“Pedophile Island” isn’t my snarky nickname for it. It’s what the locals themselves used to call it. At what point is an “open secret” so open that it doesn’t qualify as a secret in any sense?

Can’t get too mad at them, though. Although not a visitor to the island, the current president of the United States seems to have had some idea of what was going on there and, so far as we know, said nothing.

And of course, a former president is alleged to have visited the island himself. And also seems to have said nothing to any authorities.

I wonder if Billy Jeff has a notion of what’s inside Jeffrey Epstein’s mystery safe. From Bloomberg via the Week:

Back in his heyday, before his 2008 guilty plea in Florida, Epstein would visit his piece of the Virgin Islands archipelago about two or three times a month for stays of three or four days, according to the former staffer, who asked not to be named because Epstein insisted on secrecy from his employees. He described it as a Zen-like retreat when Epstein was there, padding around shirtless in shorts and flip-flops, with meditative music piped into the area around the main house, the cabanas and the pool, where women would sometimes sunbathe topless or in the nude…

The only unusual aspect of the main residence the former worker said he was aware of were the security boxes in two offices. The level of secrecy around a steel safe in Epstein’s office, in particular, suggested it contained much more than just money, he said. Outside of an occasional visit by a housekeeper, no one was allowed in those rooms.

If you’re all-in on the theory that Epstein made his money not through finance but by pimping out teenaged girls to rich men and then blackmailing them with the evidence of a life-destroying liaison — which I pretty much am — then you can imagine what might be in that safe, stashed away on a small island where Epstein would be able to see any intruders coming from literally miles away. But that’s not the only suspicious feature of his residence. There’s a strange-looking structure on the island…

…whose purpose is also unclear. Some reports say it’s a music room with a grand piano where Epstein could practice his hobby. (His other hobby, I should say.) But it has an odd feature for a music room:

Conspiracy theorists waged that the temple was either a secluded setting for Epstein’s abuse or that it concealed a hidden underground location for the same purpose. James Both, a contractor whom Insider consulted with for the story, noted that while it was possible to install an underground space or elevator, the construction would have most likely been documented by a vendor to ensure regular inspections.

“A simple stairwell would be a better option if someone wanted to conceal their activities at the location.” Both also pointed out the temple’s questionable wooden door, which features a reinforcing lock bar. “What makes it peculiar is that if you wanted to keep people out, the bar would be placed inside the building, [but the] locking bar appears to be placed on the outside … as if it were intended to lock people in,” he said.

I’m not sure we’ve scratched the surface yet of the sinister weirdness of the Epstein story.

New York magazine has been hot on the trail of the secondary mystery in this case. What did Jeffrey Epstein, supposedly the money manager of choice for billionaires, *actually* do to earn a living? Read this post for background on that if you’re late to this story. Bizarrely, despite Epstein having parlayed his alleged investment acumen into friendships with fabulously rich and famous people, there’s practically no evidence of him trading and just a single person on his client list is publicly known. New York spoke to an author who’s been researching Epstein for a book he’s writing. Has he managed to track down any evidence of Epstein’s investment business? Not really, said the author. He also subscribes to the theory that blackmail, not investment, is Epstein’s chief profession, noting that Epstein is alleged to have said to one of his victims that “information is king.” Hmmm.

New York also contacted a bunch of actual hedge-fund managers and asked them if Epstein seemed like a legit investment expert based on what they knew of him and his practice. No way, they said. No one knows anyone who’s invested with him and none of his employees seem to have handled any of the trades the business is supposedly doing. It’s possible that the money he’s earned is nothing more than an accumulation of extortion payments. Or maybe he is investing the money on behalf of his blackmailed “clients” but placing it in safe, basic investments like an index fund or U.S. treasuries. To put that differently, there’s less suspense right now as to whether Epstein raised his money through illicit means than there is whether his investment firm is doing pro forma investments or operates as a complete front for extortion.

And there’s another question: How long has this been going on? Since he went into business for himself as a money manager — or maybe even before that?

Epstein’s spotty professional history has also drawn a lot of attention in recent days, and Kass says it was one of the first things that raised his suspicions years ago. Now 66, Epstein didn’t come from money and never graduated from college, yet he landed a teaching job at a fancy private school (“unheard of,” says Kass) and rose through the ranks in the early 1980s at investment bank Bear Stearns. Within no time, Kass notes, Epstein was made a partner of the firm — and then was promptly and unceremoniously ousted.

He’s gotten some remarkable professional breaks from some rich, elite people dating back to the very start of his work experience. How?

Exit question: Is this guy going to talk? I have the sinking suspicion that the answer is no even though — as far as we know — it’s the only leverage he has left to avoid dying in prison. He’s 66. He’s been charged with trafficking underaged girls. The defenestration of Alex Acosta and the media attention to this case guarantees that he won’t get another sweetheart deal unless he gives up a ton. But even if the feds wanted to cut him a break in return for information, how lenient could they be with him, really? They can’t let him out of prison to prey on more women and Epstein must know that. So what incentive does he have to talk?