PALM BEACH DIARIES
The Family That Worked for Jeffrey Epstein—and a Trump
Jeffrey Epstein and President Trump’s first ex-wife moved in the same glittering Palm Beach social circles—and hired members of the same family as employees.
Jeffrey Epstein and the Trumps didn't just share the same rarefied air of Palm Beach society; the multimillionaire sex offender and at least one member of the Trump clan hired employees from the same family, too.
While Janusz Banasiak served as Epstein's Palm Beach house manager, his wife and stepdaughter snagged jobs with another famous face in town: President Trump’s former wife Ivana, The Daily Beast has learned.
As Epstein’s butler for more than a decade, Banasiak testified that he lived in a staff house attached to the financier’s waterfront property, answered the door for girls who gave Epstein “massages,” and kept wads of cash to hand them on their way out.
His spouse, Rodica “Ofelia” Banasiak, is also linked to Epstein’s El Brillo Way mansion through addresses on her driver’s license and previous voter registration records. As recently as October 2015, a traffic citation for Ofelia listed Epstein’s estate as her place of residence.
Ofelia found long-term employment working for Ivana Trump until the socialite sold her Palm Beach home in 2014. That year, Ofelia’s 25-year-old daughter, a law student at Columbia University, landed a summer job with Ivana, too. (An online résumé for the daughter, which was found on the website sydex.net, includes a job with “Mrs. Ivana Trump” from May 2014 to July 2014.)
Gary Lyman, a lawyer for Ivana, told The Daily Beast that the student, who is from Romania, was tasked with helping Ivana pack her things for the move.
“The connection was the mom—her mom worked for Ivana,” Lyman said, adding that Ofelia’s “husband was the guy who worked for Epstein.”
It’s unclear if Epstein played a role in Ofelia’s employment with the Trumps. Ivana declined to answer further questions left with Lyman, and Ofelia and Banasiak declined to comment.
Still, the ties between the Trumps and Epstein run deep. (As The Daily Beast reported, Epstein was also linked to former President Clinton and his family, visiting the White House and donating to the Clinton Foundation.)
Ivana Trump's name was registered in Epstein’s infamous Little Black Book, which also contains numbers for President Trump and daughter Ivanka, now-first lady Melania, and Trump’s younger brother, Robert, and his ex-wife Blaine.
“I’ve known Jeff for 15 years. Terrific guy,” Trump told New York in 2002. “He’s a lot of fun to be with. It is even said that he likes beautiful women as much as I do, and many of them are on the younger side. No doubt about it—Jeffrey enjoys his social life.”
In the 1980s and ’90s, Trump and Epstein enjoyed that social life together until, as Trump claims, they had a falling-out. “The reason doesn’t make any difference, frankly,” Trump told reporters, days after Epstein’s arrest for child sex-trafficking. “But I haven’t spoken to him in probably 15 years or more. I wasn’t a big fan of Jeffrey Epstein, that I can tell you.”
Epstein’s brother, Mark, has claimed Trump flew on Jeffrey’s plane “numerous times” and that the two “were good friends.” According to another report, in 1992, Trump threw a "calendar girl" party at Mar-a-Lago solely for himself, Epstein and 28 young women.
The reality star often dropped in on the creepy financier's mansion, according to the 2009 deposition of former Epstein staffer Juan Alessi.
Trump “would come, have dinner," Alessi testified as part of one victim's civil case against Epstein. "He never sat at the table. He eat with me in the kitchen.”
“Did he ever have massages while he was there?” Katherine Ezell, a lawyer for the victim, asked Alessi of Trump.
“No. Because he's got his own spa,” Alessi answered.
Trump barred Epstein from Mar-a-Lago after Florida cops filed charges against him, one Trump Organization attorney told the Washington Post. Brad Edwards, an attorney for multiple Epstein victims, has also previously mentioned the supposed ban.
In a 2010 affidavit, Edwards said he intended to take Trump’s deposition as he battled a lawsuit Epstein had filed against him. “I learned through a source that Trump banned Epstein… because Epstein sexually assaulted an underage girl at the club,” Edwards stated in the court filing.
In the same pleading, Edwards named Banasiak as one of several employees that Epstein paid attorneys to represent in the face of a federal criminal probe and stream of civil suits filed by victims.
Banasiak, 66, started working for Epstein in February 2005—one month before Palm Beach police launched their investigation into the perverted hedge-funder’s sexual abuse of underage girls.
The butler said he entered Epstein's employ shortly after a Maryland staffing agency notified him of a job opening in Florida, according to a 2010 deposition taken in one victim's lawsuit.
Banasiak’s testimony took place during Epstein’s house arrest, following the financier’s 2008 conviction in Florida for soliciting minors for prostitution.
A Polish national who moved to the U.S. in 1980, Banasiak said he previously worked for a Manhattan family and ran a conference center for the Seagram’s beverage company.
Ghislaine Maxwell, Epstein's alleged madam, was the first to interview Banasiak for the job. In December 2004, Banasiak met Maxwell in her Manhattan apartment, before visiting with Epstein at his Madison Avenue office.
