The former money manager of Leslie Wexner has spoken out about how Jeffrey Epstein forced him out of his job working for the billionaire founder of Victoria Secret parent company L Brands.
Harold Levin headed up Wexner’s private investment office from 1983 to 1990, when Epstein squeezed him out and left him penniless and living in his car, he told Vanity Fair in an interview published on Tuesday.
‘He was an a**hole. The most arrogant person I ever met,’ Levin said of Epstein, who forced him out of his job by falsely claiming that Levin was stealing from Wexner.
For decades, Wexner was Epstein’s only publicly named client as a financial advisor, and the billionaire appears to be a key source of the $500 million fortune that 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 resulted in Wexner stepping down as CEO and then resigning from the board, though 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 seemed to be a fraud 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, squeezing the advisor out
Levin said that he was thrilled to get the job working for Wexner in 1983, earning a salary of $250,000 for 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 Ohio State, and I didn’t understand a word the man said,’ Levin recalled to Vanity Fair.
Levin returned to Ohio and warned Wexner that Epstein was a fraud. ‘I told Les, ‘Stay away from him,’ Levin remembered.
Wexner agreed not to do the 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 wouldn’t take his calls. Furious at having to work under Epstein, Levin quit a few months later.
Levin says that Epstein taunted him on the way out, and ruined his career with false allegations that he had misappropriated funds.
‘On my last day, Epstein walked into my office and held up a piece of paper. He bragged that Les had given him power of attorney over his money. I worked for Les for seven years and I never had general power of attorney,’ Levin told the magazine.
Wexner and his wife Abigail stepped down from the L Brands board in May, following lawsuits and questions about his financial relationship with Epstein
Epstein also ordered him to surrender his equity in a real estate project, likely costing 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 sure it’ll cost you a fortune,” Levin recalled.
Levin said that friends in the industry told him that Epstein was spreading rumors on Wall Street and in Ohio that Wexner had fired him for misappropriating funds.
Levin couldn’t find a job, and his wife filed for divorce, taking custody of their three children.
‘I had a nervous breakdown. I was living out of my car for a while,’ Levin recalled. ‘Epstein ruined my life. I lost everything.’
Epstein wormed his way into Wexner’s inner circle through his close friend Robert Meister, whose firm handled insurance for L Brands, then known as The Limited, Meister revealed in an interview to Vanity Fair.
Wexner long maintained a low profile and was little known outside of central 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, now how did you get so f***ing rich?’
Epstein wormed his way into Wexner’s inner circle through his close friend Robert Meister (above), whose firm handled insurance for L Brands
Wexner has never been criminally accused of involvement in Epstein’s sex crimes, and despite rampant speculation, no evidence has emerged that the two men were romantically involved.
In a filmed deposition, featured in the Netflix documentary Filthy Rich, Brad Edwards, a lawyer 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 has four children. Epstein reportedly attended the ceremony and even arranged the couple’s prenuptial agreement.
Wexner insists that he was duped by Epstein and ended their relationship after the predator’s first arrest in 2007, on charges of soliciting a minor for prostitution.
‘Being taken advantage of by someone who was so sick, so cunning, so depraved is something that I’m embarrassed that I was even close to,’ Wexner said during a speech in September 2019.
In a letter to his charitable foundation around the same time, Wexner claimed Epstein had ‘misappropriated vast 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 artist,’ Meister told Vanity Fair, saying that he now believes Epstein aggressively cultivated him in order to gain access to his billionaire friends.
Meister said that Epstein invited him to play racquetball and began showing up in the gym’s steam room while he was using it.
In one conversation, Epstein falsely claimed that he had evidence that Wexner’s money manager was stealing from him, and asked to meet the billionaire to offer his services as a financial ‘bounty hunter’.
Soon after introducing him to Wexner, Meister says he heard disturbing stories about Epstein’s sexual conduct, and cut off contact when Epstein arrived at his Madison Avenue apartment unannounced with five models for his sexual entertainment.
‘I told him, ‘Get the f*** out and I never want to see you again!’ Meister recalled. ‘Think of whatever the worst thing anyone could do is, and Epstein did them all.’
‘I walked away from Epstein a long time ago, and I’ve been trying to erase him from my mind ever since,’ he said.
U.S. financier Jeffrey Epstein is seen in a court sketch from July 2019. He first met Wexner in 1986 after an introduction through insurance mogul Robert Meister, who later cut ties
Wexner – worth an estimated $7.7billion at his height – bought 10,000 acres of land and built neo-Georgian mansions, a golf course, country club and his own luxury compound which includes a $47m, 30-room family residence in Ohio
Last month, Wexner severed his last official ties with the retail empire that he founded in 1963, stepping down from the board after resigning as CEO.
Wexner, 83, along with his wife Abigail, did not stand for reelection to the board in May.
In January, L Brands shareholders filed a lawsuit alleging that the retail tycoon and his wife not only knew about Epstein’s conduct but allowed him to ‘use their home for liaisons with victims.’
It further claims that Wexner was so close to Epstein that he ‘knew or should have known’ that the dead pedophile was posing as a modelling recruiter for Victoria’s Secret to prey on aspiring young girls.
The bombshell allegations are part of a shareholder lawsuit brought against senior leadership at L Brands, the global fashion retailer.