The ‘Tax the Rich’ Met Gala dress worn by Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez is still vivid in everyone’s memory. However, as more information about the garment becomes available, the emphasis changes to the designer, Aurora James.
James has been exposed for failing to pay taxes owed by her company. With the New York Post reporting that James owes close to $130,000 in taxes, it’s understandable that people are curious about her net worth.
With great popularity and attention comes great scrutiny, and James is now being chastised for not following through on her own fashion statement of taxing the wealthy, while stating that the design was intended to convey a “powerful message.”
The James brands may have garnered her celebrities like Rihanna and Meghan Markle, but as their famous clientele grew, so did the number of tax warrants issued against her business.
The ‘Tax the Rich’ dress designer whom @AOC went to the Met Gala with:
• Owes $103,220 in back taxes
• Received $41,666 in PPP
• Has ‘legions’ of unpaid interns
• Owes $62,722 in workers comp
• Still found $250,000 for a table at the Met Galahttps://t.co/yXsU5eqKwi
— Frank Luntz (@FrankLuntz) September 18, 2021
Despite owing hundreds of thousands of dollars in back taxes, Aurora reportedly purchased a $1.6 million Hollywood Hills home in Sept. 2020, for which she presently owes $2,504 in property taxes. The mansion is roughly 7,100-square-foot and features three bedrooms, two bathrooms, a master bedroom fireplace, and a patio hot tub.
In the meantime, Cultural Brokerage Agency is accused of neglecting to pay benefits to its employees. The company was fined $17,000 by the Worker’s Compensation Board in Oct. 2019 for not having worker’s compensation insurance from March 2017 to Feb. 2018. When an employee gets injured at work and needs to take time off as a result, the insurance amount is paid out.
The majority of the tax problems for the 37-year-old designer stem from Cultural Brokerage Agency, an LLC she founded in 2011 to act as the parent business of her fashion label, Brother Vellies.
According to the state Department of Taxation and Finance, her business has three outstanding tax warrants for failing to deduct income taxes from employees’ paychecks totalling $14,798 and served with 15 warrants since 2015. The debts were accrued prior to the outbreak of the pandemic.
After evaluating the liens, David Cenedella, a taxes instructor at Baruch College, stated, “Just because they take money out of your salary doesn’t mean they’re giving it to the government.” adding “It’s not something you’re looking for. I wouldn’t say this is something that every company has. Something didn’t work out.”
Aurora James, on the other hand, is unaffected. David Cenedella continued, she has not made a single payment on the $62,722 she owes the board.
Former employees, on the other hand, portrayed Brother Veilles as a sweatshop that relied heavily on unpaid interns doing full-time employment.
“I experienced a lot of harassment when I worked for her,” a dismissed former employee told The Washington Post on condition of anonymity.
“Aurora would ask me to do things that were not in anyone’s job description, like scheduling her gynecological appointments. The work environment was so hostile that I was afraid to ask for my check.” further more she is a “cold” one and never offered her team any “credit or acknowledgement.”