A charity connected to convicted sex offender and Harvard donor Jeffrey E. Epstein gave tens of thousands of dollars to the Hasty Pudding Institute of 1770 and a non-profit linked to a Harvard professor, according to tax filings obtained by The Crimson.
Epstein served as president of a private foundation called Gratitude America, Ltd. in 2014. Gratitude America donated $50,000 to the Hasty Pudding — an umbrella organization that includes the Hasty Pudding Club, Hasty Pudding Theatricals, and the Harvard Krokodiloes — in 2016. As recently as Wednesday afternoon, the Hasty Pudding website listed Epstein as one of its 2018 donors who have given more than $50,000.
In 2016, Gratitude America also gave $110,000 to Verse Video Education, the non-profit organization that funds English Professor Elisa F. New’s television show and digital initiative “Poetry in America.”
Gratitude America operates out of the United States Virgin Islands, where Epstein lists his permanent address. Its 2014 filings list Epstein as the president and Darren K. Indyke and Erika A. Kellerhals as the treasurer and secretary, respectively. Tax filings from 2015 to 2017 still list Indyke and Kellerhals as employees for the charity, but Richard Kahn replaces Epstein as president.
Kahn and Indyke have also worked on the boards of previous charities tied to Epstein. In addition to being Epstein’s longtime lawyer, Indyke served as vice president of Epstein’s previous foundation, the C.O.U.Q. Foundation.
Epstein, a billionaire investor, faces allegations that he ran an underage sex ring out of his Palm Beach, Fla. home from 2001 to 2006, according to a November 2018 Miami Herald investigation. The Herald identified around 80 women who say Epstein molested or sexually abused them before 2006, when a team of lawyers — including Harvard Law School Professor Emeritus Alan M. Dershowitz — struck an extraordinary plea deal with the District Attorney’s office.
The Daily Beast first reported Epstein’s connections to Gratitude America in an April 16 article. The foundation has also donated to MIT, the Crohn’s Colitis Foundation of America, and Friends of Elton John, according to its tax filings.
Kellerhals, who is listed on the tax forms as the foundation’s bookkeeper, did not respond to a request for comment.
Epstein’s lawyer also did not respond to a request for comment for this story.
Though Epstein is neither a Harvard alumnus nor a faculty member, he has given millions of dollars to Harvard over the past three decades.
Before Wednesday afternoon, the Hasty Pudding listed Epstein as a 2018 “Guardian of the Sphinx,” a designation given to its highest donors — those who have given at least $50,000.
Hasty Pudding Institute Chairman Andrew L. Farkas ’82 and other representatives from the Pudding did not respond to multiple requests for comment. Shortly after The Crimson reached out to the Pudding on Wednesday, Epstein’s name disappeared from, and an anonymous donor was added to, the 2018 donors page. Hours later, the 2018 page was replaced with a new list of 2019 donors, which does not include Epstein.
The Poetry in America website lists Gratitude America as one of the organization’s funders. The organization is both a PBS television series that first aired in 2018 and a “multi-platform digital initiative” that offers free online courses.
New declined to comment on the donation.
The Hasty Pudding and Poetry in America initiative aside, Epstein has a long history of strong financial ties to the University. He has pledged donations of up to $30 million to individual researchers and funded the construction of the building that houses Harvard Hillel, among other contributions.
Epstein also maintained an office in Cambridge for several years and forged close personal friendships with current and former faculty and administrators including Dershowitz, former University President Lawrence H. Summers, and former Dean of the Faculty of Arts and Sciences Henry Rosovsky.
—Staff writer Molly C. McCafferty can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org. Follow her on Twitter at @mollmccaff.
—Staff writer Aidan F. Ryan can be reached at email@example.com. Follow him on Twitter @AidanRyanNH.