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In the fall of 1982, a money manager called Harold Levin obtained a phone speak to that would change his life. A lawyer representing Leslie H. Wexner, the founder and CEO the the women’s apparel retailer The Limited, claimed Wexner was trying to find a jae won adviser. Would certainly Levin be interested? Levin most absolutely was. In Columbus, Ohio, whereby Levin lived, Wexner was a legend. Wexner thrived The limited from a solitary Columbus store right into a global retail realm that included mall fixtures Abercrombie & Fitch, Victoria’s Secret, and also Bath & body Works.
Levin landed the task after six months that grueling interviews. He no making master of the world money—Wexner paid a salary of $250,000 a year—but the was sufficient for Levin to move his household into a 6,000-square-foot house throughout the street indigenous Wexner in Bexley, Columbus’s many exclusive suburb. By 1986, Wexner ranked 6th on the Forbes 400 list of wealthiest Americans, through a network worth approximated at $1.4 billion. “In new York, I had actually bankers constantly taking me out to dinner,” Levin told me. Once, the manager the the Regency Hotel arranged a exclusive tour of Le Bernardin. “The kitchen to be so clean, you can eat off the floor,” Levin remembered. Wexner entrusted Levin with significantly ambitious projects. Starting in the mid-1980s, Levin purchased countless acres that farmland in new Albany (population 414) on the suburbs of Columbus, whereby Wexner planned to construct his an extremely own city modeled on an 18th-century Georgian village. “Les sent out me to Richmond, Virginia, come look at style he wanted to copy,” Levin said.
Levin had never heard the the man, Jeffrey Epstein, which was odd. After working for Wexner for seven years, Levin knew essentially every player on wall surface Street (a few months earlier, Levin says, he met v arbitrageur Ivan Boesky). Levin’s suspicion was evidenced as soon as he arrived at Epstein’s Madison way office. There to be no visible indicators of a trade operation; simply Epstein sit behind a workdesk that didn’t also have a computer. “Epstein was trying to describe a currency trade he wanted to do. I have actually an MBA from Ohio State, and also I didn’t know a native the man said,” Levin recalled. Levin went back to Columbus and reported that Epstein was a fraud. “I called Les, ‘Stay away from him,’ ” Levin remembered. Wexner agreed no to do the trade.
Levin claimed Epstein taunted that on his means out. “On my critical day, Epstein walked right into my office and also held increase a piece of paper. That bragged that Les had offered him power of attorney end his money. I functioned for Les for 7 years and I never ever had general power the attorney,” Levin said. Epstein, Levin continued, also ordered him to surrender same in Wexner’s city project, likely costing Levin millions. “Epstein usually said, ‘If girlfriend want, you deserve to fight that out, however I have actually a most lawyers and also I’ll make certain it’ll expense you a fortune.’ ”
Levin’s life unraveled. The couldn’t find a job. Girlfriend told him Epstein was dispersing rumors around Columbus and also on wall Street the Wexner had fired him for misappropriating funds. His wife filed because that divorce, Levin said, and also their three kids stopped speak to him. “I had actually a concerned breakdown. Ns was living the end of my car for a while,” Levin said. He used for work using computer systems at the library and showered in ~ state parks. “Epstein damaged my life. I lost everything,” Levin said.
Two year after guards discovered Epstein unconscious in his Manhattan jail cell, the pedophile’s life and mysterious fatality remain a topic of fevered speculation and also conspiracy theorizing. To be Epstein an intelligence agent? A debased financial genius? A sociology con guy who fleeced billionaires and politicians with sex-related blackmail?
In a find for answers, I invested the past six months investigating the Epstein secret that can unlock others: exactly how did he get his money? because that it was Epstein’s half-billion-dollar happiness that allowed him to sexually abuse and also traffic hundreds of girls on multiple continents. “There’s no concern that Epstein can not have actually done what the did there is no the assistance of world that detailed him money,” stated attorney David Boies, who firm represents numerous Epstein accusers, consisting of Virginia Roberts Giuffre.
