2019-07-21 15:35:46 UTC
Meet the woman who ties Jeffrey Epstein to Trump and the Clintons
Heiress Ghislaine Maxwell paved the way to presidents.
By BEN SCHRECKINGER and DANIEL LIPPMAN 07/21/2019
“It wasn’t until 2015 that Chelsea and Marc became aware of the horrific allegations against Ghislaine Maxwell and hope that all the victims find justice,” said Chelsea Clinton’s chief of staff, Bari Lurie. “Chelsea and Marc were friendly with her because of her relationship with a dear friend of theirs. When that relationship ended, Chelsea and Marc’s friendship with her ended as well.”
For several years, Maxwell was romantically linked with Ted Waitt, the billionaire founder of Gateway computers.
A person close to Chelsea Clinton described Waitt as a “very close family friend” of Chelsea and Mezvinsky, and said the couple met Maxwell through him in 2011. The person said Chelsea Clinton and her husband ended their friendship with Maxwell when she and Waitt broke up in early 2011, and disputed that Maxwell and Chelsea Clinton were ever “close.”
Two people familiar with the relationship between Maxwell and the Clintons said Maxwell, Chelsea Clinton and Mezvinsky flew together on a private plane to rendezvous with Waitt for a trip on Waitt’s yacht. One of those people said the trip took place in 2009.
Waitt, whose philanthropic endeavors focus on the world’s oceans, has given somewhere between $10 million and $25 million to the Clinton Foundation. Waitt’s philanthropic foundation did not respond to a request for comment.
One person familiar with the Maxwell-Clinton relationship said that while Maxwell “was incredibly close” to Chelsea, “She had her own relationship with Bill Clinton and was very close to him.”
In 2010, Maxwell attended Chelsea Clinton’s wedding, apparently as Waitt’s date. In 2012, Maxwell launched her own Ocean-focused charity, the TerraMar Project. A year later, the Clinton Global Initiative trumpeted a TerraMar initiative among the “commitments to action” announced at its annual meeting. No money changed hands.
The initiative was the Sustainable Oceans Alliance, which sought to ensure the United Nations included oceans in its Sustainable Development Goals.
A 2013 press release on the website for TerraMar —which announced it was shuttering in the days after Epstein’s arrest — describes the alliance as a four-way partnership between TerraMar; another nonprofit called the Global Partnerships Forum; the late Stuart Beck, who served as “ambassador on oceans and seas” from the Pacific island nation of Palau; and a Trump friend, Paolo Zampolli, an Italian-born businessman who has served in diplomatic posts for Caribbean nations.
Before his diplomatic career, Zampolli co-founded a model management company and served as the Trump Organization’s director of international development. He has long been credited with introducing Trump to his third wife, Melania, though the New York Times reported this month that Epstein has also claimed credit for the introduction.
Zampolli said he was unaware of Maxwell’s connection to the Sustainable Oceans Initiative but that he does recall that Beck — who served on TerraMarr’s board in 2013 — brought Maxwell to the United Nations twice to discuss her oceans advocacy.
TerraMar sought to build social networks around ocean protection, issuing free “Ocean Passports” to anyone who pledged to support its goals, making them an “ocean citizen.”
“This lady,” Zampolli recalled, “had some very interesting ideas.”