Leslie Wexner’s former money manager has spoken out about how Jeffrey Epstein forced him out of his job with the billionaire founder of Victoria Secret parent company L Brands.
Harold Levin ran Wexner’s private investment firm from 1983 to 1990, when Epstein squeezed him out and left him penniless and living in his car, he said. Vanity Fair in an interview published Tuesday.
“He was an asshole. The most arrogant person I’ve ever met,” Levin said of Epstein, who forced him out of his job by falsely claiming that Levin stole from Wexner.
For decades, Wexner was Epstein’s only publicly named client as a financial advisor, and the billionaire appears to be a major source of the $500 million fortune Epstein left behind when he died in 2019.
A cloud of mystery has surrounded the two men’s relationship, and internal investigations commissioned by L Brands led to Wexner stepping down as CEO and subsequently resigning from the board of directors, although the findings were not made public.
Levin’s new account reveals how Epstein gained Wexner’s trust over Levin’s protests that the sex predator appeared to be a con artist and con man, insinuating himself with the billionaire despite the advisor’s warnings.
Wexner first met Epstein around 1986, when Meister (above) introduced them after meeting Epstein on a commercial flight to Palm Beach.
Jeffrey Epstein gained the trust of L Brands founder Les Wexner (right) by falsely accusing his money manager of stealing from him and forcing the advisor out
Levin said he was thrilled to join Wexner in 1983, earning a $250,000 salary from managing the billionaire’s fortune.
Levin recalls that in 1989 Wexner asked him to meet with Epstein, whom he had never heard of, to discuss an investment proposal.
“Epstein was trying to explain a currency trade he wanted to do. I have an MBA from the state of Ohio, and I didn’t understand a word from the man he said,” Levin recalled to Vanity Fair.
Levin returned to Ohio and warned Wexner that Epstein was a con man. “I told Les, ‘Stay away from him,’ Levin recalled.
Wexner agreed not to trade, but Levin was shocked when Epstein showed up in Ohio a few months later and announced that Wexner had put him in charge of his finances.
Levin tried to protest, but Wexner didn’t take his calls. Furious at having to work under Epstein, Levin quit a few months later.
Levin says Epstein taunted him on his way out and ruined his career with false accusations that he embezzled money.
“On my last day, Epstein walked into my office and held up a piece of paper. He boasted that Les had given him power of attorney over his money. I worked for Les for seven years and I never had a general power of attorney,” Levin told the magazine.
Wexner and his wife Abigail stepped down from the L Brands board in May, after lawsuits and questions about his financial relationship with Epstein
Epstein also ordered him to part with his equity in a real estate project, which will likely cost Levin millions, he said.
“Epstein basically said, ‘If you want, you can fight it out, but I have a lot of lawyers and I’ll make it cost you a fortune,’ Levin recalls.
Levin said friends in the industry told him that Epstein was spreading rumors on Wall Street and in Ohio that Wexner had fired him for embezzling funds.
Levin could not find a job and his wife filed for divorce and took custody of their three children.
“I had a nervous breakdown. I lived out of my car for a while,” Levin recalls. “Epstein ruined my life. I’ve lost everything.’
Epstein wriggled his way into Wexner’s inner circle through his close friend Robert Meister, whose company handled insurance for L Brands, then known as The Limited, Meister revealed in an interview with Vanity Fair..
Wexner remained inconspicuous for a long time and was little known outside of downtown Ohio, where The Limited was headquartered.
Meister recalled a party in Aspen when Donald Trump walked up to Wexner and said, “Nice to meet you, how did you get so damn rich?”
Epstein wriggled his way into Wexner’s inner circle through his good friend Robert Meister (above), whose company handled insurance for L Brands
Wexner has never been criminally charged with involvement in Epstein’s sex crimes, and despite rampant speculation, no evidence has emerged that the two men had a romantic relationship.
In a filmed statement, featured in the Netflix documentary Filthy Rich, Brad Edwards, an attorney for some of Epstein’s victims, asked Epstein if he had a sexual relationship with Wexner. Epstein denied it.
In 1993, Wexner, then 55, married attorney Abigail S. Koppel, 31, and the couple now have four children. Epstein reportedly attended the ceremony and even arranged the couple’s prenuptial agreement.
Wexner insists he was duped by Epstein and ended their relationship after the predator’s first arrest in 2007, on charges of inciting the prostitution of a minor.
“Being taken advantage of by someone so sick, so cunning, so depraved is something I am ashamed of for even being close,” Wexner said in a September 2019 speech.
In a letter to his charitable foundation around the same time, Wexner claimed that Epstein had “embezzled large sums of money from me and my family.”
Wexner first met Epstein around 1986, when Meister introduced them after meeting Epstein on a commercial flight to Palm Beach.
“He was a great bulls**t performer,” Meister told Vanity Fair, saying he now believes Epstein aggressively cultivated him to gain access to his billionaire friends.
Meister said Epstein invited him to play racquetball and started showing up in the gym’s steam room while using it.
In one conversation, Epstein falsely claimed he had evidence that Wexner’s money manager was stealing from him, and asked to meet with the billionaire to offer his services as a financial “bounty hunter.”
Shortly after introducing him to Wexner, Meister says he heard disturbing stories about Epstein’s sexual behavior and broke off contact when Epstein arrived unannounced at his Madison Avenue apartment with five models for his sexual entertainment.
‘I said to him, ‘Come out and I never want to see you again!’ Master remembered. “Think of the worst thing anyone can do, and Epstein did them all.”
“I walked out on Epstein a long time ago and I’ve been trying to erase him from my mind ever since,” he said.
American financier Jeffrey Epstein can be seen in a July 2019 court sketch. He first met Wexner in 1986 after an introduction through insurance mogul Robert Meister, who later cut ties.
Wexner — valued at $7.7 billion at his peak — bought 10,000 acres of land and built neo-Georgian mansions, a golf course, a country club and his own luxury compound with a $47 million, 30-room family home in Ohio.
Last month Wexner broke his last official ties to the retail empire he founded in 1963, stepping down from the board following his resignation as CEO.
Wexner, 83, along with his wife Abigail, were not up for re-election to the board of directors in May.
In January, L Brands shareholders filed a lawsuit alleging that the retail mogul and his wife not only knew about Epstein’s behavior but allowed him to “use their home for contacting victims.”
It goes on to claim that Wexner was so close to Epstein that he “knew or should have known” that the dead pedophile was posing as a modeling recruiter for Victoria’s Secret to prey on young aspiring girls.
The bombshell allegations are part of a shareholder lawsuit at L Brands, the global fashion retailer.