Banasiak said he flew his belongings down to Florida on Epstein's private jet. And once he arrived in Palm Beach, he moved into a staff house on Epstein’s waterfront property. (Property records indicate Banasiak purchased a $601,368 home in West Palm Beach in 2014.)
Asked about the extent of Maxwell’s and Epstein’s relationship, Banasiak said, “They were like partners in business.”
“I don't know what kind of business but she was the one who organized I would say employment with this organization. So, whatever I need, if I have some kind of problem, I contact her,” Banasiak testified. He said when Maxwell wasn’t in Florida, he’d phone her in New York for instructions instead of speaking to Epstein directly.
Banasiak said he was told a few years later to report to Nadia Marcinkova—one of Epstein’s alleged co-conspirators who is accused of participating in sex with underage victims in Florida.
It wasn’t long into the butler’s employment when he observed young women visiting the home. Epstein’s assistants Sarah Kellen and Adriana Ross, two more alleged accomplices, told Banasiak what times girls would come over to give Epstein massages.
“I notice that those young women were coming for massage. And most of the time I opened the door for them and let them in,” Banasiak testified.
Banasiak said he didn’t know there was anything illegal about Epstein’s massages until police executed a search warrant in October 2005. “Before that I didn't know anything about what was going on beside the massage,” he said, adding that he was “shocked” to see police at the mansion.
A month or so before the search warrant, Ross came over with an unidentified man to haul three computers out of Epstein’s home, Banasiak said.
Epstein hired a lawyer for Banasiak, who was subpoenaed by the FBI.
Banasiak said he was concerned about the charges against Epstein but it didn’t impact his future employment because he believed Epstein didn’t realize his victims were minors.
“I assume he didn't know…. the age of those girls,” the butler said.
He said his duties involved running errands, buying groceries and flowers and collecting cash from the bank, so that he always had $2,000 on hand.
He answered the door for the young women and led them inside and sometimes paid them after the massages were over. On other occasions, he said, Ross or Kellen would call while Epstein was gone and inform Banasiak a girl was coming over to collect money.
When Epstein was on “work release,” Banasiak said, he gave the inmate rides to the Florida Science Foundation and back to jail.
At one point, Banasiak said, he rented a vehicle in his own name for one young masseuse at the behest of Kellen. Authorities later identified this woman as one of Epstein’s victims.
Banasiak also said modeling agent Jean-Luc Brunel would stay at the home and was comfortable enough to cook in Epstein’s kitchen and swim in his pool, and that sometimes he’d give Brunel rides to and from the airport.
When attorney Brad Edwards asked, “Given that you observed these young females and different females coming to the house, with great frequency, at some point… did you ever think, hey, this is unusual, this is unusual behavior?”
“Well, you know, I didn’t question anything. It’s not my job,” Banasiak replied.
“It’s not your job?” Edwards asked.
“Not my job,” Banasiak said, adding, “I just do my job” and when someone “shows up” to Epstein’s home it’s “not to [sic] me to question.”
On LinkedIn, Banasiak says he’s the “property manager” for Neptune LLC, a company associated with Epstein. (That Virgin Islands company was one of several Epstein corporations that donated $5,200 to New Mexico gubernatorial candidate Gary King.)
Marriage records show he wed Ofelia, his second wife, in August 2011.
While he purchased a West Palm Beach home with her in 2014, his stepdaughter's listed address in public records is Epstein's El Brillo Way residence.
Earlier this year, the stepdaughter was sued for a car accident that occurred in Palm Beach County in March 2015. Janusz Banasiak, as owner of the vehicle his stepdaughter was driving, is also named as a defendant in the lawsuit.
A summons in the case, addressed to the young woman, names her place of residence as Epstein’s El Brillo Way mansion. (A crash report from the Florida Department of Highway Safety and Motor Vehicles also lists the woman’s address at Epstein’s home.)
According to court filings, the plaintiff's lawyers had trouble locating Banasiak to serve the suit, which is pending. “Plaintiff has made a diligent search, on multiple dates and at multiple addresses, to serve Banasiak, but has been unable to do so,” one August 2019 pleading stated. “Plaintiff has a good-faith reason to believe that Banasiak is evading service.”
While Banasiak has no other public social media presence, his wife and stepdaughter have frequently posted photos of their travels together, including jaunts to Paris, St. Tropez and the Hamptons this summer.
Ofelia's daughter has also posted Instagram photos of herself at a Trump World Tower apartment in 2016 and at The World Bar at the high-rise in 2018.
On July 4, two days before Epstein’s arrest, Ofelia shared a video of the Rocky Mountains from a plane. Throughout the month of July, Ofelia posted scenic photos of Gunnison, Colorado, where Epstein's close friends Glenn and Eva Dubin own a ranch.
The Dubins’ longtime chef, Emily Womac, commented with a heart emoji on Ofelia's July 21 photo at the Ouray Hot Springs, and Ofelia responded in kind.
Womac, who declined to comment when reached by The Daily Beast, was also sharing photos of her meals made with Colorado produce.
The Dubin family declined to comment on whether they know Ofelia and if she works for them, or why she might have been posting from what appeared to be their private ranch.