Who is Les Wexner, the Billionaire Behind Jeffrey Epstein?
“It’s highly unusual and raises suspicions of something unethical happening when you see emails that say ‘call me, I don’t want to put this in writing.’ There’s no reason to worry about putting something in writing if there’s nothing improper or unethical in the case.”
Jeffrey Epstein’s personal and private life was shrouded in secrecy, and many things about him that are public knowledge have proven to be false under recent scrutiny and investigation. For example, Epstein was often referred to as a billionaire, a fact which has recently been called into question. In fact, while running his investment firm, J. Epstein and Co., his only real client was enigmatic Columbus billionaire Les Wexner.
So who is Les Wexner and what’s was the nature of the cozy relationship Epstein and Wexner shared for years?
Epstein and Wexner
According to filings from the U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission, Jeffrey Epstein was one of only three trustees of the Wexner Foundation, and was also affiliated with many of Wexner’s other numerous charitable organizations, including entities such as The Wexner Children’s Trust II, Health and Science Interests, Arts Interests, International Charitable Interests, and Health and Science Interests II. According to tax records, in 2003 the Wexner Family Charitable Fund gave $10 million to the COUQ Foundation, Inc., an organization run by Epstein.
On a registration document from 1998, both Epstein and Wexner were listed as the presidents of the New Albany Company LLC, Wexner’s real estate development group. New Albany is the name of the suburb of Columbus, Ohio, that was developed by the New Albany Company, and Epstein also bought a house there in 1994. That property was later transferred at no cost to Abigail Wexner, Les Wexner’s wife, in December 2007.
Epstein also donated $1000 to the Wexner Center for the Arts Membership Fund in 1990. The Wexner Center for the Arts is a modern art center on the campus of Ohio State University. Les Wexner contributed most of the funds necessary to establish the center, and it was named after his father at his request.
Epstein’s ties with Ohio State University don’t end there. He also anonymously donated $2.5 million to fund the university’s Woody Hayes Athletic Center in 2005 through the COUQ Foundation. This was later matched through a donation by the Leslie H. Wexner Charitable Fund. These massive donations are one reason why the Les Wexner Football Complex at the Woody Hayes Athletic Center bears Wexner’s name.
After criticism, Ohio State University issued a press release on July 16, stating, “Epstein is a convicted sex offender whose crimes are reprehensible, and his association with these gifts to the university is concerning. Ohio State is conducting a complete review of the giving history to the university by Epstein and known associated entities and will take additional action as appropriate.”
Wexner is also trying to distance himself from Epstein, and recently sent an email to employees of his company, L Brands, stating that “I severed all ties with Mr. Epstein nearly 12 years ago. I would not have continued to work with any individual capable of such egregious, sickening behavior as has been reported about him. As you can imagine, this past week I have searched my soul … reflected … and regretted that my path ever crossed his.”
However, in 2008 Wexner’s YLK Foundation received over $46 million from Epstein shortly after he was indicted by a Florida court on reduced prostitution charges. This proves that Wexner continued to deal with Epstein even after his consistent misconduct with underage women and girls was common knowledge.
Epstein is also linked to Steven J. Hoffenburg, a former owner of the New York Post who has also been convicted of running a Ponzi scheme that stole more than $460 million from investors.
Epstein’s Child Sex Ring
Due to his relationship with Les Wexner, who owns L Brands and companies such as Pink and Victoria’s Secret, Epstein was able to boast about his connections to the fashion industry and entice many desperate women with promises of modeling careers. Virginia Roberts, one of Epstein’s victims, said that “He would tell the girls, ‘Hey, I will give you a modeling contract if you go have sex with this man.”
In 2017, Epstein was indicted by a Florida court for soliciting sex from underage girls, some as young as 14. The coverup organized by federal prosecutor Alexander Acosta, who served as the Secretary of Labor as a member of Trump’s cabinet until his resignation on July 12, and Epstein’s lawyer, Jay Lefkowitz, not only allowed Epstein to spend less than 13 months in the county jail, but also ended a federal investigation into Epstein’s sex parties with young girls. As a result, many well-known politicians and celebrities linked to Epstein and the parties involving underage females were not investigated and still have not been held accountable for their lewd assaults against young women.
Epstein is also linked to prominent academic and pro-Israel crusader Alan Dershowitz, who has served as Epstein’s lawyer at some of his numerous hearings. Dershowitz has also been accused of raping underage women as a member of Epstein’s illicit sex ring. Dershowitz claims that his victim is “lying for money.”
Epstein’s attorneys used vicious tactics to try to discredit Epstein’s victims, forcing them to disclose personal and intimate details about their sexual histories, drug use, and social media presence. The abuse didn’t end with rape and sexual assault; it continued as the cases worked their way through the legal system, and the victims were never given a fair chance in court.
This illustrates the way in which the legal system works for the wealthy, upper echelons of society at the expense of the general population. This problem is exemplified by a quotation from Michael Reiter, the Palm Beach Chief of Police at the time of the initial inquiries into Epstein’s behavior, who stated the following when discussing the case:
“There are challenges here that don’t exist in a lot of other places because of the affluence in the community, but the only way I could approach this case was that none of that matters. The truth is still the truth. The facts are the facts. Everybody is treated the same.” Unfortunately, despite the efforts of law enforcement officers like Reiter, Epstein was barely punished for his atrocious crimes.
