JEFFREY Epstein and Ghislaine Maxwell had a cabin built at a prestigious children’s arts camp after allegedly flying celebrated violinist Itzhak Perlman in for a gig.
The Sun Online can reveal the extraordinary details of how the pedophile and his girlfriend managed to have the Jeffrey Epstein Scholarship Lodge built at the Interlochen Academy of the Arts in Michigan.
The lodge on the campus of the famous boarding school has come under increased scrutiny after claims he and Maxwell used it as a base to target underage girls.
The school said it cut ties with Epstein in 2007 after his child sex conviction.
In an exclusive chat Tim Ambrose, formerly vice president of institutional advancement at Interlochen, recalled how Epstein and Maxwell would “fly in on his jet” for weekends.
He said the idea for the lodge came up after the billionaire offered to fly Israeli-American violinist Perlman up from New York to play a concert at the school in the early 1990s.
Ambrose said: “We were looking for someone to transport Itzhak Perlman.
“Epstein said: ‘I’d be happy to fly Mr Perlman on my private plane’. So he flew Mr Perlman in for his performance that day. It was very helpful.
“We have a huge outdoor theatre and over the course of a summer Interlochen will have 40-50 performances by people like Perlman, Yo-Yo Ma, Natalie Cole, the Beach Boys, very big names.
“Jeffrey and Ghislaine flew in as well for the concert.”
Epstein’s extravagant favour for the musician proved to be a catalyst for discussions about building a cabin on campus.
The world-renowned violinist contracted polio as a child and gets around with the aid of crutches or a scooter.
Ambrose told The Sun Online: “We did not have a suitable facility for Mr Perlman to stay at that was handicap accessible.
“Epstein said he was interested in helping build a place for people to stay when they are on campus.
“I got an architect and had them draw some plans, but I got a call from Jeffrey and he said: ‘I don’t want that’.
“He said: ‘I want to build a log cabin and I want it all handicap accessible so when Mr Perlman comes he is comfortable.
“‘I want a walk-in tub, I want countertops that are handicap accessible’. So, I got an architect and we came up with something.”
Epstein approved of the new design and sent a cheque for up to £313,000 for it to be built.
Perlman, 75, then stayed at the lodge “many times” when he came to perform at the school throughout the 1990s, Ambrose said.
The violinist was one of many rich and famous names listed in Epstein’s Little Black Book but has never been accused of or associated with any of Epstein’s wrongdoing.
He wasn’t widely known as an associate of Epstein until his name came up in a documentary last month where it was claimed he was one of six men invited to the billionaire’s 40th bash.
Asked how many times he remembered Epstein and Maxwell coming, Ambrose said: “I probably remember three maybe four times altogether.
“A couple of times before the cabin was built and then maybe twice afterwards, in the summertime.
“They would fly in on his jet, spend the weekend and then usually leave on Sunday morning.”
The fundraising executive recalled how all correspondence regarding the cabin went through Maxwell.
He added: “When I made decisions about the cabin, I always had to go through Ghislaine to get to Jeffrey, she was his gatekeeper, his major domo.
“My sense she was like his lieutenant, she would screen his calls, she would do his bidding, take care of business and basically do whatever Jeffrey asked.
“She was an integral part of the process, very business-like, very matter of fact, a little bit stiff.
“I never saw her lose her temper but she was firm and very demanding in terms of what Jeffrey wanted and how he wanted it, there was no equivocation with her.
“She had an air about her that commanded attention, it made you want to get it right for him, you didn’t want to make her angry.”
Asked if he thinks it’s possible students were abused in the Epstein lodge, Ambrose said: “I would think not, but again how would you know right?”
Ambrose said Epstein first got in touch with Interlochen’s alumni association in 1990 and was soon hosting fundraisers for the school at his opulent Madison Avenue office in New York.
He donated hundreds of thousands of dollars to Interlochen between 1990 and 2003 – bankrolling the construction of the Epstein Lodge in 1994.
A school newsletter article from the time said the lodge was located near a ‘Junior Girls Camp’ on the campus.
Ambrose said Epstein and Maxwell would stay in it when they visited to watch performances in summer, when the boarding school becomes a six-week arts camp for children aged 8-18.
He explained Interlochen felt indebted to Epstein after he paid for the cabin.
Interlochen was listed as ‘Michigan Home’ and ‘Epstein Lodge’ in the financier's famous Little Black Book.
It is one of America's most expensive private schools.
Since Epstein’s arrest and then suicide in custody last year – two former students have alleged they were groomed on Interlochen’s campus while attending summer camp there.
One, a Californian woman identified as Jane Doe in a lawsuit filed in January, said she was a 13-year-old camper when she was first approached by Epstein and Maxwell in 1994.
The court papers also claim Epstein introduced her to Donald Trump when she was 14 years old and said: ‘This is a good one, right?’ to which the president ‘smiled and nodded in agreement’.
The allegations in Doe’s lawsuit are similar to those in Maxwell’s criminal indictment which says in 1994, Maxwell and Epstein took a minor “to the movies and on shopping trips”.
They arranged her travel to New York and Florida, where she was abused by Epstein and Maxwell, prosecutors say.
In a court filing last week the US Justice Department requested Jane Doe’s lawsuit be immediately stayed because of a “factual overlap between the civil and criminal cases”.
The case has now been postponed until Maxwell's criminal proceedings are completed.
South African cellist Melissa Solomon, also told a podcast last year how she was allegedly approached by the couple at a wishing well on campus aged 14 in 1997.
Ms Solomon claims she spent six years in Epstein and Maxwell’s orbit but was not abused by them.
Instead Epstein paid for her tuition at Interlochen and then at Juilliard school in New York before they fell out when she refused to recruit fellow students.
She also says she declined a meeting Maxwell had set up for her with Prince Andrew. Prince Andrew has denied all wrongdoing associated with Epstein and Maxwell.
Ambrose, who worked at Interlochen from 1990 to 2000, claims no one was aware Epstein and Maxwell were approaching students while on campus.
He said: “Oh heaven’s no, if we knew anything or even had an inkling, he would not have been welcome back.”
Ambrose added: “I feel really duped. I feel hurt, we certainly wouldn’t have accepted any contribution knowing anything about him that we know now.
“It’s unbelievable and so sad and really tragic.”
Today Interlochen’s website says: “Interlochen takes the safety of students very seriously… Interlochen employs numerous security and safety professionals, many of whom have law enforcement experience.”
The academy has previously said Epstein was permitted to use the lodge for up to two weeks per year but its only record of him staying at the lodge was for a week in August 2000.
In a message to parents on its website current president Trey Davey, said: “We have no record of any complaint ever made about Epstein at Interlochen.
“It was and remains our policy that he would not have been permitted unsupervised access to students.”
The cabin was renamed the Green Lake Lodge and is still available to rent.
Maxwell has denied any involvement in Epstein’s sex trafficking and has pleaded not guilty to four criminal charges related to child sex trafficking and two counts of perjury.
Her trial is set for July 2021.
The Sun Online has contacted Itzhak Perlman and the Interlochen Academy of the Arts for comment.
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