It’s been over a year since Victoria’s Secret owner, L Brands, claimed it was contracting a law firm for the investigation of the alleged close ties between convicted sexual offender Jeffery Epstein and Leslie H. Wexner, the company’s billionaire founder. However, the review seems to have faded away, and no news has been made public.
After Jeffrey’s arrest in July 2019, stories about his influence over the retail tycoon’s wealth and how he might have used his connection to the megastore to prey on innocent women made the company claim that lawyers had been hired to thoroughly review the matter.
The lingerie giant hired Davis Polk and Wardwell law firm, a firm that the company had relied on for years and one that had once employed Abigail, Mr. Wexner’s wife. However, no details on the investigation have been released yet. Additionally, former employees of Victoria’s Secret claim that no lawyers have ever contacted them.
Another inquiry has now started at the company. In May, a shareholder lawsuit claimed L. Brands was too tight with Davis Polk to be justly independent. In February, the shareholder asked the board to hire another firm or find a replacement for Davis Polk for the review of Mr. Epstein and Mr. Wexner’s relationship.
Last month, around five former and current Victoria’s Secret personnel were shocked to be contacted by a lawyer with no relation to Davis Polk. The lawyer was Sarah K. Eddy, the partner of Rosen, Lipton, Watchell & Katz. She said she was starting an investigation on two independent board members of L Brands: Anne Sheehan and recently appointed chairwoman, Sarah Nash.
The New York Times obtained an email that read Ms. Eddy had claimed her firm was looking into allegations raised in civil complaints and shareholder demand letters concerning connections between Jeffery Epstein and L Brands. The former personnel, who requested anonymity, all claimed they had received such emails and calls. Shareholder complaints have also brought concerns about a culture of misogyny and harassment and allegations of misconduct at L Brands and Victoria’s Secrets.
Sarah Nash, a former JPMorgan Chase executive and Novagard Solutions chief executive, and Anne Sheehan, a corporate governance expert, joined the board for L Brands last year following the influence of an activist investor who rallied for more diversity as well as less directors with social and business ties to the Wexner family.
The latest investigation is another shock for Victoria’s Secret and L Brands just months after their plan to sell the lingerie company to a private firm was foiled by the pandemic.
Source: New York Times