COLUMBUS (WCMH) — In a new letter to the Wexner Foundation, L Brands CEO Les Wexner claims that Jeffrey Epstein “misappropriated vast sums of money from me and my family.”
In recent weeks, Wexner’s relationship with Epstein has come under scrutiny.
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.
Wexner explains in the letter that is a common practice in that context.
Wexner continues that while Epstein became a trustee of the Wexner Foundation, he had no executive responsibilities of running it.
In 2007, after allegations against Epstein began emerging in Florida, he agreed to step back from the management of Wexner’s finances.
This, explains Wexner, was when they realized Epstein had misappropriated the family’s money.
“With his credibility and our trust in him destroyed, we immediately severed ties with him. We were able to recover some of the funds. The widely reported payments Mr. Epstein made to the charitable fund represented a portion of the returned monies. All of that money – every dollar of it – was originally Wexner family money,” writes Wexner.
Federal prosecutors say Epstein paid underage girls for massages and then molested them at his homes in Florida and New York.
“As the story has unfolded further, and the extent of the pain caused by Mr. Epstein continues to grow, I have spent time reflecting and searching for answers as to how this could have happened. My heart goes out to each person who has suffered unthinkable pain and I pray for their healing,” states Wexner in the letter.
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 she 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.