News

The Alaska connection

And so, with financier and child molester Jeffrey Epstein dead in an apparent suicide, an investigation into his sordid sex life is reported to be shifting toward Alice Rogoff’s old, Iditarod trail mate: Ghislaine Maxwell.

Yes, one of the biggest stories in the country at the moment has an Alaska connection.

“Socialite Ghislaine Maxwell dishes on icy travels” is how the New York Post’s Page Six gossip column reported the Brit’s Iditarod exploits in 2014.

“After interior decorator Geoffrey Bradfield told of a scary car crash in Pakistan, and art collector Stephanie Zuellig discussed the happy cows on her farm in Switzerland,” wrote Richard Johnson, “Maxwell — the daughter of British press baron Robert Maxwell — said she had just returned from Alaska’s Iditarod dog sled race.

“Maxwell traveled across hundreds of miles of icy wilderness to the finish line in Nome, where thousands of fans of ‘the last great race’ cheered on the mushers and their dogs.”

Unmentioned was Mawell’s host, a one time Washington, D.C. socialite turned majority owner of AlaskaDispatch.com, an online news site. Rogoff was at the time of the 2014 Iditarod also in negotiations to buy the Anchorage Daily News from The McClatchy Company, a California-based newspaper chain with big financial troubles that continue to this day. 

Rogoff bought the newspaper not long after the Iditarod ended that year and ran it into bankruptcy by the summer of 2017. She has now largely disappeared from the Alaska scene and could not be reached for comment. But her former business partner, Tony Hopfinger, well remembers meeting Maxwell.

The AlaskaDispatch.com co-founder was Rogoff’s business partner, editor of Alaska Dispatch and for a time the editor of Rogoff’s version of ADN.com, which Rogoff renamed Alaska Dispatch News.

In a message in response to questions today, Hopfinger said he encountered Maxwell in the isolated, Bering Sea coastal village of Unalakleet, population 700, when she climbed aboard one of Rogoff’s two, $1 million Cessna 206 aircraft.  Rogoff was at the time aboard plane #2 with the pilot and a Dispatch News reporting crew covering the race.

“Maxwell, Kylea (Hopfinger’s fiance), and I flew with (pilot) Paul Anderson to White Mountain,” Hopfinger said. “During the flight, Maxwell bragged about her life, everything from her nonprofit to the places she’d visited to the fact that she knew how to fly a helicopter. Kylea and I sat in the back while she talked to Paul, at times flirting with him. We listened to her and Paul on the plane’s headphones. At one point, she told Paul she learned how to fly helicopters from an ex-boyfriend who had served in the IDF (Israeli Defense Force) and Mossad,” the Israeli intelligence agency.

His description of Maxwell, who has been accused of and denied procuring teenage girls for Epstein, jives in some ways with the accounts of others who describe here as a flirt and more.

Sordid tales

“In the early ’90s, at a Joan Rivers dinner party, my wife and I encountered….Maxwell, daughter of disgraced British publishing mogul Robert Maxwell and Epstein’s girlfriend for a brief period in the ’90s,” author Jesse Kornbluth wrote at Salon back in July. “‘If you lose 10 pounds, I’ll fuck you,’ she said, with my wife standing next to me. And she too became dead to me.”

In the late ’80s, Kornbluth earlier noted, he’d been thinking about writing a book about Epstein until the now reportedly dead financier phoned Kornbluth’s house the night before his wedding to tell his wife-to-be that “it’s your last free night. Why don’t you come over and fuck me?”

Hopfinger heard no offers so blatant, but Maxwell, who he described as a “pretentious socialite who couldn’t stop talking about herself,” left him uncomfortable.

“When I got back to Anchorage after the race, I Googled Ghislaine Maxwell and saw her connection to Epstein and his underage sex scandal. I told Alice, and she acted like she didn’t know about this history. Even back then, Epstein was featured prominently in the news, enough so that I had read stories about him and his ‘Lolita Express’ prior to 2014.

