Fact Check: Synagogue Tunnels Discovered In NYC Are NOT Connected To Jeffrey Epstein Mansion

Fact Check

  • by: Ed Payne
Fact Check: Synagogue Tunnels Discovered In NYC Are NOT Connected To Jeffrey Epstein Mansion Too Far Away

Were the tunnels discovered under a Brooklyn synagogue in early January 2024 connected to the former mansion of convicted sex offender Jeffrey Epstein? No, that's not true: the New York City Department of Buildings stated that there's only a single 60 feet long tunnel under the facility, not nearly long enough to connect to the former Epstein property almost nine miles away. Any tunnel connecting to Epstein's Manhattan mansion from the Brooklyn location would have to burrow under the East River and avoid multiple major subway tunnels and buried sewer, water, gas and electrical lines and the basements and footings under major buildings.

The claim appeared as a post and video (archived here) published on Instagram by "this_world_is_a_lie" on January 15, 2024, under the title "THE TUNNELS - A LAND DOWN UNDER." The post's caption said:

The jewish tunnels are all connected to jeffrey epstein mansion in New York

. . . . . . .

We need public hanging's for pedos

This is what the post looked like on Instagram at the time of writing:


(Source: Instagram screenshot taken on Tue Jan 18 15:29:51 2024 UTC)

The tunnel

The tunnel came to light during an incident at Chabad Lubavitch World Headquarters, a historic synagogue in Brooklyn. A conflict within the Orthodox Jewish movement arose over an unauthorized tunnel dug under the facility in the Crown Heights neighborhood. The 39-second video, included in the Instagram post, captures the scene at the synagogue on January 8, 2024.

A police report provided to Lead Stories on January 11, 2024, reveals that officers of the New York Police Department (NYPD) arrested nine people and took three others into custody during the dispute.

The investigation

The Department of Buildings (DOB) investigated the unpermitted excavation work at the synagogue and provided its findings in a January 10, 2024, email to Lead Stories from the department's press secretary, Andrew Rudansky. It said:

  • Our investigation has found that a single linear underground tunnel (approximately 60 feet long, 8 feet wide and with a ceiling height of 5 feet) had been illegally excavated underneath a single-story extension located directly behind the four-story buildings at 784 Eastern Parkway and 786 Eastern Parkway, Brooklyn.
  • This single-story extension, located directly above the underground tunnel, connects four neighboring buildings (784 Eastern Parkway, 786 Eastern Parkway, the 2-story building at 302 Kingston Avenue and a single story-extension located directly behind 1457 Union Street) through on the ground level.
  • The underground tunnel was constructed without approval and permits from DOB. The tunnel was found to have inadequate rudimentary shoring in place, and wall openings had been created in several areas of the adjacent buildings at the basement levels.
  • The tunnel was found to be empty other than dirt, tools and debris from workers.

Tunnel too short

The DOB investigation puts the tunnel's length at about 60 feet, not nearly long enough to make it to Epstein's former home (archived here) on New York's Upper East Side at 9 East 71st Street. Google Maps (archived here) puts the walking distance between the Chabad Lubavitch World Headquarters and the mansion at more than eight miles. A screenshot of the map appears below:


(Source: Google Maps screenshot taken on Tue Jan 18 16:54:21 2024 UTC)

Epstein's record

Epstein died in 2019 awaiting trial on charges of sex trafficking minors. He pleaded guilty in 2008 to charges of soliciting an underage victim in Florida and was required to register as a sex offender.

Read more

Another Lead Stories fact check debunked a claim of human trafficking purportedly linked to the tunnel at the synagogue.

Other Lead Stories fact checks mentioning Epstein can be found here.

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  Ed Payne

Ed Payne is a staff writer at Lead Stories. He is an Emmy Award-winning journalist as part of CNN’s coverage of 9/11. Ed worked at CNN for nearly 24 years with the CNN Radio Network and CNN Digital. Most recently, he was a Digital Senior Producer for Gray Television’s Digital Content Center, the company’s digital news hub for 100+ TV stations. Ed also worked as a writer and editor for WebMD. In addition to his journalistic endeavors, Ed is the author of two children’s book series: “The Daily Rounds of a Hound” and “Vail’s Tales.” 

Read more about or contact Ed Payne

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