Epstein burnished his very own myth, telling people, preposterously, the he only welcomed clients v assets the $1 exchange rate or more. Yet until recently, Epstein’s just publicly named client was Wexner. “When i asked Jeffrey who else he operated with, he’d say, ‘I can not talk around it,’ ” one Epstein friend recalled. Wexner payment Epstein’s predecessor about $600,000 a year in today’s dollars. Epstein, a former high school math teacher native Coney Island, Brooklyn, to be worth a report $559 million. His estate consisted of a 51,000-square-foot Manhattan town home (bought indigenous Wexner); a private jet (formerly own by The Limited) and also a helicopter; a Caribbean island; a Paris apartment; a Palm coast mansion; and a 10,000-acre brand-new Mexico ranch. (Epstein’s brother’s genuine estate agency also had bulk ownership the a Manhattan condo structure on east 66th Street whereby Epstein allegedly housed girls. The structure was formerly owned by Wexner.) Prosecutors say the Epstein developed his vast sex-trafficking ring transparent the ’90s and also early aughts. In various other words, Epstein came to be Epstein throughout his long association with Wexner.
Leslie Wexner through his wife Abigail Wexner and son harry Wexner during the imperial Shakespeare company performance the "Romeo and Juliet" at the Park path Armory in new York, July 12, 2011.By Amanda Gordon/Bloomberg/Getty Images.When Epstein pleaded guilty to two counts, including soliciting a minor for prostitution, in Palm beach in June 2008 and registered together a Level 3 sex offender in brand-new York, Wexner refuse to discuss him. In 2019, a Wexner spokesman told The Washington Post that the Wexners had actually severed all ties v Epstein in 2007. Castle condemned Epstein’s actions, the spokesman said. The was just after Epstein died that Wexner defined their relationship—and even then in opaque terms. In Wexner’s telling, he was an additional Epstein victim preyed top top by a devious mastermind. “Being taken advantage of by someone that was so sick, for this reason cunning, so depraved is something that I’m unpleasant that ns was also close to,” Wexner said during a decided in September 2019. In a letter to his charitable structure around this time, Wexner asserted Epstein had “misappropriated substantial sums the money from me and also my family.” Epstein had actually reportedly transferred earlier nearly $47 million to a Wexner-controlled charity fund in 2008.
But Wexner’s belated do the efforts to describe himself only raised much more questions. Why, for instance, walk Wexner no report Epstein’s alleged $47 million theft come the FBI? Or how could Wexner case to be blindsided through Epstein’s duplicitousness? “I said Les, ‘I wouldn’t to trust Epstein to cross the street—why are you trusting him with your money?’ ” recalled Jerry Merritt, a previous Ohio state highway patrolman who offered as The Limited’s defense chief for more than 25 years.
In reporting this article, ns spoke to an ext than 30 world who had firsthand encounters v Epstein or Wexner. (Wexner, who announced he to be stepping under from the board of his firm in March, declined countless interview requests.) The story that emerged is a deep strange one. Sources say Epstein occupied different roles in Wexner’s life depending upon the audience. “Jeffrey compartmentalized. The told girlfriend what you wanted to hear,” Epstein’s previous lawyer Alan Dershowitz said me. Epstein sometimes shown himself together a surrogate kid to a lonely billionaire. He told some people he was Wexner’s fixer. Dershowitz claimed that once he became Epstein’s criminal lawyer in 2007, Epstein boasted that Wexner would certainly not testify against him. Every little thing the nature of their relationship, Epstein’s long-standing link to among America’s richest males inarguably aided his publicly profile, adding to his air of legitimacy and also thus his power.
Wexner met Epstein sometime about 1986. Castle were presented by Wexner’s close friend the insurance money mogul Robert Meister, whose firm handled insurance because that The Limited. Ns spoke through Meister in April, and also he opened up for the very first time around the beginnings of Wexner and also Epstein’s relationship. The was history that Meister, 79, found complicated to revisit. “I walked far from Epstein a lengthy time ago, and also I’ve been trying to erase the from mine mind ever before since,” the said.
Epstein struck increase a conversation v Meister on a commercial flight to Palm Beach. Meister remembered gift impressed through the young banker. In reality, Epstein lived in a one-bedroom apartment and ran a fledgling investment firm. (Epstein had actually been required to leave Bear Stearns in 1981. The told Securities and also Exchange commission investigators he had been penalized ~ letting a friend borrow money come buy stock, the there to be irregularities through his expense account, and also that there to be rumors at the firm about his partnership with a secretary.) “He to be a great bullshit artist,” Meister said. People who knew Epstein remarked in ~ his savant-like ability at impressing an effective older men. “Jeffrey was a flatterer,” said internal designer Robert Couturier, that met Epstein in the 1980s. “Jeffrey would call me every day and say, ‘Oh you’re therefore brilliant. She the best.’ ” Epstein’s friend Stuart Pivar, a founder the the brand-new York Academy the Art, stated Epstein’s magnetism was practically impossible come resist. “If you had hundreds of countless dollars and also you knew Jeffrey, yes a high likelihood the you’d provide it to him. He was that an excellent of a con man.”