“At the time, Alice was about to buy the Daily News. To me, this encounter with Maxwell was yet another example of Alice’s poor judgment….She seemingly met random people and let them into her life, not questioning who they were or where they came from. Because Alice had a lot of money, thanks to her then-husband (David Rubenstein), she was a target for hustlers. Maxwell fit that profile. I told Alice at the time.”

The two never discussed Maxwell again, Hopfinger added, but Rogoff appeared to be undeterred by Maxwell’s Epstein connection. By 2018 with the Dispatch News dead and gone and Hopfinger and Rogoff in court fighting over the $1 million she’d agreed to pay him for his shares in the company, Rogoff was pimping out a questionable Maxwell charity called the TerraMar Project.

“The TerraMar Project was set up to address ‘our’ ownership of the oceans, meaning we all have a responsibility and are equal partners in protecting the areas of ocean that lie outside any one country’s jurisdiction, which is a staggering 64 percent,” Rogoff wrote in an op-ed for the Alaska Natives News.

“Since 2012 they (sic) have grown into an incredibly active non-profit, creating what can only be called a global ocean community. In support of their work, I ask you to sign their passport and join 76,500 other members in their pledge to love our oceans.

“I also suggest you get their newsletter The Daily Catch to stay informed on news and events that affect our rivers, lakes & oceans.”

Rogoff signed the column as “publisher, ArcticToday.com,” a website she spirited out of the Dispatch News when it was in bankruptcy.

Charitable front?

The New York Post described TerraMar as “a mysterious do-nothing charity” and said public filings revealed it was “exclusively funded by hundreds of thousands in loans by heiress Ghislaine Maxwell.”

Rogoff employed a similar scheme to fund the ADN as she was driving it into bankruptcy. After the bankruptcy filing – with dozens of small businesses left holding the bag on about $2 million in debt – lawyers for Rogoff claimed she’d loaned the company $23 million to keep it afloat and thus was entitled to more than 90 percent of any funds the U.S. Bankruptcy Court collected from selling off the  newspaper’s assets.

Rogoff didn’t back off those claims until Bankruptcy Court Judge Gary Spraker suggested there might be fraud involved in the failure of the state’s largest newspaper. The ADN bankruptcy is not fully settled yet, but a bankruptcy court trustee was able to get Rogoff to agree to pay $1.5 million toward settling her debts.

An Anchorage jury awarded Hopfinger almost $1 million, plus legal fees, in November after his suit against Rogoff went to trial. She was refusing to pay the money and threatening to appeal.

No appeal has been filed, and Hopfinger Monday said “I am no longer in a lawsuit with Alice Rogoff.” He would not say more. He said he signed a confidentiality agreement that forbids him from talking about the case.

By Rogoff spending standards, Maxwell was a bit player at TerraMar. Her Upper East Side New York home doubled as the official office of company, and the Post reported that “she pumped $283,420” – or about $57,000 per year – into TerraMar between 2012 and 2017, adding that “in that time, the so-called charity gave out a total of $874 in grants.”

Rogoff was throwing away more cash than that on the Dispatch News every week, but then she appeared to be playing with Monopoly money in the form of payments from estranged husband, now-former husband,  David Rubenstein. The billionaire Rubenstein is one of the richer men in the country.

Friends

How exactly Rogoff and Maxwell hooked up is unclear. Hopfinger said Rogoff described Maxwell as “a friend” who “she’d met at some Arctic conferences, including Arctic Circle.”

Rogoff helped found the “Arctic Circle” organization along former Iceland’s former President Ólafur Ragnar Grímsson, former Greenland Premier Kuupik Kleist and others.

Maxwell was a presenter at the organizations’ annual gatherings in Rekjavik in 2013 and 2014. She pitched the good works TerraMar was supposedly doing to protect the oceans.

