Daily Distraction: Vanity Fair goes deep on the Wexner-Epstein connection

Gabriel Sherman examines the disgraced financier's long-standing business ties to local billionaire and L Brands founder Les Wexner

Joel Oliphint
Columbus Alive
FILE- In this July 30, 2008 file photo, Jeffrey Epstein appears in court in West Palm Beach, Fla. Epstein has died by suicide while awaiting trial on sex-trafficking charges, says person briefed on the matter, Saturday, Aug. 10, 2019. (AP Photo/Palm Beach Post, Uma Sanghvi, File)

Today, Vanity Fair published a longform feature story by Gabriel Sherman titled "The Mogul and the Monster: Inside Jeffrey Epstein's Decades-Long Relationship with his Biggest Client." For the article, Sherman spoke to more than 30 people who had firsthand encounters with Epstein or Les Wexner, the billionaire L Brands founder who hired the disgraced financier to work for him in the '80s.

Ever since Epstein died in his prison cell in August of 2019 after being arrested on sex-trafficking charges, Wexner has attempted to distance himself as much as possible from the man who used to manage his finances. Sherman's story investigates just how closely the two were tied together, and it's rife with quotes from Wexner acquaintances who warned the billionaire not to trust Epstein, including Wexner's mother and close friend Robert Meister, whose firm handled insurance for The Limited. (Meister's interview marks the first time he has spoken on the record about the Wexner-Epstein relationship.)

More:What the Jeffrey Epstein Scandal Means to Columbus and Les Wexner

Set aside some time to give the whole story a read

Wexner stepped down from the L Brands board in March, and the Dispatch recently reported that on June 1, Wexner and wife Abigail, along with entities they control, disposed of 5 million shares of L Brands — a total of $326 million. In March, the Wexners sold off 3 million shares for a total of about $178 million.