By Matt Bruce
From The Atlanta Journal-Constitution
ATLANTA—Deceased millionaire Jeffrey Epstein became infamous for an alleged pedophilia ring enabled by his fleet of private planes.
Just weeks before he was arrested for sex trafficking underage girls in 2019, he sent one of his luxury jets to Georgia.
The tycoon showed off his Gulfstream G-IV to Thomas Huff, a Cobb County aviator interested in buying JEGE, Epstein’s charter jet company.
Huff liked the luxury plane, the company’s flagship, and Epstein sold him controlling interest in JEGE in June 2019.
But according to a recently filed lawsuit, Epstein never disclosed that the company could be undermined by his sexual misdeeds. Huff is now suing the late hedge fund magnate’s estate in federal court. He’s being represented by Kennesaw attorney Jeff Banks.
The suit claims JEGE is still haunted by the “stigma of Jeffrey Epstein” and the company’s assets plummeted more than $1.5 million immediately after Epstein’s alleged underage sex ring made front-page headlines.
Less than a month after selling the business to Huff, federal investigators raided Epstein’s Manhattan mansion and arrested the financier on allegations that he preyed on dozens of girls as young as 14.
According to his indictment, Epstein gave the underage girls money to have sex with him at his New York City mansion and Palm Beach, Florida, estate from 2002 to 2005. Investigators contend he paid several of his victims to recruit more girls and “worked with several employees and associates to ensure that he had a steady supply of minor victims to abuse.”
Epstein died from an apparent suicide Aug. 10, 2019, while awaiting trial inside a federal jail cell in Manhattan. He was 66.
Huff’s complaint, filed Oct. 20 in a U.S. District Court in Atlanta, alleges a “breach of fiduciary duty,” claiming Epstein failed to disclose the “egregious and atrocious crimes against children” he committed while he ran JEGE. The company’s reputation was ruined from the fallout of Epstein’s “massive criminal enterprise involving rape, sex trafficking, sexual abuse, physical assault, blackmail, intimidation, fraud and deceit,” the suit goes on the allege.
The civil filing lists Darren Indyke and Richard Kahn, co-executors of Epstein’s estate, as defendants. Indyke was Epstein’s longtime attorney and Kahn was his accountant. The two have been described in media reports as “indispensable captains” of Epstein’s sex trafficking operation, allegations they have both denied.
JEGE, now based in Powder Springs, Georgia, offers traveling VIPs fractional ownership and charter flights on a Gulfstream G-IV luxury jet. For years, the company was headquartered in the Virgin Islands with Epstein as its managing partner and sole member.
When he brokered the deal with Huff, Epstein was already a sex offender, convicted of child prostitution in Florida in 2008. But Huff in his lawsuit said many of the allegations against Epstein that surfaced subsequently weren’t public at the time.
JEGE chartered many well-known public figures, according to the lawsuit, which didn’t list any of its customers by name.
Epstein’s estate, reportedly worth more than $600 million when he died, included a luxury fleet of three private jets. The Gulfstream G-IV was among the planes that reportedly transported some of the world’s richest and most powerful passengers.
Another of Epstein’s aircraft, a 1969 Boeing 727, was notoriously nicknamed the “Lolita Express.” It reportedly flew underage girls to Epstein’s private stretch of the Virgin Islands. The Boeing plane, however, is owned by a Delaware company.
Huff, a former Navy test pilot, was in 2012 named the first aviation safety officer for Gulfstream Aerospace, the Savannah-based corporation that manufactures the G-IV.
JEGE had more than $3.5 million in assets when Huff purchased it, according to his complaint. Its value quickly depreciated more than $1.5 million after Epstein’s 2019 arrest.
Company officials can’t even get financing “because of the stigma of Jeffrey Epstein’s victimization of children attached to JEGE,” the lawsuit claims.
Huff said he contacted Epstein’s attorneys to terminate the purchase contract. Epstein rejected it, according to the lawsuit.
Huff, who argued he would not have bought JEGE if he knew about Epstein’s acts, is now seeking compensatory damages from the late financier’s estate for the loss of value.
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