By CRAIG MEDRED
And so, with financier and child molester Jeffrey Epstein dead in an apparent suicide, an investigation into his sordid sex life is reported to be shifting toward Alice Rogoff’s old, Iditarod trail mate: Ghislaine Maxwell.
Yes, one of the biggest stories in the country at the moment has an Alaska connection.
“Socialite Ghislaine Maxwell dishes on icy travels” is how the New York Post’s Page Six gossip column reported the Brit’s Iditarod exploits in 2014.
“After interior decorator Geoffrey Bradfield told of a scary car crash in Pakistan, and art collector Stephanie Zuellig discussed the happy cows on her farm in Switzerland,” wrote Richard Johnson, “Maxwell — the daughter of British press baron Robert Maxwell — said she had just returned from Alaska’s Iditarod dog sled race.
“Maxwell traveled across hundreds of miles of icy wilderness to the finish line in Nome, where thousands of fans of ‘the last great race’ cheered on the mushers and their dogs.”
Unmentioned was Maxwell’s host, a one time Washington, D.C. socialite turned majority owner of AlaskaDispatch.com, an online news site.
Rogoff was at the time of the 2014 Iditarod also in negotiations to buy the Anchorage Daily News from the McClatchy Company, a California-based newspaper chain with big financial troubles that continue to this day.
Rogoff bought the newspaper not long after the Iditarod ended that year and ran it into bankruptcy by the summer of 2017. She has now largely disappeared from the Alaska scene and could not be reached for comment. But her former business partner, Tony Hopfinger, well remembers meeting Maxwell.
The AlaskaDispatch.com co-founder was Rogoff’s business partner, editor of Alaska Dispatch and for a time the editor of Rogoff’s version of ADN.com, which Rogoff renamed Alaska Dispatch News.
In a message in response to questions today, Hopfinger said he encountered Maxwell in the isolated, Bering Sea coastal village of Unalakleet, population 700, when she climbed aboard one of Rogoff’s two, $1 million Cessna 206 aircraft. Rogoff was at the time aboard plane #2 with the pilot and a Dispatch News reporting crew covering the race.
“Maxwell, Kylea (Hopfinger’s fiance), and I flew with (pilot) Paul Anderson to White Mountain,” Hopfinger said. “During the flight, Maxwell bragged about her life, everything from her nonprofit to the places she’d visited to the fact that she knew how to fly a helicopter. Kylea and I sat in the back while she talked to Paul, at times flirting with him. We listened to her and Paul on the plane’s headphones. At one point, she told Paul she learned how to fly helicopters from an ex-boyfriend who had served in the IDF (Israeli Defense Force) and Mossad,” the Israeli intelligence agency.
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