Les Wexner

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Biography

Family and early life

Business empire

Political ventures

Epstein scandal

Main article: Jeffrey Epstein

Occupations

Corporations

Interest groups

Universities

  • Ohio State University: Trustee (1988-1997, 2005-2012) and chairman of the board of trustees (2009-2012)

Controversies

Organized crime links

Pro-Israel lobbying

Jeffrey Epstein ties

Main article: Jeffrey Epstein

Epstein victim Maria Farmer claimed that Wexner was "the head of the snake", implying that he ultimately ran this sexual blackmail operation which ensnared prominent figures throughout the country.

Political connections

Supported politicians

In 1986, Wexner donated $50,000 to Democratic Party entities. For the 1990 Ohio gubernatorial race, however, Wexner instead gave $50,000 to Republican candidate George Voinovich.[1] It is notable that Voinovich's campaign manager Paul Mifsud was a reported CIA asset close to George H.W. Bush who later worked with Wexner in a venture to move the CIA drug trafficking airline Southern Air Transport to Ohio.

During the presidency of George W. Bush, Wexner was a strong proponent of their foreign policy agenda in Iraq, serving (through the Mega Group) as one of their key de-facto lobbying forces from outside the government. Since the end of Bush's presidency, he has had an even more direct association with members of the Bush family. In 2014, George W. Bush was tapped to headline the New Albany Community Foundation benefit event hosted at the Wexner home.[2] And in 2015 Wexner as a major donor of a half-million dollars to a super-PAC supporting Jeb Bush for president.[3]

In 2018, Wexner publicly announced that he was leaving the Republican Party and becoming an independent. He cited his perceived stark contrast between Barack Obama's "candor, humility and empathy" at a recent speech and Donald Trump's embrace of white nationalists the previous year.[4] Given the likely role of Wexner in supervising a sexual blackmail operation that ensnared Trump among many others, it is plausible that Wexner's comments were more for the sake of public consumption than for expressing his genuine thoughts on Trump.

Intelligence operatives

Main articles: Jeffrey Epstein, Paul Mifsud, Southern Air Transport, Mega Group

Corporate connections

See also

References

  1. Chillicothe Gazette, "No blanket support for Celebreeze's campaign", 1990/06/11
  2. Columbus Dispatch, "Former President George W. Bush tapped to speak at Wexner home", 2014/07/10
  3. Columbus Dispatch, "Les Wexner cuts $500,000 check for Jeb Bush", 2015/07/31
  4. Columbus Dispatch, "Les Wexner renounces Republican Party affiliation after Obama stops in Columbus", 2018/09/15

External links

Social circles

  • New York Times, "The Feud and the Fakes", 2007/10/15: "THERE are no commercial signs to besmirch the limestone facade of Carlton Hobbs’s 51-room mansion on East 93rd Street, but it is from this building, originally the home of the socialite Virginia Graham Fair Vanderbilt, that Mr. Hobbs has been selling museum-quality antiques at eye-popping prices for the last three years and staking his claim to the top tier of the New York market. Mr. Hobbs, 51, a reclusive Englishman who favors jeans and baseball caps, has enjoyed a sterling professional reputation since coming to New York. These days, he would seem to have little in common with his 62-year-old brother and former business partner, John Hobbs, a London dealer known for razzle-dazzle salesmanship and, for the last several months, a scandal involving the manufacture and sale of fake antiques. [...] According to Rupert Hobbs, Carlton, who was shy and studious, clashed frequently with his flamboyant, freewheeling older brother, and the two men split acrimoniously in 1993, when John left to start his own store on Pimlico Road. “My dad is quite lazy but a fantastic salesman,” Rupert Hobbs said, offering one explanation for the schism. [...] [Carlton] Hobbs declined to reveal the names of private clients, but the list is widely believed to include the billionaires Leslie H. Wexner, chairman of Limited Brands, and Stephen A. Schwarzman, chief executive of the Blackstone Group, as well as the influential designers Peter Marino and Bunny Williams."

Political involvement

Organized crime

  • Bob Fitrakis, "Police accidently release a report linking Leslie Wexner and the Mob", 1998/07/16: "The ghost of Arthur Shapiro—a prominent local attorney who was slain in a 1985 “mob-style murder”—continues to haunt the City of Columbus. Shapiro’s doomed soul was resurrected recently when the Columbus Division of Police released the controversial—and once believed destroyed—document investigating his death. Columbus Alive obtained a copy of the “Shapiro Homicide Investigation: Analysis and Hypothesis” report through a public records request on Friday. As previously reported in Alive, the report confirms that the name of central Ohio billionaire Leslie Wexner was linked “with associates reputed to be organized crime figures.” [...] Leupp concluded, “From the predicate facts presented, it appears that Les Wexner had established contact with associates reputed to be organized crime figures, one of whom was a major investment partner and another was using The Limited headquarters as a mailing address.” “It is not known whether there are other such figures among Wexner’s associates, but it can be hypothesized that the Genovese/LaRocca crime families might consider Wexner a friend,” Leupp speculated."

Mega Group

  • Wall Street Journal, "Titans of Industry Join Forces To Work for Jewish Philanthropy", 1998/05/04: "When movie mogul Steven Spielberg, Seagram Chairman Edgar Bronfman Sr. and former hedge-fund manager Michael Steinhardt met at Mr. Steinhardt's Manhattan apartment last month, the main topic was neither films nor high finance but considerably more complex than either: being Jewish.

    The three men, among others, were convened for a meeting of the "Study Group," also known informally as the "Mega Group," a loosely organized club of 20 of the nation's wealthiest and most influential Jewish businessmen. Formed seven years ago by Leslie Wexner, chairman of Limited Inc. and Charles Bronfman, Edgar's brother and Seagram Co. cochairman, the group meets twice a year for two days of seminars on topics related to philanthropy and Jewishness. At the April meeting, Mr. Spielberg spoke about his personal religious journey, and then the group discussed Jewish summer camps."
  • Bob Fitrakis, "The Wexner War", 2003/08/01
    • "Wexner’s philanthropic side is more public. In 1998, the Wall Street Journal reported that Wexner was part of the “‘Mega Group,’ a loosely organized club of 20 of the nation’s wealthiest and most influential Jewish businessmen.” The Mega Group meets purportedly to discuss “philanthropy,” but others have speculated that their charitable interests are often a cover for lobbying activities on behalf of Israel. The Wall Street Journal identified Max Fisher, a Detroit financier and billionaire, as a member of the Mega Group. Fisher was used as a private Middle East diplomat by President Gerald Ford during the 1970s and is considered Wexner’s mentor."
    • "Lobbying groups like the Mega Group and government insiders like Wolfowitz and Richard Pearle are engaged in a systematic campaign to identify Israeli national security interests with U.S. military and security interests. The Wexner Analysis merely documents this extensive, often covert campaign, that deserves public debate and democratic discourse, not secret PR campaigns."

US intelligence ties

  • Bob Fitrakis, "Spook Air", 1999/04/22: "Something’s rotten at Rickenbacker Port Authority. Maybe it’s just the stench of the bankrupt corpse of Southern Air Transport, or the moldering smell of the $3 million the state pumped into the notorious airline before it folded. Ohio taxpayers are among the more than 800 creditors now lined up to file claims against “Spook Air.” SAT filed for bankruptcy in Columbus on October 1, 1998, the same day the Central Intelligence Agency Inspector General issued a report linking the cargo hauler to allegations of drug-running in connection with U.S.-backed Contra rebels in Nicaragua in the 1980s. [...] News accounts show that The Limited owner Leslie Wexner played a role in SAT’s relocation to Rickenbacker."