Naomie Olindo’s former business partner is suing the ‘Southern Charm’ star for fraud and breach of contract after she was allegedly ousted from their fashion business, L’Abeye.
In the complaint exclusively obtained by Page Six, Virginia “Ginny” Cox claims that Olindo, 30, used deceptive tactics to retain control of the business, embezzle funds and even prevent him from landing a new job after their separation.
The former retail store manager and buyer – who filed a lawsuit in Charleston, South Carolina, on September 19 – said the reality TV star approached her about joining this joint venture as a co-owner with a 50% stake in early 2018 due to her fashion background.
In the early days of the clothing brand, Cox and Olindo traveled around Los Angeles to meet salespeople, worked together to create a logo, website, and help promote the business.
Before the company launched in June 2018, Olindo got a $50,000 loan from his father to provide start-up capital, but Cox says Bravolebrity used it as a reason to withhold profits.
According to Cox, Olindo also hired solicitor Brian Collie from Buxton & Collie and had him set up L’Abeye as a “single member limited liability company”, in which “she was the sole member and owner”.
“Plaintiff had no knowledge of this misrepresentation made to Collie,” the lawsuit says, adding that the failure to include Cox as a member of the LLC “actually and intentionally” deprived her of “her interests legitimate in the company”.
Cox claims she had spent hundreds of hours helping to build the brand and the two women had agreed that they were co-owners. The fashion merchandising degree holder also says, according to the lawsuit, that Olindo mentioned they were business partners in several podcasts and media interviews.
In the complaint, Cox also explains how his work ethic was allegedly much stronger than Olindo’s.
“From the initial launch of the business in early 2018 until May 19, 2022, the applicant
worked almost every day to ensure the success of L’Abeye,” say its lawyers.
By comparison, the lawsuit adds that Olindo allegedly “took frequent vacations and did not assist in L’Abeye operations for weeks at a time.”
Although the fashion brand became “very successful and profitable” by generating “significant gross revenues and substantial profits”, Cox claims that she did not receive the dues she was owed and the appropriate salary on which they stood. would be heard.
“Because Olindo controlled the bank account, the plaintiff was unaware of the
amount of funds that Olindo was embezzling,” the lawsuit alleges.
Cox also alleges, according to his lawyers, that at times the TV star “mentioned” to him that “funds in the account were low”, which seemed disproportionate to the revenue and profits made.
Following contentious conversations about the company’s accounting, Olindo reportedly “excluded ‘Cox’ from any financial information.”
According to the lawsuit, Olindo allegedly “illegally fired” Cox on May 19, 2022 and restricted his access to company technology and assets.
The disgruntled fashion buyer also claims her former business partner ‘urged’ potential new employers to ‘not hire her’ after they stopped working together.
Cox claims in the complaint that she has “suffered and/or will continue to suffer mental pain and suffering, mental anguish, intimidation, embarrassment and loss of income” as a result of the “libelous and defamatory statements ” from Olindo that she allegedly stole from him.
She also adds that the Bravo star allegedly “used his status, his training and [their] friendship” to make her “totally dependent” during their relationship.
Cox seeks a jury trial and sued Olindo for 14 causes of action, including breach of contract, dissolution of partnership, fraud, and defamation.
She claims she is entitled to damages that total her 50% stake in L’Abeye, as well as “consequential damages” caused by her ex-partner’s “breach of agreement”.
A lawyer for Olindo told Page Six on Thursday, “Our client does not comment publicly on ongoing litigation. However, it is obvious that these allegations made by a disgruntled former employee are false and misleading. We will soon be filing an official response to these allegations which will help set the record straight. »
Meanwhile, Cox said in a statement to Page Six Thursday via his attorney, “Ms. Cox and Ms. Olindo built and managed L’Abeye as partners from the start. For more than four years, Ms. Cox has invested her heart and soul in the business.
“While Ms. Cox has done everything to resolve this issue amicably among friends, she had no choice but to take this legal action when Ms. Olindo refused to acknowledge her involvement in L’Abeye. “
The statement concludes: “Mrs. Cox only asks what the pair agreed to all along. She remains hopeful that Mrs. Olindo will do the right thing and recognize her as the owner of the business, as Mrs. Olindo has always done in the past.