Brooks Brothers’ billionaire previous entrepreneurs are sued over its bankruptcy

A pedestrian walks previous a closed Brooks Brothers shop, pursuing the outbreak of coronavirus condition (COVID-19) in the Manhattan borough of New York Metropolis, New York, U.S., July 23, 2020. REUTERS/Carlo Allegri

The billionaire Italian spouse and children that until just lately owned Brooks Brothers has been accused in a lawsuit of driving the iconic clothing retailer into individual bankruptcy instead of selling it, to steer clear of paying out tens of millions of dollars to an trader.

In a criticism on Monday, Hong Kong apparel maker Tal Apparel explained Claudio Del Vecchio and his son Matteo pressured it to devote $100 million in Brooks Brothers in 2016, and promised it would be “built full” if they later on offered the retailer for less than $652 million.

The complaint reported the Del Vecchios lined up “many” bids for Brooks Brothers in 2019, right before the COVID-19 pandemic, but did not pursue them because they would owe Tal dollars, and even questioned if Tal would just take a “haircut” on any payment.

As a substitute, the relatives put Brooks Brothers into Chapter 11 previous July, producing Tal’s authentic financial commitment “virtually worthless,” according to the grievance in Manhattan federal court docket.

The defendants include the Del Vecchios and Delfin SARL, a keeping corporation for family members investments which include eye have on big EssilorLuxottica (ESLX.PA) and Mediobanca (MDBI.MI). Claudio Del Vecchio purchased Brooks Brothers in 2001.

A particular person close to the Del Vecchios stated: “The allegations in the complaint are wrong and we assume the court docket will dismiss the scenario.” Delfin, which owns a smaller Brooks Brothers stake, declined to comment.

Tal is trying to find $100 million of damages, less sums received from Brooks Brothers’ personal bankruptcy estate.

The 70-yr-old household-run firm reported it will make a person in six dress shirts marketed in the United States, and Brooks Brothers had been its most significant customer.

Forbes magazine reported on Tuesday the Del Vecchio household is worthy of $27.9 billion.

Founded in 1818, Brooks Brothers is the oldest constantly operating U.S. clothing manufacturer, recognised for its satisfies, preppy clothes, and dressing 40 U.S. presidents including Abraham Lincoln, John F. Kennedy and Barack Obama.

A venture backed by licensing organization Reliable Brand names Group and mall owner Simon Property Team (SPG.N) obtained Brooks Brothers in personal bankruptcy for $325 million.

The case is Castle Clothing Ltd et al v Del Vecchio et al, U.S. District Court, Southern District of New York, No. 21-04406.

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