COLUMBUS (WCMH) — L Brands CEO Les Wexner’s relationship with financier Jeffrey Epstein continues to come under scrutiny.
The New York Times reports that Wexner was warned in the mid 1990’s that Epstein was presenting himself as a recruiter for Victoria’s Secret models.
Epstein is charged with sex trafficking and having sex with girls as young as 14. He has pleaded not guilty.
Epstein worked as Wexner’s personal finance manager and the two developed a strong relationship. A document on file in Franklin County shows Epstein was given power of attorney over much of Wexner’s financial affairs in 1991.
The board of trustees of L Brands, the company that owns Victoria’s Secret and other brands, has hired an outside law firm to review any role financier Jeffrey Epstein may have played at the retail company.
The company called Epstein’s alleged crimes “abhorrent.” It said in a statement that Epstein’s business association with its founder and CEO Leslie Wexner ended nearly 12 years ago but that it took the matter seriously and so ordered a thorough review.
The company also operates Bath & Body Works. It says it doesn’t believe that it ever employed Epstein or that he ever served as its authorized representative.
Federal prosecutors say Epstein paid underage girls for massages and then molested them at his homes in Florida and New York.
A document filed in a separate but related civil lawsuit describes an incident involving Epstein inside Wexner’s New Albany home.
In a sworn affidavit, Maria Farmer says was hired by Epstein to “help him with acquiring art.” She says Epstein arranged for her to work on an “art project” at the home of Les Wexner on Kitzmiller Rd in the summer of 1996.
The affidavit is included in a defamation lawsuit filed by Epstein victim Virginia Giuffre against Harvard law professor Alan Dershowitz. Giuffre has alleged she was forced by Epstein to have sex with Dershowitz – a claim Dershowitz vehemently denies.
Farmer says Epstein and a female companion, Ghislaine Maxwell, “asked me to come into a bedroom with them and then proceeded to sexually assault me against my will. I fled from the room and called the sheriff’s office but did not get any response. The Wexner’s security staff refused to let me leave the property. I pleaded with them and my father drove up from Kentucky to Ohio to help me. I was held against my will for approximately twelve hours until I was ultimately allowed to leave with my father.”
A source close to Wexner says the billionaire has no knowledge of the situation that Maria Farmer describes. The source said Wexner severed his ties to Epstein nearly 12 years ago.