SANTA FE, N.M. (KRQE) – What will become of the infamous Zorro Ranch near Santa Fe now that Jeffrey Epstein is dead? Earlier this year, an investigation by Nexstar’s KRQE uncovered a bizarre roadblock.
For years, this place was shrouded in secrecy. The billionaire behind the sprawling ranch is gone. Only Jeffrey Epstein and his accusers know the dark details of what went on there, near Stanley, New Mexico.
Records show Epstein and the Zorro trust bought the ranch from the Gary King family, then built a 33,339-square-foot mansion on the site in the ’90s. Since 1993, the Epstein trust had state lease agreements for grazing cattle on public lands near his mansion.
“To your knowledge, what was that land being used for?” KRQE’s Gabrielle Burkhart asked New Mexico State Land Commissioner, Stephanie Garcia Richard.
“One can only speculate and I have to tell you, Gabrielle, that my staff … you know this has been a difficult topic for us to tackle,” said Garcia Richard. “Thinking about what state land might have been used for has been, you know, has been difficult.”
Garcia Richard took office in 2019. That year, she canceled a decades-long lease agreement the state had with Epstein for nearly 1,300 acres of grazing land. “We want to encourage a ranching family to use it, we want to encourage rec access to the area,” Garcia Richard explained. “We’ve even talked about some type of memorial site to just recognize what young girls and women went through in this area and on state land.”
Nearly 7,600 acres of private property surround the state’s land.
“That’s a pretty big ranch,” explained Gus Martinez, Santa Fe County Assessor. “It is a remote property. The only way you can get access is really through the ranch hand, and so you can’t just really drive into that property because the gates are closed.”
KRQE requested records in Santa Fe County to verify how much land the Epstein estate still owns. Martinez was surprised to find records showing portions of the Zorro ranch had indeed changed ownership, according to a mysterious deed filed in 2020.
The Santa Fe County Assessor’s office located a deed filed with Santa Fe County in October 2020, transferring the Zorro Ranch from Epstein’s company, Cypress Inc., to Love and Bliss, a non-profit church for $200.
The listed address for Love and Bliss church is a small home in Redington Beach, Florida.
KRQE reached a representative from the Epstein estate, and asked whether the estate was aware of the Love and Bliss deed filed in New Mexico. “It’s the same people that filed a fraudulent warranty deed in Florida,” said Daniel Weiner, an attorney for the Epstein estate. “This cost the estate money and court time to get it thrown out,” he added.
It turns out Love and Bliss filed a fake deed in Florida for Epstein’s Palm Beach mansion, clouding the estate’s ability to sell the Florida property.
Since KRQE’s initial report, the Epstein estate took court action against Love and Bliss. Documents obtained by KRQE show that, in November, a default judgment was filed in Santa Fe County ordering the false deed filed by Love and Bliss canceled. The documents noted that the deed shall be stricken from the county’s property records.
Today, the nearly 8,000-acre ranch property is listed for $27.5 million, which includes multiple residences, a firehouse, horse stables, and a private airstrip and hanger.
When and if the ranch sells, the Epstein estate says funds from the sale will go toward the regular administration of the estate, including its payment of claimants, creditors and taxes as necessary.
An attorney for the Epstein estate says so far there have been several expressions of interest from potential buyers.
(Information from KRQE.com and the Nexstar Media Wire)