For the better part of two decades starting in the late 1980s, Jeffrey Epstein and Donald Trump swam in the same social pool. They were neighbors in Florida. They jetted from LaGuardia to Palm Beach together. They partied at Trump’s Mar-a-Lago Club and dined at Epstein’s Manhattan mansion.
And then, in 2004, they were suddenly rivals, each angling to snag a choice Palm Beach property, an oceanfront manse called Maison de l’Amitie — the House of Friendship — that was being sold out of bankruptcy.
Before the auction, Epstein and Trump each tried to work the ref; the trustee in the case, Joseph Luzinski, recalls being lobbied by both camps.
Only one man would win.
In the wake of Epstein’s arrest last month on sex trafficking charges, many who socialized with him — including Trump — are eager to have it known that they never much liked the man, or weren’t really friends, or barely even knew him. […]