March 11, 2003 – When the Senate Planning and Environmental Protection Committee meets at 10 a.m. on March 24 on St. Thomas, the No. 1 item on its agenda will be a Water and Power Authority minor Coastal Zone Management permit application.
It's for an undersea cable to deliver electricity to the isle of Little St. James.
Oh, make that Little St. Jeff, or so owner Jeffrey Epstein would prefer. Epstein, a New York financier with his fingers in many pies, owns the 70-acre hideaway located off St. Thomas's East End.
Epstein, 50, is the subject of a March article in the glossy magazine Vanity Fair. Writer Vicky Ward explores his business and personal dealings, some of which appear to be on the shady side of the law. Ward claims that Epstein, who makes his money at what can best be described as deal making, has only billionaires as clients.
She writes that "the usual coterie of friends and beautiful women were whisked off to Little St. James (which he tells people has been renamed Little St. Jeff) for a long weekend."
Ward describes him as a "good-looking man, resembling Ralph Lauren, with thick gray-white hair and a weathered face." She says he's charming, "but he doesn't let the charm slip into his eyes. They are steely and calculating, giving some hint at the steady whir of machinery running behind them."
According to Ward, Epstein's Upper East Side Manhattan home covers 51,000 square feet on nine floors. Its entrance hall is decorated with "row upon row of individually framed eyeballs … made for injured soldiers."
Epstein also has a 7,500-acre ranch in New Mexico and a $6.8 million house in Palm Beach, Florida.
He's also the subject of an online profile, if you want to know more. Visit New York metro.com's "Jeffrey Epstein: International Moneyman of Mystery" to access an article by Landon Thomas Jr. that appeared in New York Magazine last October.
WAPA lists the applicant for the minor permit as LSJ LLC. "LLC" in corporate parlance stands for limited liability company. "LSJ" easily translates to Little St. James — or Little St. Jeff, as the case may be.
Authority spokeswoman Patricia Blake Simmonds said LSJ will bear the cost of the submarine cable connection. She said the dollar amount won't be known until the project is well under way. She did not know the length of the submarine cable involved.
Simmonds said it's WAPA's policy to charge customers for installation if their property lies more than 150 feet away from the utility's electrical distribution system.
Colette Monroe, chief researcher for Sen. Louis P. Hill, said the cable will run from Red Hook to the windward side of Little St. James.
Blake Simmonds said WAPA now supplies electricity to St. Thomas, St. Croix, St. John, Water Island and Hassel Island.
St. Croix, St. John meetings also scheduled
The March 24 meeting will be the second of three in a series by the Planning and Environmental Protection Committee, chaired by Hill. The first is scheduled for 10 a.m. March 17 at the Legislature Building in Frederiksted on St. Croix.
Seaborne Airlines' request for a CZM permit to construct a floating platform of 25 by 40 feet at the Ann Abramson Marine Facility in Frederiksted tops the agenda for that meeting. The company plans to occupy 1,000 square feet of submerged land, according to the application.
Seaborne's chief marketing officer, Omer ErSelcuk, said the company plans to serve Frederiksted eventually but will not discontinue service to and from Christiansted.
Also at the March 17 hearing, Sonya Nelthropp of the Public Works Department will update the committee on wastewater treatment facilities on St. Croix.
For the March 24 meeting on St. Thomas, the committee's agenda also includes a request from Per Dohm to renew a major CZM permit for his Red Hook Marina Inc. Dohm has for decades operated Dohm's Water Taxi.
The permit covers a 216-foot dock as well as 10,000 square feet of mooring area, a one-story building of 410 square feet, a shed of 128 square feet, and occupancy of 0.9 acre at Estate Nazareth. Dohm also wants approval to replace 22 pilings on the dock.
"They're deteriorated from storms and age," his wife, Lynn Dohm, said on Tuesday.
Nelthropp also is to testify at the St. Thomas meeting, providing information about the administration's proposed V.I. Waste Management Authority.
The committee's third meeting in the series is set for 10 a.m. March 28 at the Legislature Building on St. John.
An application by J. Donald Sussman for a minor CZM permit to build a 35-foot dock in Great Cruz Bay is the first item on the agenda. Sussman hopes to occupy 900 square feet of submerged land.
Also on the St. John agenda: The Westin Resort has applied for a permit to install a water intake pipe in Great Cruz Bay for its desalinization plant and to occupy 666 square feet of submerged land. Monroe said the Westin wants to replace an existing line 6 inches in diameter with one 8 inches wide, "to improve the quality of the water."
And Daisy and Ron Klecan want to renew their CZM permit for a 70-foot dock at Lovango Cay. The dock occupies 890 square feet of submerged land.
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