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New Resort Planned for Former Epstein Islands

Little St. James is located off of St. John’s southwest shore.

Well folks, I didn’t see this one coming.

Forbes magazine was the first to announce yesterday that Little St. James and Great St. James – two islands owned by Jeffrey Epstein – have sold to Peter Bay resident Stephen Deckoff for $60 million. Mr. Deckoff plans to develop a 25-room luxury resort on the island.

Mr. Deckoff is the founder of Black Diamond Capital Management. He has lived on St. John for over a decade and is one of the island’s most philanthropic residents. He told Forbes magazine that he had never met Epstein and that he had never been to either of the islands until they were listed for sale following Epstein’s death.

“I’ve been proud to call the U.S. Virgin Islands home for more than a decade and am tremendously pleased to be able to bring the area a world-class destination benefitting its natural grace and beauty,” Mr. Deckoff told Forbes. “I very much look forward to working with the U.S. Virgin Islands to make this dream a reality.”

Both Little St. James and Great St. James are located off of St. John’s southwest shore. They are located between St. John and St. Thomas. Epstein bought Little St. James for $8 million in 1998. He bought Great St. James, which remains largely undeveloped, for $22.5 million in 2016.

Epstein received generous tax benefits while operating his businesses in the Virgin Islands. His estate agreed to pay $105 million to the USVI after our attorney general sued the estate in 2020, claiming the government was duped into granting Epstein’s company tax benefits. That settlement grants the USVI government half the proceeds from the sale of the islands, which will be put into a trust to provide counseling and other services for victims of sexual abuse.

Want to see what the island looks like? Here’s a quick video I took near Little St. James back in December:


Looking to take a St. John island tour?

Learn more here –> Full & half days available. Rated “Excellent” on TripAdvisor.

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  1. Gina

    I’m happy something is being done and hope it can diminish the “pedophile island” nickname. I’m concerned about the impact on available workers though. Currently there appears to be a lack of staff at resorts; resorts competing for bodies to fill postions. Especially true on St John bc of limited availability of affordable housing.

  2. Karen

    Where is the permit to build the resort? It’s been approved already? Or did Epstein already have permits?

    There is a limit as to how much land the NPS can acquire. I read that years ago, and an attorney reminded me of it the other day. Will look for the document in the near future.

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