Is Jeffrey Epstein associate Ghislaine Maxwell in Massachusetts?
MANCHESTER-BY-THE-SEA — A crush of TV news trucks and curious onlookers Wednesday flocked to this affluent town north of Boston after the Daily Mail reported that Ghislaine Maxwell, longtime confidante of the late Jeffrey Epstein, has been living here amid the swirling controversy surrounding the deceased financier’s alleged trafficking of underage girls.
The British publication reported that Maxwell had been living at a property on Summer Street owned by Maxwell’s boyfriend, Scott Borgerson, a tech CEO. The newspaper said it saw Borgerson in July running errands in the town and later walking Maxwell’s dog on Boston Common.
On Wednesday afternoon, a number of media trucks were parked across the street from the gravel driveway leading up to the estate where Maxwell was believed to be staying, and a number of locals came by to check things out after word spread that she might be there.
“It’s disconcerting if they truly do live here,” said Lily Narusevicius, a doctor and Manchester-by-the-Sea resident.
Todd J. Fitzgerald, the town’s interim police chief, would not confirm that Maxwell was staying at the Summer Street property but did say the owner had called and requested extra patrols because of the media attention.
Borgerson also owns property in Boston.
There was no answer Wednesday afternoon at a stately Beacon Hill apartment listed in Borgerson’s name. The front door of the building bore a sign that said, “These Premises Protected By Electronic Alarm System Wired Directly to Police.”
A call to a number listed for Borgerson went immediately to a busy signal Wednesday. A message left at Borgerson’s company was not immediately returned.
Epstein was found dead Saturday in his jail cell at a federal detention facility in Manhattan, where he was being held on charges of sex trafficking. He had been previously convicted in Florida state court of soliciting minors for prostitution.
Maxwell is seen as a possible target of federal prosecutors in the Southern District of New York who continue to investigate Epstein’s activities. Maxwell has denied wrongdoing. Legal experts told USA Today that prosecutors will face an uphill battle if they try to charge Maxwell or others.
Calls to several numbers listed for Maxwell weren’t immediately returned Wednesday afternoon.
The Associated Press reported Wednesday that a woman had sued Maxwell and three unnamed members of Epstein’s staff. Jennifer Araoz alleges that Epstein forcibly raped her when she was a teenager in 2002. Araoz’s civil action is the first of many lawsuits expected to be filed by Epstein’s accusers as a New York law went into effect Wednesday that opens up a one-year window for victims of long-ago sex crimes to take legal action, the AP reported.
Maxwell’s publicist and lawyers did not immediately respond to e-mails from the AP seeking comment. She has previously denied wrongdoing.
Manchester residents interviewed around town were dismayed that Maxwell is reportedly living in town.
“It’s shocking,” said Joanne Hadaegh, 56.
“It’s down the bottom of our street,” she said of the proximity of Borgerson’s home to her home on Hickory Hill Road.
Another resident, Vivek Menon, 39, said he didn’t want to jump to any conclusions. He described the neighborhood as “close-knit, families with children, people who care about living in a beautiful location.”
Of Epstein’s death, Menon said, “It’s frustrating that we’ll never get the full truth of what happened.”
At Crosby’s Marketplace, Rob Pepper, 56, works in the produce section and has lived in town his whole life. He said it is not uncommon for people to go unnoticed.
“You could easily live in someone’s home here and not be seen,” he said.
John Billert, 30, another produce worker, noted Maxwell may be keeping a low profile on purpose and said regarding the allegations Maxwell faces, “With something that serious, you’re probably not gallivanting around town meeting people.”
Business Insider reported that Borgerson told them that Maxwell was not staying at the house, referring to her as a “former friend.”
Borgerson is listed as the owner of a five-bedroom Colonial home on Summer Street in Manchester-by-the-Sea, according to town building permit records from 2018. Assessing records show that the home has seven bathrooms and the property was last assessed at $2.9 million. The listing on Realtor.com states that the home has “spectacular views” and is “truly a magnificent one of a kind property situated in a sought after private enclave.”
Borgerson is the cofounder and CEO of CargoMetrics, a Boston-based firm that tracks seaborne cargoes and vessels all over the world.
He is currently one of approximately 5,000 members of the Council on Foreign Relations. According to his bio on the Council on Foreign Relations website, Borgerson earned his bachelor’s degree from the US Coast Guard Academy as well as a master’s degree and PhD in international relations from the Tufts University’s Fletcher School of Law and Diplomacy.
Epstein was charged by federal prosecutors in New York in July with sexually abusing dozens of girls between 2002 and 2005. He had been accused of similar crimes in Palm Beach, but in that case, prosecutors ended up negotiating a secret deal with Epstein’s lawyers that required him to plead guilty to just two prostitution charges in state court. He served a 13-month jail stint.
The Miami Herald, in a blockbuster investigation last year, reported that more than 80 women said they were victimized by Epstein, who once counted a number of prominent men as friends and associates, including President Trump, former President Clinton, actor Kevin Spacey, and Alan Dershowitz, the retired Harvard Law professor who served for a time as Epstein’s attorney.
Danny McDonald, Travis Andersen, Martin Finucane and Zoe Greenberg of the Globe staff contributed to this report.