Jeffrey Epstein. Photo: New York State Sex Offender Registry.

Arts Patron Leon Black’s Foundation Disputes Reports of Jeffrey Epstein’s Ties to Charity After 2008 Plea Deal

Leon Black, an American investor and art collector who serves as chair of the board of trustees of the Museum of Modern Art in New York, came under scrutiny for his connections to Jeffrey Epstein, a wealthy financier who was charged with sex-trafficking on Monday, after media outlets reported that the Black Family Foundation continued to employ Epstein for several years despite the allegations against him.

The foundation has since declared that these reports are false and that Epstein left the foundation in 2007. The New York Post published an article on Tuesday, July 9 stating that tax filings show that Epstein remained with the charity until 2012, but the foundation disputed the documents, claiming that the inclusion of his name on the filings was a mistake.

“Jeffrey Epstein resigned in July 2007 at the family’s request from the Leon Black Family Foundation and has not been affiliated with or performed any duties for the foundation since that date,” a spokeswoman for the foundation said in a statement provided to Bloomberg. “Due to a recording error, Mr. Epstein’s name mistakenly appeared on foundation 990 Forms from 2008–2012, after which the inaccuracy was discovered and corrected.”

Epstein was indicted for running a sex ring out of his Upper East Side mansion and his Palm Beach, Florida, residence between the years of 2002 and 2005. If convicted, he could be sentenced to up to forty-five years in prison. Following his arrest on Saturday at Teterboro Airport in New Jersey, investigators discovered a cache of lewd photographs of girls in a safe inside his Manhattan home.

The billionaire faced similar charges a decade ago, but evaded prison when he agreed to a lenient plea deal. President Trump’s secretary of labor, Alexander Acosta, who at the time was the US attorney for southern Florida, helped secure the deal and is now defending his actions in the face of calls for his resignation. Epstein pleaded guilty to soliciting prostitution and soliciting a minor for prostitution and served only thirteen months out of an eighteen-month sentence in county jail.