In hindsight, Meister doubt Epstein aggressively grew him in the hope the Meister would open up doors to his billionaire friends—like Wexner. Not lengthy after Epstein met Meister, Epstein invite Meister to play racquetball and also started turning up in the steam room in ~ his gym while that was using it. “I’d be having a vapor and Epstein would certainly come in,” Meister said. During one conversation, Epstein inquiry Meister to present him come Wexner. Epstein falsely stated he had actually learned that Wexner’s money manager to be stealing native him. Epstein, a self-described gaue won “bounty hunter,” offered to help recover the funds. It to be convincing sufficient that Meister i ordered it a conference for Epstein at Wexner’s house in Aspen. “Epstein was such a liar,” Meister said. In Wexner’s 2019 letter to his foundation, he composed that he rental Epstein due to the fact that friends “recommended him as a knowledgeable gaue won professional.”
Soon after presenting Wexner and also Epstein, Meister began hearing psychic stories about Epstein’s sexual proclivities. “Think of whatever the worst point anyone could do is, and also Epstein go them all,” Meister said. The breaking point came once Epstein verified up unannounced in ~ Meister’s Park path apartment with five models because that Meister’s sexual entertainment. “Epstein thought he was bringing me a gift,” Meister recalled. “I said him, ‘Get the crap out and also I never ever want to check out you again!’ ”
For one introvert favor Wexner, Epstein was a social connector who populated Wexner’s life through glittery people.
Epstein claimed he can discern hidden patterns in jae won markets, but his true moneymaking gift was analysis people. That surely known Wexner was deeply lonely. “Business was Les’s life,” said Wexner’s childhood girlfriend Peter Halliday, whose Ohio financial institution prepared The Limited’s an initial stock offering. Wexner was born in Dayton, Ohio, in 1937 come Russian Jewish parents who functioned in the garment business. When Wexner gotten in high school, his household moved native Dayton come Columbus, wherein his father, Harry, opened up a tiny women’s apparel store dubbed Leslie’s. “It was hard moving right into a brand-new community. Les didn’t do a note for himself,” Halliday said.
Wexner hoped to become an architect prefer Howard Roark, the libertarian protagonist the Ayn Rand’s The Fountainhead. take care of insisted that study company at Ohio State. Les summary enrolled in regulation school but dropped out to work for the family members business. As the story goes, Les wanted Harry to bring a minimal inventory focused on casual clothes, and when bother disagreed, Les quit. In 1963, Les opened The limited with a $5,000 loan native his aunt Ida. “I built a business so I could create my very own world,” Les later told the New York Times. within a year, bother closed Leslie’s and was working for Les.
Wexner may have been CEO, however it seemed that his mother, Bella, was the boss. For 34 years she served as The Limited’s corporate secretary. A previous executive recalled that Bella belittled her son in meetings when she didn’t choose his ideas. “It’ll never work! Don’t do it!” Bella would yell in front of his staff. “I mental sitting there thinking, how dare this woman?” the executive, management said. Les appeared to it is in terrified of Bella. According to Meister, Les would occasionally stay in ~ Meister’s residence in Palm beach so the Bella, whose Palm Beach residence was near Les’s, wouldn’t know Les was in town. “He was afraid of her. She was running his life,” Meister said.
By 1976, The limited operated 100 stores. 2 years later, Wexner risked bankrupting the firm when he obtained $30 million to gain the logistics agency Mast Industries, which activate a dozen factory in Asia and contracted with hundreds of others approximately the world. The gamble proved to it is in Wexner’s genius move, akin come McDonald’s revolutionizing rapid food. By managing production and also shipping, Wexner globalized the apparel business. Wexner’s core insight was that baby boomers regarded shopping together a form of entertainment. The Limited’s it is provided chain permitted Wexner to promptly roll out brand-new clothing currently at reduced cost and keep customers coming back.
As to buy malls spread across the country, The limited boomed. Wexner walk on one acquisition main actor in the 1980s. The took end the roadway Bryant and Lerner chains, the department save Henri Bendel and a struggling Palo Alto lingerie store called Victoria’s Secret. At the time he met Epstein, The restricted had an yearly revenue that $3 billion. In spite of the success, Wexner remained little known exterior Ohio. Meister recalled a party in Aspen as soon as Donald trumped walked approximately Wexner and also said, “Nice to satisfy you, now how did you gain so fucking rich?”
