Review: Epstein’s dealings at Wexner Foundation minimal
COLUMBUS, Ohio (AP) — Jeffrey Epstein played “no meaningful role” in the budget, finances or accounting practices of L Brands founder Les Wexner’s charitable foundation and wasn’t involved at all with its fellowship and leadership programs, an outside review released this week has concluded.
The review of the Wexner Foundation by the Columbus-based law firm Kegler Brown Hill and Ritter found no evidence that Epstein, the wealthy financier and convicted sex offender who died in prison, influenced the fiscal operations of the foundation, made any direct financial contributions to it or used it to commit any crimes.
The foundation requested the examination into Epstein’s involvement and interactions with its operations and programs after Epstein’s arrest last year on federal sex trafficking charges. Epstein had served on the foundation’s board for 15 years ending in 2007.
Epstein also served as Wexner’s personal money manager in the late 1980s. In September, Wexner told investors he was embarrassed by their ties and apologized for the misjudgment. Wexner plans to step down as L Brands chairman and CEO after the sale of Victoria’s Secret announced last week is complete.
Fellows, members and alumni of foundation-funded programs that develop Jewish leaders in the U.S. and public service leaders in Israel and around the world had raised concerns that Epstein might have paid for their programs or used proceeds for illegal activity, the report said.
Much of the report was spent tracing the path of a $9.6 million contribution to the foundation in 2001 from “Arts Interests Trust c/o Jeffery Epstein.” The examination determined that Epstein was the trustee of the trust, but that Wexner “donated the assets” used to fund it and retained the right to designate its beneficiary.
Epstein entities did transfer $46 million in assets to a different Wexner foundation, the YLK Charitable Fund formed by Les Wexner’s wife, Abigail, in 2007. That money partially repaid the “vast sums of money” that Les Wexner has said Epstein misappropriated from the Wexner family, the report said.
Wexner says he severed ties with Epstein 12 years ago.