Around the time Band launched Teneo in June 2011, Chelsea summoned Band and his cofounder Declan Kelly to the Clinton office in Harlem. Band walked in to find Bill flanked by Chelsea and her husband, financier Marc Mezvinsky. According to Band, Chelsea said Band’s $2.5 million offer to put her dad on Teneo’s advisory board wasn’t enough. She wanted Band to give her and Mezvinsky an ownership position in Teneo. To Band, it felt like a shakedown. “I thought she was kidding or deeply sick,” he told me. Band looked across the table at Bill, but he sided with Chelsea. Band refused to give up an equity stake. The meeting ended badly. A Clinton family spokesperson denies that Chelsea asked for equity.
Over the next months, the conflict played out in Shakespearean terms, with Bill Clinton, the aging king, caught in the middle. Chelsea heard from foundation officials that Band was “hustling” donors to become Teneo clients behind Bill’s back. Band heard that she accused Band of planting a Page Six item about troubles in her marriage, which he denied. Band, meanwhile, told foundation staff that Chelsea was vastly underqualified to be in charge. He found it especially galling that Chelsea accused him of cashing in on his Clinton connections when, in his view, Chelsea benefited far more from her famous last name. He told people she got paid $1.2 million by NBC, not $600,000 as was reported. She had a driver, security, a $10 million apartment, a wedding that cost $5 million, and traveled on private planes. “Every job she received was based on her name,” Band said, still vexed. “Mine was based on my reputation, experience, and what I had done.” (A Clinton spokesperson denied Chelsea was paid $1.2 million by NBC.)
By the fall of 2011, the rivalry had turned into a war of attrition. Band looked for an advantage anywhere he could find one. The Clintons’ ties to Jeffrey Epstein and Ghislaine Maxwell provided one. Band told me he had been trying to push Epstein out of Clinton’s orbit ever since their much-discussed 2002 trip to Africa aboard Epstein’s private 727, dubbed the “Lolita Express.” Band recalled that Epstein had made a bunch of ridiculous claims on the trip, like boasting that he invented the derivatives market. Band said he had no idea about Epstein’s sex crimes back then but got enough bad vibes that he advised Clinton to end the relationship. But Clinton continued to socialize with Epstein and take his money. In 2006 Epstein donated $25,000 to the Clinton Foundation. Clinton made more than two dozen trips on Epstein’s jet around this time, Epstein’s flight logs show. In January 2003, according to Band, Clinton visited Epstein’s private Caribbean island, Little St. James. Band said it was one of the few trips he declined to go on in his time with Clinton. A Clinton spokesperson said the president had never been to the island and provided detailed travelogue entries of the period in question that did not contain a visit.
Chelsea had ties to Epstein and Maxwell, Band said; he showed me a photo of Bill and Chelsea posing with Epstein and Maxwell at the King of Morocco’s wedding. Chelsea remained friends with Maxwell for years after the press revealed Maxwell was a close associate of Epstein’s. For instance, Chelsea invited Maxwell to her 2010 wedding at the Brooke Astor estate in Rhinebeck, New York, after Epstein had pleaded guilty in Florida to procuring sex from a minor.
“Ghislaine had access to yachts and nice homes. Chelsea needed that,” Band told me.