Wexner and also Epstein soon ended up being virtually inseparable. They to be an strange pair. Wexner remained in his late 40s, with a round face and huge ears. Epstein was in his early 30s and also dashing—from the best angle the looked prefer Richard Gere. “Les to know everything around me. He knows every endure I’ve had,” Epstein as soon as told a friend. Wexner’s public image ongoing to prosper after rental Epstein. A 1989 Boston Globe file that comprehensive Wexner’s rise reported the his September 1 diary entry that year read: “I lastly like myself.” (In a filmed deposition, featured in the Netflix documentary Filthy Rich, Brad Edwards, a lawyer for some of Epstein’s victims, asked Epstein if he had actually a sexual partnership with Wexner. Epstein refuse it.)
Merritt, The Limited’s defense chief, to be unnerved through the sudden friendship. Merritt recalled a weekend in the late 1980s once Wexner invite Epstein to shoot at targets on floor Wexner owned in countryside Ohio. “Les had actually started collecting guns, but Les didn’t recognize which end of a pistol worked,” Merritt said. Merritt recruited a world-class trap shooter named Jim Forsbach to teach Wexner to shoot, but, Merritt said, Wexner relied on Epstein. “Epstein had actually this Magnum, P.I. gun. The didn’t understand what he to be doing. It looked like he’d never taken it out of the holster,” Merritt recalled.
Epstein to be a society connector who occupied Wexner’s introverted life with glittery people. Novelist Christina Oxenberg psychic being invite by Epstein come a dinner party in ~ Wexner’s Upper east Side town house not lengthy after Epstein took end Wexner’s finances. “Les seemed favor this rumpled, sweaty schlub. He to be so ill in ~ ease. And there to be Jeffrey facilitating the conversation,” Oxenberg called me. Dershowitz said the very first time that met Epstein, in ~ the Martha’s Vineyard house of Lynn Forester de Rothschild, Epstein invite him to it is in a guest of honor at Wexner’s upcoming birthday dinner. “Jeffrey stated something like, ‘For a present, my friend Leslie Wexner wants me to invite the most crucial man ns met this year,’ ” Dershowitz recalled. The flattery worked: Dershowitz attended. Other guests consisted of astronaut man Glenn and also former Israeli prime minister Shimon Peres.
According to sources, Epstein took an interest in Wexner’s romantic life. In 1985, New York magazine put Wexner top top the cover v the headline “The Bachelor Billionaire.” Wexner dated however the relationship didn’t often tend to last. About the time Wexner met Epstein, Wexner damaged up through a Columbus woman. Follow to sources, Epstein proved up in ~ her residence with a multimillion-dollar check and also told her to continue to be away indigenous Wexner. (The woman declined requests for comment.)
The friendship vexed Wexner’s mother, Bella. Sources stated she wanted Les to clear up down and also get married. “Bella hated Epstein. She was so blunt,” Merritt said. Approximately 1990, Wendy Meister introduced Wexner come a corporate lawyer in her late 20s called Abigail Koppel, who operated in the London office of Davis Polk, The Limited’s exterior law firm. “Abigail was so secretive around it,” a friend from London recalled. “She said, ‘Don’t phone call anyone. Ns don’t want to jinx it.’ ”
But Epstein stayed very much in the picture. He supposedly arranged Wexner and Koppel’s prenuptial agreement and also was one of 50 attendees at their January 1993 wedding ceremony. Wexner even gave Epstein Bella’s seat on the board of the Wexner Foundation.
Epstein soon began traveling to Ohio through Ghislaine Maxwell, the on-off girlfriend who had helped burnish his society connections in Manhattan. “She was with Jeffrey everywhere,” Merritt said. Come some, it seemed like the age-appropriate Maxwell to be a windy front because that Epstein’s crimes involving underage girls. “It’s a advantageous beard situation,” stated Oxenberg, Maxwell’s previous friend. Epstein and also Maxwell were also social v the Wexners exterior of Ohio. Once the Wexners traveled to Europe, Epstein and also Maxwell joined them on to buy trips.
