Jeffrey Epstein was only a would-be Master of the Universe when I first met him in 1987, at movie producer Coco Brown’s annual Halloween party in New York. I was standing with Isabel Goldsmith, the eldest daughter of the financier Jimmy Goldsmith, when Epstein and his brother, Mark, joined us. “A surfeit of Epsteins,” Isabel remarked. It turned out she had once met Epstein in London.

The next day Epstein called me and said there was something he would like to talk to me about. We met for tea at the Mayfair Hotel on 65th Street the following Thursday. He asked at the outset if I would be interested in writing a story about his business for my monthly “Wall Street Babylon” column in Manhattan, inc. magazine. At this point, all I knew about him was that he was an acquaintance of Isabel Goldsmith’s.