Oh this saga of billionaires with preppy clothing lines just gets closer to becoming Revenge everyday. A Russian billionaire has now entered the picture of the Tory Burch/Chris Burch Tory Burch LLC/C. Wonder business battle. We are only a few months away from a bald evil villain with one eye making an appearance.
In case you aren’t familiar with the case, Chris Burch, her ex, has filed a six-count lawsuit against his ex-wife and former business partner as well as the boardmembers of Tory Burch LLC and Isla Capital, a subsidiary of a private equity firm with a stake in the company. According to NYMag, Chris is accusing Tory of tortious interference, a legal term for intentionally sabotaging his contractual or other business relationships.
Chris is accusing the defendants of interfering with his business, C.Wonder, and hurting his attempts to sell his shares in Tory Burch. He as well as Tory each own a 28.3% stake of Tory Burch LLC.
But the other problem is that C.Wonder designs remind us of someone else’s. What do the designs remind us of? TORY BURCH. C. Wonder, was accused of trade dress infringement or usurpation of corporate opportunity, technically from his ex-wife’s brand, by Tory. Both companies sell preppy, colorful attire and promote a certain type of lifestyle. If he sells his stake then he can try to compete more with Tory Burch LLC but if he owns stake in the company, it will make it harder for him to compete. This is why Tory is motivated to keep Chris on as a shareholder. “I don’t see any correlation,” he says to Vanity Fair. “I have said in various other comments that the interiors and products are quite different.” He adds, “C. Wonder is an experience . . . Tory Burch is an upscale women’s-wear destination.”
And let’s not forget the case’s trial judge who perfectly labeled this case as a ” a “drunken WASP fest.” And now it seems that sabotage is starting to make an appearance.
In court papers obtained by “Extra,” Tory accused Chris of spying on her company, claiming a Russian billionaire helped Chris steal company secrets by placing a double agent on the board.
The papers allege Chris Burch had a secret “financial relationship” with billionaire investor Len Blavatnik — despite the fact that Blavatnik is also a big investor in Tory Burch’s company and controls a seat on its board.
According to Forbes, Blavatnik’s apparent investment in Tory Burch LLC and C. Wonder may not actually be legal. “If Tory Burch LLC were to uncover evidence that Blavatnik ‘usurped a corporate opportunity’, that could raise the possibility of a claim for breach of fiduciary duty,” one corporate lawyer told Forbes.
Tory and her lawyers actually have quite a long list of issues they are requesting Chris explain including email correspondence and evidence of his business travel from 2008 through this October.
You cannot write this kind of drama!