“One very important principle that is guiding that various Dioceses in Manhattan and Long Island is the fear that if the statute is reopened, and there are people who did not participate earlier and sign a release in this program, some of the allegations may resolve on the courthouse steps with a $5 million demand or a $2 million demand,” Feinberg told the upstate church leaders. “Right now, we have not paid any claim, however horrific, at more than $500,000.”
Biros, who was also on the call, indicated that — though the fund boasted of its independence and said Biros and Feinberg had “complete autonomy” in their settlement decisions — they were in touch with the church as they ran their programs.
“I just want everyone to be aware that once we take over and implement the program, it remains an open dialogue with the Diocese,” Biros said during the call, according to the transcript. “We are constantly on the phone with New York, Brooklyn and now Rockville Center. If we have any questions about the priests, the file, the claimant, they are an incredible resource to us.”
Feinberg and Biros did not respond to questions about the ABC News story.
Asked about her relationship with the Epstein estate, Feldman — the fund administrator — said she had operated independently of Epstein estate and took steps to ensure the estate was not involved in the fund, such as not giving the estate any access to claims files from alleged Epstein victims.
“I understand the skepticism, I too was initially skeptical. When I was offered the position as the administrator, the total independence of the administrator was a key thing I insisted on,” Feldman said. “I did have complete autonomy over the program, and insisted that the estate had no authority to interfere with claims decisions.”
“My credibility is why I’m hired for these programs.” Feldman added.
There was one thing, Feldman said, that she did not have autonomy over: The scope of the release signed by women who accepted settlements promising they would not sue Epstein’s estate or people he’d employed in his alleged sex trafficking ring.
The number of people who could be shielded from future lawsuits could be long. Women who accepted money would not be able to sue Maxwell, who is expected to stand trial later this year for her alleged role in Epstein’s enterprise, according to one applicant. Maxwell has been accused of helping recruit women for Epstein and, at times, participating in forced sexual encounters with them.
Other former Epstein allies could still see a windfall of cash from his estate, which estimated it contained $190 million at the end of June, but whose beneficiaries are still unknown.
A court filing by the Epstein estate after his death listed only one person — his brother Mark — as a potential beneficiary of Epstein’s money had he left no will. But Epstein had signed a will just days before he died, and it moved all of his money into a trust whose beneficiaries are secret. Two Epstein lawyers, Indyke and Kahn, are executors of the estate, and — though former acquaintances speculate over friends or former romantic partners Epstein may have wanted to reward — it’s not known who is slated to receive his money.
At the time of his death, Epstein’s wealth was staggering: He had $194,986,301 in “hedge funds and private equity investments,” $18,551,700 worth of “aviation assets, automobiles and boats,” properties in Paris, Palm Beach, New Mexico and the Virgin Islands, and his historic seven-story, 21,000 square-foot Upper East Side townhouse, valued at nearly $56 million, according to an accounting of his assets by the estate filed in probate court in the Virgin Islands. His personal property, which included artwork by Pablo Picasso and Paul Cézanne, had yet to be appraised, according to the accounting provided in court.