During his brief stint in jail, Epstein was given unprecedented work release privileges, leaving the jail six days a week for twelve hours a day in order to work at his luxurious West Palm Beach office. While this was occurring, the West Palm Beach Sherrif’s guidelines specifically prohibited granting perpetrators of sex crimes work release benefits.
Further, even though federal legislation prohibits actions of this nature, Alex Acosta, who was the prosecutor in the case, agreed to withhold the details of the agreement from the victims of Epstein’s sex crimes, instead waiting until the judge approved the deal before making it public so that nobody could contest the decision.
Emails between Acosta and other prosecutors and Epstein’s lawyers highlight the sordid nature of the case. Many of these emails contain lines such as, “Call me, I don’t want to put this information in writing,” which clearly indicates the unorthodox and unethical nature of these exchanges. As former federal prosecutor Francey Hakes, who worked in the Justice Department’s Crimes Against Children’s unit, says, “It’s highly unusual and raises suspicions of something unethical happening when you see emails that say ‘call me, I don’t want to put this in writing.’ There’s no reason to worry about putting something in writing if there’s nothing improper or unethical in the case.”
Epstein’s child sex ring was organized as a pyramid scheme. Not only were underage girls financially compensated to give him sexually intimate massages complete with groping, blowjobs, and intercourse, they were also paid to recruit other girls to bring into Epstein’s clutches. Epstein used his access to young girls to enter the upper echelons of high society, and was able to maintain a certain degree of control over powerful figures due to his firsthand knowledge of their illegal sexual activities.
One of Epstein’s butlers, Alfredo Rodriguez, claims that he was charged by Epstein to pay all the underage girls being trafficked through Epstein’s mansion, and that he was used as a human ATM machine, being ordered to have at least $2000 in cash on him at all times. Rodriguez ascertains that Epstein kept a book with the names and phone numbers of all the underage girls he used for sexual purposes.
So many underage girls were being used for sexual purposes on Epstein’s jet that it was nicknamed “The Lolita Express.”
Epstein is alleged to have loaned the Lolita Express to Bill Clinton in 2003. Rickenbacker Airport, a former air force base that now primarily serves as a cargo hub for the city of Columbus, Ohio, was the site of this transaction and many others involving Wexner, Epstein and others. Epstein used midwestern Columbus as a base for many of his devious operations. It was the perfect location, miles away from the scrutiny of a cosmopolitan city like New York and also the personal playground of his billionaire pal Les Wexner.
Donald Trump has also been linked to Epstein’s child sex ring. A lawsuit filed by Katie Johnson, who alleges that she was raped by Epstein and Trump when she was 13 in 1993, states that “Defendant Trump tied Plaintiff to a bed, exposed himself to Plaintiff, and then proceeded to forcibly rape Plaintiff. During the course of this savage sexual attack, Plaintiff loudly pleaded with Defendant Trump to stop but with no effect. Defendant Trump responded to Plaintiff’s pleas by violently striking Plaintiff in the face with his open hand and screaming that he would do whatever he wanted.”
Wexner’s Organized Crime Connection
Epstein isn’t the only shady character in Wexner’s tight inner circle. He has also been linked to the murder of prominent Columbus attorney Arthur Shapiro through his organized crime connections. The Columbus Division of Police report on Shapiro’s murder includes Wexner, among other prominent central Ohio politicians and businessmen such as Jerry Hammond, who once served as president of Columbus City Council, and Les Wright, another Columbus politician. This document was deemed so scandalous that Columbus’ chief of police at the time, James G. Jackson, tried to destroy it, but he was unsuccessful and local media outlets managed to obtain the report. Shapiro was a member of the firm Schwartz, Shapiro, Kelm & Warren, which represented Wexner’s company The Limited, now known as L brands.
Wexner has also been linked to the Genovese-LaRocca crime family, a mafia linked organized crime syndicate operating out of Pittsburgh, through his connections with Francis J. Walsh, the owner of New Jersey-based Walsh Trucking Company, and Youngstown real estate developer Edward J. DeBartolo. The Genovese-LaRocca organization is one of the largest mafia syndicates in the United States.
Experts on organized crime have concluded that the family is second in size and scope only to the legendary Gambino/La Cosa Nostra Family operating out of New York. Limited Brands was Walsh Trucking Company’s biggest client for decades. Walsh Trucking Company has been involved in many shady deals related to transporting products for the fashion industry and was sued and nearly convicted for sabotaging a competitor’s truck routes during the 1980s.
Shapiro was killed the day before he was scheduled to appear before a grand jury as part of an IRS investigation into his finances. Some suspect that he might have been in a position to reveal information at this hearing that could have caused problems for prominent people in Columbus, leading to his murder.
Robert Morosky, a former employee of Wexner’s who served as vice chairman of the Limited, sums Wexner’s character up by stating that “Les is an insecure guy with a big ego…he had a lot of money but craved respect.” He obtained this respect through his dealings with Epstein and other pedophile investment moguls and politicians, providing the funds to support their operations while also giving himself a fast pass to the high life of parties furbished with expensive champagne and underage girls.
Wexner has managed to keep his shady dealings and questionable connections out of the spotlight for years, but with the new revelations regarding his connection to Epstein, it seems that this has finally changed. The investigation into Epstein will surely lead to more shocking discoveries, but interesting information could also be revealed through a closer look at the secret world of Les Wexner.