By this point, Epstein was representing himself together something the a trouble solver for Wexner. One time, Epstein referred to as Dershowitz and also asked if the lawyer knew who in the Clinton administration. Epstein claimed Wexner was in a panic because customs agents in ~ Teterboro airplane in new Jersey seized countless dollars that Cuban cigars and $50,000 in cash indigenous his private jet. Dershowitz said he go not understand anyone who could help. A human close to the Wexner household with understanding of the allegation emphatically refuse that any type of such occasion occurred. Vanity Fair has found no point out of the alleged event in court or law enforcement records.
During the 1990s, both Epstein’s and also Wexner’s profiles grew on the world stage. In 1991, Wexner cofounded a philanthropic organization of Jewish billionaires well-known as the Mega Group, which offers some that its huge resources to shape Middle eastern policy. In 2003, Wexner’s structure commissioned GOP message guru frank Luntz to recommend American Jewish leader on exactly how to rally assistance for Israel. “For a year—a heavy YEAR—you should be invoking the surname of Saddam Hussein and how Israel was always behind American efforts to escape the world of this ruthless dictator and liberate their people,” Luntz’s reference stated.
Epstein kept close in the circle of influence. U.N. Ambassador bill Richardson and Middle east envoy George Mitchell accused participated in Epstein’s sex ring, according to a lawsuit filed by Giuffre. (Richardson and Mitchell adamantly refuse the allegations.) Israeli prime minister Ehud Barak was an Epstein confidant. Epstein invest $1 million in one of Barak’s organization ventures; Barak apparently visited the east 66th Street condo building. Dershowitz called me the once arrived at Epstein’s town house as Epstein and Barak to be wrapping increase lunch. ~ above a chalkboard, Barak had drawn a map of how the West bank should be divided. (Barak might not be reached for comment. In 2019 that denied any type of wrongdoing regarded the condo visits.)
During his time as Wexner’s financial guru, Epstein’s holdings thrived tremendously—sometimes by getting properties formerly owned through Wexner such together the town home on eastern 71st Street, among the largest private homes in Manhattan. If it has been reported end the years that the residence was moved to him in a $1 transaction-—and Epstein may have actually led world to believe that—documents show he paid Wexner $20 million for it. In Columbus, Epstein own a 10,000-square-foot residence next come Wexner and, follow to Merritt, paid a below-market price for among The Limited’s personal jets. (Epstein also reportedly oversaw building of Wexner’s superyacht, Limitless.) Merritt recalled once asking Wexner why Epstein was so fine compensated. “Les simply said, ‘Because i got more money than I can ever spend,’ ” stated Merritt. “Les offered him totally free rein over his checkbook.” In 2019, the Wall Street Journal reported Epstein earned $200 million from Wexner. Merritt puts the number in ~ $400 million.
Epstein’s predecessor Harold Levin defined a possible scenario by which Epstein could have taken manage of assets. “We didn’t put a mortgage on any kind of of those properties. We offered The Limited’s stock to buy them, so there were no liens,” Levin said. In various other words, since Wexner no owe banks any money, his properties might be controlled by Epstein, and also there would certainly be scant public document of it.
As Epstein’s wealth grew, his predatory actions became more brazen. He occasionally used his relations to Victoria’s an enig in his schemes, a pattern at the very least some executives in ~ the agency were conscious of. One afternoon in the feather of 1993, an executive, management rushed into the office of Victoria’s mystery catalog president Cynthia Fedus-Fields v disturbing news: A model told a hairdresser at a photo shoot that a man named Jeffrey Epstein was running around new York presenting himself as a Victoria’s mystery scout. Fields knew Epstein was problematic. Fields, then in her 40s, had actually met that the vault year and rejected numerous inappropriate propositions from that to go out, among which consisted of a weekend date to Wexner’s home in Aspen. (Fields declined Epstein’s advances.)
Fields called the executive, management to report Epstein come Wexner immediately, according to a resource briefed on the conversation. “Les said he would prevent it,” the resource recalled.
Merritt mental one lunch around this time when Epstein boasted he to be the “personnel director” for Victoria’s Secret. In might 1997, an aspiring design named Alicia Arden said the Santa Monica police the Epstein sexually struck her in a hotel room after that posed as a Victoria’s secret scout.
