Registered sex offender Jeffrey Epstein and Harvey Weinstein were part of a group that made a failed $55 million attempt to buy New York Magazine in the 2000s

jeffrey epsteinJeffrey Epstein is seen in Cambridge, Massachusetts in 2004.Rick Friedman/Rick Friedman Photography/Corbis via Getty

Jeffrey Epstein, the financier charged with sex trafficking, made his fortune managing the fortunes of billionaires. But in 2003 and 2004, during the same time prosecutors say he was paying underage girls for sex, Epstein also tried to establish himself as a media mogul - twice.

Epstein, now 66, was part of a group that made an unsuccessful bid to purchase New York Magazine in 2003, The New York Times reported at the time. Former advertising executive Donny Deutsch, investor Nelson Peltz, U.S. News & World Report owner Mortimer Zuckerman, and Harvey Weinstein were also members of that group.

According to The New York Times, the group bid $55 million for the magazine, but investment banker Bruce Wasserstein outbid them by $10 million. The group, led by Zuckerman, blamed their loss on the rules of the auction.

"We made it clear that we were willing to put more money on the table,'' Zuckerman told The New York Times in 2003, ''but after they had a handshake, they were not willing to entertain other offers.''

The New York Times wrote that the motives behind the bid were "ego, power and cachet."

And that was not Epstein's only attempt to enter the media business. In 2004, Epstein and Zuckerman invested $25 million in pop-culture focused Radar Magazine, according to The New York Times. Epstein and Zuckerman became equal partners in the company. Radar's founder and editor-in-chief Maer Roshan kept a minority stake. The trio told The New York Times that they thought the magazine would appeal to trendy urban singles.

"I always focus on the potential downside of an investment," Epstein told The New York Times in 2004, "and I don't think this is something that is going to lose money."

Read more: How Jeffrey Epstein, the mysterious hedge-fund manager arrested on sex-trafficking charges, made his fortune

Under their leadership, the celebrity news magazine went from publishing in print bi-monthly to every month but continued to struggle. Radar stopped publishing a print magazine in 2008. That same year, Radar was sold to American Media, Inc., which still publishes an online edition.

Epstein made most of his fortune as a hedge-fund manager, Business Insider previously reported. After spending a decade at Bear Sterns, he launched his own investment firm that he claimed only catered to billionaires. L Brands CEO Les Wexner was his only confirmed client.

Epstein was arrested on charges of sex trafficking in New Jersey on July 6, and pleaded not guilty on July 8. Prosecutors said that, from 2002 to 2005, Epstein lured girls as young as 14 into his homes and paid them for massages that became increasingly sexual in nature. Business Insider previously reported that Epstein served 13 months in prison after confessing to felony sexual solicitation of underage girls.

In March 2018, Business Insider reported that New York Police charged Weinstein with rape, criminal sex conduct act, sex abuse, and sexual misconduct against two women, following over 70 accusations of sexual misconduct.

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