New Albany billionaire Leslie H. Wexner on Jeffrey Epstein list
Jeffrey Epstein was a longtime financial adviser and business partner with New Albany billionaire Leslie H. Wexner, founder of L Brands, a onetime retail empire that included Victoria’s Secret, Bath & Body Works and other famous brands.
So it was no surprise that Wexner’s name appeared on a list of names of Epstein associates that were redacted from a 2015 civil lawsuit filed by Virginia Giuffre, who accused Epstein and partner Ghislaine Maxwell of directing her sexual involvement with prominent men. The case was settled in 2017. Last month, U.S. District Judge Loretta Preska of the Southern District of New York ordered the list of names be released because there was no longer a need for them to remain hidden.
Wexner’s name is mentioned on the list and several times in the documents released Wednesday evening, but neither he nor any of the figures whose names are mentioned in the released files have been charged with any crime. Their inclusion on the list only constitutes a possible association as a witness, victim, plaintiff, or having business or social contact with Epstein and/or Maxwell, who is serving 20 years in a federal prison for her conviction.
Wexner’s name comes up in depositions that were released as part of the documents in which those being questioned were asked about Wexner.
In one instance Maxwell is asked whether she provided a woman with an outfit of a sexual nature to wear for Wexner.
“Categorically no,” Maxwell responded. “You did get that, I said categorically no.”
She also was asked whether she had communicated with Wexner about the lawsuit. “No,” she responded.
Another witness in the case was asked whether she met Wexner or other prominent figures including former Vice President Al Gore or actor Kevin Spacey. That witness replied, “No” when it came to Wexner.
Epstein’s and Wexner’s business ties dated to the mid-1980s and included giving Epstein power of attorney and wide latitude to act on Wexner’s behalf.
In 1998, Epstein was identified as president — along with Wexner — of The New Albany Company development firm, according to Ohio business records. Epstein owned land in the New Albany development, including a home on King George Drive that he owned from 1994 until selling it for $0 to the Wexners in December 2007.
Epstein also had been a trustee of the Wexner Foundation, but had no executive responsibilities for running it, the foundation said in 2020.
Wexner and Epstein shared an interest in a Manhattan residence bought in 1989 for $13.2 million — at the time a record price for a Manhattan townhome — by a corporation controlled by Wexner and Epstein, according to The New York Times. Nine years later, Wexner transferred his interest in the property to Epstein for $20 million, The Times reported. Epstein had lived there for several years, though Wexner never lived there.
By 2007, as allegations of sexual misconduct were emerging against Epstein in Florida, it was agreed that he should step back from managing the Wexner family’s finances, Wexner said in a 2019 letter in which he accused Epstein of stealing tens of millions of dollars from the Wexner family.
In December 2007, Abigail Wexner, Wexner’s wife, established a charity, called YLK Charitable Fund, according to Internal Revenue Service records obtained by The Dispatch for a 2019 story.
Epstein made a $47 million donation to the charity. It was the only donation to the charity, which was dissolved three years later.
Leslie Wexner subsequently charged that the $47 million came from the money Epstein stole from the Wexners.
“This was, frankly, a tremendous shock, even though it clearly pales in comparison to the unthinkable allegations against him now,” Wexner said in a letter to his foundation. “With his credibility and our trust in him destroyed, we immediately severed ties with him. We were able to recover some of the funds.”
Wexner also told his employees in a letter that he “was never aware of the illegal activity” that Epstein was charged with committing.
Epstein also gave or pledged $336,000 to Ohio State University, money that the school ultimately gave to a state human trafficking initiative in 2020.
First appeared on www.dispatch.com