According to the harrowing story the accuser Maria Farmer, Epstein even carried the abuse come Wexner’s doorstep in Ohio. In the feather of 1996, Farmer was miserable working as Epstein’s personal assistant in new York as soon as she received a dream assignment: film producers wanted the 25-year-old to develop paintings that would certainly be featured in the Jack Nicholson movie As great As that Gets. Epstein begged Farmer not to quit and also made an significant offer: His client Les Wexner wanted Farmer to spend the summer functioning on the paintings at Wexner’s 300-acre compound in the city Wexner was building from scratch. (As report in Filthy Rich, Farmer speak to a Vanity Fair reporter in 2003, but the newspaper did no publish her accusations versus Epstein.)
Although Farmer was broke and living in a small Greenwich village apartment, her instinct was to turn it down. Epstein’s relationship with Wexner seemed odd to her. Farmer recalled the very first time Epstein offered her a tourism of his town house: “Jeffrey said, ‘See all this stuff? ns don’t need any of it. I can live in a tent. Yet Les offered this come me because that a dollar. Les would execute anything because that me.’ ”
Farmer was also unsettled by strange travellers coming and also going at the house. She recalled government officials making pilgrimages to fulfill Epstein for unusual reasons. What frightened she most, though, were the children. Farmer said she witnessed Maxwell escorting countless high school–age girls to satisfy Epstein, supposedly come interview for modeling jobs. “Every afternoon. Ghislaine would run the end saying, ‘I need to gain the nubiles!’ ” Farmer recalled. (Maxwell’s lawyer did not respond to a request for comment.)
Nonetheless, Farmer accepted Epstein’s offer and also that May, she packed she supplies into a truck and drove west come Wexner’s Ohio village. Yet what seemed choose a dream would turn right into a nightmare. This account is based on my interviews v Farmer and a sworn affidavit she it is registered in federal court in 2019.
Early in her stay, Farmer began to feel prefer she was being watched at all times. Maxwell referred to as Farmer from brand-new York, screaming at her because she accidently spilled henna dye on a white rug. “Ghislaine yelled, ‘You’re going to need to leave right now!’ Jeffrey later on called and also apologized,” Farmer recalled. In interviews, Farmer said she needed Abigail’s permission to go jogging outside due to the fact that the grounds were patrolled by armed guards and dogs. (In a 2019 statement come The Washington Post, the Wexner household said no Les no one Abigail knew that Farmer was prior to her accusations were made public. “And while us don’t understand with who Ms. Farmer may have actually spoken, who might have asserted to it is in Mrs. Wexner, it was not Mrs. Wexner,” a family members spokesman said at the time.)
Epstein and also Maxwell to be Farmer’s only connection to the exterior world. Lock flew in on weekends and took Farmer to check out movies choose Independence Day and also go food shopping at Walmart. Farmer thought Epstein and Maxwell acted more like kids than adults. “They would execute things choose ‘pants’ each other while wait in heat to purchase movie tickets,” Farmer recalled. Over time, socializing with a pair nearly double her age felt almost normal. Farmer invited her two elementary school–age brothers to live through her at Epstein’s Ohio house.
One night around two month after she come in Ohio, Farmer said Epstein and Maxwell invite her to their bedroom and sexually attacked her. Farmer said she fled, locked it s her in she room, and called 911. She stated the sheriff’s dispatcher responded, “We work-related for Wexner.” Terrified, Farmer referred to as her dad in Kentucky. The agreed to drive overnight to choose her up. (A spokesman because that the Franklin County, Ohio, sheriff’s office confirmed to The Washington Post the its officers had actually been contracted because that Wexner’s security information at the time however said it had no remaining documents of together a call.)
Farmer said that once she reverted to new York, she 16-year-old sister, Annie, who Epstein was additionally helping financially, revealed the Epstein and Maxwell had actually touched she inappropriately at Epstein’s new Mexico ranch. Farmer claims she do the efforts to file a report through the brand-new York Police Department. Police officers said they had actually no jurisdiction in Ohio and instructed she to talk to the FBI instead. Farmer claimed she did, however the FBI never complied with up.
In September 1997, Wexner celebrated his 60th birthday with a dinner at his Ohio estate. Meister claims he offered the occasion to as soon as again call Wexner how untrustworthy Epstein was. “My wife and also I said him and Abigail hundreds of times to remain away from Epstein,” Meister said. In front of guest including previous senator Joe Lieberman and real estate developer Marshall Rose, Meister stated he begged Wexner come sever ties with Epstein. “Les i will not ~ listen,” Meister said. It to be the critical time Meister visited Wexner’s house.