Whether Rogoff and Maxwell knew each other in New York is unclear. Rogoff was resident in the city in the early 2000s while running “Alaska House,” an Alaska Native art gallery she liked to describe as the state’s “embassy” Outside.

It died after the state refused to spend $600,000 to keep it open.

“I did this because I thought it was really important, not just for the state in the big picture but for the sake of village life and subsistence and Native people whose livelihoods are dependent on so much of this state’s economy continuing to flourish,” Rogoff told McClatchy reporter Sean Cockerham at the time. “Well, I can’t afford to keep New York open anymore so we’re either going to close it or we’re going to find funding for it.”

It closed, and Rogoff eventually moved to Alaska where she rose to great heights, entertained many – President Barack Obama had dinner at her Campbell Lake home in 2015 – and then came crashing down. But Rogoff continues to trot the globe preaching some vision of a new Arctic in a warmer world though it is hard to tell exactly what her vision.

Maxwell, meanwhile, has gone missing. She has not been charged with any crimes. Law enforcement authorities are reported to be wanting to interview Maxwell, but can’t find her. The Telegraph, a newspaper in the United Kingdom, Monday reported she told friends in recent weeks that she planned to “totally disappear.”

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

19 replies »

  1. Rogoff is still a presence in Alaska, albeit not a public one. I spotted her a few weeks ago (in mid-July) at the Saltry restaurant in Halibut Cove, huddling next to Clem Tillion, along with the rest of his retinue over dinner there. I’m remembering her small plane crash three years ago. She seems to have attached herself to the place.

  2. Being surprised that Bill Clinton has some involvement in this is just like the people who acted surprised that the casting couch was a real thing during the pound me too movement a few short years ago. We all knew the casting couch was a real thing, and we all know way more than we should about Bill Clinton and his sexual history.

  3. It appears that Maxwell was much more involved than just “organizing” these young girls for Epstein…
    “Yet another woman has claimed that Maxwell not only recruited girls for Epstein, but took part in the sexual abuse of girls.
    Maria Farmer said in an affidavit earlier this year that she met Maxwell and Epstein at an art show when she was a graduate student in Manhattan in 1995.
    The next summer, Farmer said, both Maxwell and Epstein sexually assaulted her at the Ohio estate of Leslie Wexner, the billionaire founder of The Limited stores and Epstein’s only publicly known financial client.”
    With Maxwell’s connection to Rogoff we can only wonder about “David’s” connection to the “Lolita Express” as well?
    Birds of a feather always do seem to flock together!
    https://www.adn.com/nation-world/2019/08/12/epsteins-death-puts-spotlight-on-friend-ghislaine-maxwell/

  4. Thanks for the bio on Ghislaine. Sounded familiar in the context of Robert, which was a very interesting story when he died. Robert was very good at borrowing money for media deals – a pretty strong Ghislaine – AR nexus.

    • Bryan,
      I know you are focused on the Clintons but there appears many connections between Epstein and Trump as well…
      “Trump, meanwhile, reportedly attendedEpstein-hosted events in New York and Florida, as Epstein patronized the Mar-a-Lago Club.
      In 2002, Trump even gave a remarkable on-the-record comment about Epstein to a New York magazine journalist, calling him “terrific” and adding that he “likes beautiful women as much as I do, and many of them are on the younger side.”

      https://www.google.com/amp/s/www.vox.com/platform/amp/2019/7/9/20686347/jeffrey-epstein-trump-bill-clinton

      • Bit of a stretch huh Steve? So, you ignore the gorilla in the room (Clinton) who travelled on the “Lolitta Express”, 26+ times with underage girls, and no Secret Service? You ignore Bill as Govenor contributing cocaine to underage girls and who knows what else at the Govenor’s Mansion parties (Arkansas State Police, ‘Clinton Chronicles’)?
        Ya sure, Trump and Epstein? Haha. Take a look at Bill’s wife (Billary) and then the Don’s. Sure, Steve, whateva ya say. Always pushing the left-wing conspiracies. The problem is Democrats always accuse you of what they are guilty of. Marxism 101. I think they have a long “Hit List”.

