Before Jeffrey Epstein moved into his infamous Manhattan townhome, it was owned by the clothing billionaire, Les Wexner, and left unoccupied for years.
The Columbus-based businessman, who owned Victoria’s Secret, embarked in the 1990s on an interior makeover of the former school.
The house was featured in the December 1995 edition of Architectural Digest.
Ummm there is a Picasso in the top photo. A real one. That’s some serious money. Who knew that clothing retail was so lucrative?!
A New York Times reporter, Christopher Mason, also wrote about the house around the time Epstein first took up residence.
Here’s some of what we wrote: “WHAT is the latest status symbol of the ultra rich? A spectacular residence they purchase for millions, reconfigure with the world’s leading architects and interior designers for even more millions, then elect not to live in.
Such is the fate of one of Manhattan’s largest town houses, a majestic stone mansion at 9 East 71st Street. Possessing some 21,000 square feet, the house was recently the uninhabited domain of Leslie H. Wexner, the founding chairman of the Limited Inc., the retailing company.
Mr. Wexner bought the house in 1989 for $13.2 million and lavished tens of millions on renovations, art and furnishings. Those curious to see the princely accommodations Mr. Wexner abandoned need look no further than the cover of last month’s Architectural Digest. When asked how long Mr. Wexner had occupied the property, Jeffrey Epstein, his protege and one of his financial advisers, replied, “Les never spent more than two months there.”
Visitors described a bathroom reminiscent of James Bond movies: hidden beneath a stairway, lined with lead to provide shelter from attack and supplied with closed-circuit television screens and a telephone, both concealed in a cabinet beneath the sink. The house also has a heated sidewalk.
The seven-story house was built by the society architect Horace Trumbauer in 1933 for Herbert N. Straus, an heir to the Macy’s fortune, who died before it was completed. (Mr. Trumbauer also built Clarendon Court in Newport, R.I., the former home of Sunny and Claus von Bulow.) The Straus house later became a convalescent home and the Birch Wathen School, making Mr. Wexner the first private resident — or at least, the first private nonresident.”
Reached in Florida last week, Epstein confirmed the house was his home.”
The question remains – why did Wexner give Epstein the townhome?
Want more? Click here.