Meanwhile, Epstein was driving a wedge in between Wexner and executives in ~ The Limited. Executives didn’t understand why Wexner, a brutal boss and famous control freak, permitted Epstein together latitude. “Les berated people. I as soon as saw Les smack an executive on peak of his head,” a former Victoria’s an enig executive said. “Les might be a finish asshole,” recalled another former executive. “His favorite thing was to yell, ‘You have actually shit because that brains!’ ” but with Epstein, he take it a more sympathetic stance: “Les would certainly defer come him in any kind of meeting…. Les would put his hand on Epstein’s shoulder.”
Epstein regularly invoked Wexner’s government to make employees feel as if they worked for him. “Epstein would call you and wouldn’t offer his name. He’d simply start talking and also expect friend to know who that was,” a former an elderly executive said. “He was becoming more and much more active in the business. It was really upsetting people.” In 1996, as The restricted was prepare to spin turn off Abercrombie & Fitch into a separate company on the brand-new York stock Exchange, Epstein flew to Columbus and also told executives the he would certainly decide the re-superstructure price. Executives concerned Epstein to be committing insider trading because days earlier, someone—they suspect Epstein—had offered an unusually big chunk of minimal stock. “There was so much issue that one of the lawyers looked about the room and said, ‘Are we going to need to go to jail because that this?’ ” recalled an executive that attended the meeting. According to the executive, Epstein acquired his way.
The Limited’s vice chairman, Tom Hopkins, said Wexner the Epstein was a con man, resources said. Wexner brushed beside the complaints. “Les assumed he knew much more than the people roughly him,” a previous executive said.
Merritt said start in the at an early stage aughts, Epstein invested less and less time in Ohio. However publicly Wexner still had glowing points to say about his money manager. In 2003, Wexner called a reporter that Epstein had actually “excellent judgment and unusually high standards,” adding he was “always a many loyal friend.”
On the face of it, these two guys were vastly various in temperament. Epstein to be flamboyant and also not private at all about his sexual appetites, even if most everyone was unaware that the period of his victims. Epstein filled his home with erotic art and displayed a copy that Nabokov’s Lolita and a book by the Marquis de Sade top top his desk. Wexner was a press-shy billionaire that literally constructed his own fiefdom in the center of the American rust belt. It’s tough to ultimately define their dealings, but I am certain that the huge sums Epstein earned native Wexner were the resource of his power. Among the disastrous ironies the the story is the Wexner’s teenage customer basic was made up of the type of girls that Epstein preyed upon. Epstein provided the money and legitimacy his work-related for Wexner and others afforded him to bring around unspeakable person suffering.
Since Epstein’s fatality in august 2019, Wexner’s experienced life has remained in a tailspin. The plank of l Brands—The minimal was renamed in 2013—hired Davis Polk to command an investigation into Wexner’s partnership with Epstein. The examination was never ever made public, but months later, Wexner stepped under as CEO, ending his run as the longest-serving chief executive, management in the S&P 500 (he stayed chairman emeritus that the board).
Wexner’s troubles only deepened. Shareholders sue L Brands, alleging the Davis Polk examination was a whitewash. Together Brands kept the regulation firm Wachtell, Lipton to conduct a second investigation into Wexner and Epstein’s dealings. This past May, Wexner stepped under from the L brand board, ending his last official duty in the firm he founded much more than a half century ago.
Meanwhile, Dershowitz has actually subpoenaed Wexner to testify as component of his defamation lawsuit versus Giuffre, that alleged Epstein trafficked her to Dershowitz. (Dershowitz denies Giuffre’s allegation.) L brand shareholders are suing plank members including the Wexners in Delaware court, accusing “Abigail Wexner the acquiescence when Epstein and Ghislaine Maxwell sexually struck
Those who’ve known Wexner longest have actually experienced a selection of emotions together they’ve watched his fall. “It’s not the Les i knew and also know,” previous Columbus mayor Greg Lashutka said me. Harold Levin, the previous financial adviser who feuded v Epstein, feels a tiny measure of vindication. “When Epstein was arrested, my ex-wife dubbed me and said, ‘You were right,’ ” he told me. Wexner’s childhood girlfriend Peter Halliday believed that the full degree of Epstein’s trail of devastation has yet to be told. “I recognize the story no finished,” the said. “When the whole story walk come out, I just hope Les is dead.”
This story has actually been updated.
CORRECTION: An earlier version of this story misstated the terms of Harold Levin’s divorce. His wife was not granted custody the the children. The kids were over 18 in ~ the time.
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