking. Page Six reported in 2007 that Epstein had been “banned” at Trump’s private Mar-a-Lago Club in Palm Beach. A source alleged Epstein “would use the spa to try to procure girls” and tried to get an 18-year-old masseuse “to do things.”