      • Steve, with a straight face, who do you think had Epstein killed? Clinton or Trump? Should be obvious. Well, one would think. You completly ignored the Clinton’s recent and long past to paint some silly Trump nonsense. Steve, you are better than that. Aligning yourself with the Democrats mental illness?

      • Steve, you can also thank Trump for bringing the Epstein case to light. Wouldn’t hear a thing if Cankles won.

      • Trump cut Epstein off in 2004 over a business deal. They were “friends” in the sense they had money, knew the same NY people, and, as such people do, partied together.

        There’s no evidence of anything untoward in Trump’s association.

      • “How Exactly Is Alleged Sex Trafficker Jeffrey Epstein Connected to President Trump?
        Roger Stone, Trump’s former advisor, wrote in his book titled “The Clintons’ War on Women,” that once when Trump visited Epstein’s home in Florida, he later joked about the girls he saw, saying, “The swimming pool was filled with beautiful young girls. ‘How nice,’ I thought, ‘He let the neighborhood kids use his pool.’”

        https://www.google.com/amp/s/www.elle.com/culture/career-politics/amp28320376/jeffrey-epstein-president-trump-connection/

      • Steve Stine, is Google your source?
        ” A recently uncovered chain of emails sent back and forth between executives at Google the day after the 2016 presidential election prove, without a shadow of a doubt, that the search engine giant willfully meddled with the election in an attempt to throw it in favor of failed Democratic candidate Hillary Clinton.”

        “Mitchell, Granville, and Binder appeared on Nexus on July 4th as host Moore explored the idea that Google is trying to rig the 2020 elections against Donald Trump by manipulating Internet searches.

        Moore opened the program noting that Project Veritas effectively proved that Google has plans to swing the election to whoever the Democrat nominee will be. Google denies it, but the evidence seems overwhelming that Google’s public protestations are false.”

      • Bryan,
        Sorry brother.
        U know “G” is just the search engine to the media sites covering the “connection”.
        I just noticed that the “South China Morning Post” has picked up the story as well.
        Trump’s “Clinton Conspiracy” is just a way to toss a bunch of new Epstein stories in the way online.
        It seems like Acosta (Trump’s pick) was the man who granted Epstein the plea deal in 2008.
        It even was discussed during his confirmation.
        What do U know…one of the contingencies of the agreement was NO disclosure of Epstein’s accomplices?
        Go figure.
        Trump’s other friend Stone wrote about their parties in his book.
        I think he probably signed a deal as well by this time with Mueller…
        He probably has to “clam up” as well.
        Last witness Epstein is Dead…or maybe NOT?
        I feel like my whole country is a replay of “Scarface” on VHS…
        Time to take a break for the day and rewind the tape…
        Remember there is only 1 truth.

      • Steve Stine, I figured you were a little more open minded or well rounded shall we say. Bit taken back actually.

      • Bryan,
        I only said they were friends at one point…and that is true.
        Looks like Bill Clinton has Trump beat 28 to 1 in the trips on Epstein’s jet…
        I believe POTUS that he did not travel to the island on the plane.
        I guess we know that out of the 28 trips Bill took on the plane there is a chance it went “off shore”.
        Unfortunately the same impunity that protects Trump also seems to protect the Clintons.
        Classic “Catch 22” in action.

    • Mathew, looks like you are correct but you forgot to mention trump was only one to cooperate against Epstein per court records. Trump stood up for justice. Steve be careful with sources . The ones you qoate are on an agenda to muddy waters and are very dishonest as they change trumps words to fit their narrative. So flat liars they are . If I went around changing everyone’s words “ just a little” how accurate or trustworthy would it be . Those sources you utilize change his words on purpose. You are letting yourself be misled.

Leave a Reply