Ohio State University announced on Tuesday that it is reviewing donations it received from Jeffrey Epstein and an affiliated foundation and “will take additional action as appropriate.”
The CUOQ Foundation, Epstein’s private foundation, anonymously donated $2.5 million to to Ohio State in May 2017, the university said in a written statement. That donation was part of a partial fulfillment of a $5 million pledge made in 2005 to support the Woody Hayes Athletic Center.
The Leslie H. Wexner Charitable Fund made an additional $2.5 million gift in 2007, and together, the two gifts were applied to the naming of the Les Wexner Football Complex, the university said.
The donation and and the naming of the football complex center was a 70th birthday surprise to the billionaire businessman from his wife, Abigail Wexner, The Dispatch reported at the time.
Epstein, the 66-year-old New York financier, was indicted on charges of sexually exploiting and abusing dozens of underage girls between 2002 and 2005. He previously pleaded guilty in 2008 in Florida to state charges of soliciting a minor for prostitution, ending a case that began with a 53-page federal indictment that could have resulted in a lengthy prison sentence.
Wexner, L Brands founder and Ohio State University Wexner Medical Center board chairman, had a long history with Epstein. Epstein was a financial advisor for Wexner for years. He was identified as a president of the New Albany Co. in Ohio business records along with Wexner, and owned land in the New Albany development before selling it to the Wexners in 2007 for $0.
The Dispatch reported Friday that Epstein donated nearly $47 million to a foundation that Wexner’s wife, Abigail, launched in 2007. It was the only donation the fund received. Wexner told employees on Monday that he had cut ties with Epstein 12 years ago and was never aware of any illegal activity.
Epstein also donated $1,000 to the Wexner Center for the Arts Membership Fund in 1990, the university said.
The university initiated a review of gifts and donations “in light of recent news surrounding Jeffrey Epstein,” the school’s statement said.
“Epstein is a convicted sex offender whose crimes are reprehensible, and his association with these gifts to the university is concerning,” the university’s statement said. “Ohio State is conducting a complete review of the giving history to the university by Epstein and known associated entities and will take additional action as appropriate.”