The co-executors of Jeffrey Epstein’s estate want to proceed with plans to establish a victims’ compensation fund, despite ongoing objections by V.I. Attorney General Denise George.
“The attorney general has no right to inject herself into the program, dictating its policies, procedures and administration,” St. Thomas attorney Christopher Kroblin wrote in a motion filed Friday on behalf of co-executors Richard Kahn and Darren Indyke.
The estate proposed the fund in November as a way for Epstein’s victims to receive compensation without having to go to court, and selected Jordana Feldman to administer the Epstein Victims’ Compensation Program. Feldman has long worked with Kenneth Feinberg, who has overseen compensation funds for victims of the Sept. 11 terrorist attacks and other high-profile incidents.
George is pursuing a claim against Epstein’s estate under the territory’s Criminally Influenced and Corrupt Organizations, or CICO Act, and has filed liens that essentially froze the more than $600 million in assets Epstein left after his death by suicide on Aug. 10.
She agreed in March to release at least a portion of the estate to finance an alternative compensation fund for victims, but only if all parties can agree on the fund’s administration.
That has yet to happen, and the parties have asked V.I. Magistrate Court Judge Carolyn Hermon-Percell for guidance on how to proceed.
George filed a status report on April 7 citing several issues, including “broad releases that would have required victims to release any third parties who participated in the crimes against them.”
George said she and victims also want Marci Hamilton, CEO of Child USA and “the country’s preeminent expert and advocate on child sexual abuse issues,” to serve as an independent administrator for the fund.
“The Estate’s unwillingness to create a meaningful role for Professor Hamilton, despite her obvious qualifications, deepens my concerns about the Estate’s intent and motives,” George wrote.
Kroblin argued that George “seeks to assume the mantle of Program overseer,” according to his recent motion, and is “demanding that her own hand-picked choice (Marci Hamilton) be placed on the program’s payroll,” among other stipulations.
He argued that two attorneys representing a large number of Epstein victim claimants are satisfied with the current terms of the release.
The scope of the release “is designed to prevent ‘double dipping’ by claimants,” according to Kroblin’s motion, and keep victims from pursuing claims against the estate, as well as individuals associated with the estate who might seek to use its assets to pay their legal defense fees. That’s already happened, Kroblin pointed out, and “this is no theoretical risk.”
On March 12, Ghislane Maxwell, who’s been accused of allegedly recruiting girls for Epstein to abuse, filed suit against Epstein’s estate “demanding indemnification” based on her claim that Epstein had promised to always support her financially and pay her legal fees.
The releases would prevent the estate from having to “pay twice for any harm caused by Mr. Epstein if the damages awarded in that litigation focus not just on the conduct of the released person but also Mr. Epstein’s conduct,” Kroblin wrote. “Because the Attorney General of the Virgin Islands has no standing in this Court to seek to re-shape the Program to suit her whims — demanding changes that go against the considered views of the Co-Executors, recommendations of nationally recognized experts in the field, and endorsement by multiple claimants’ counsel -– the Court should reject her continued efforts to undermine the Program.”
Kroblin asked the judge to grant their motion to establish the program “as originally conceived and presented to the Court on November 14, 2019.”
It’s unclear when Hermon-Percell might issue a ruling in the case.