Southern Charm: Naomie Olindo Sued for Fraud and Breach of Contract by Ex Business Partner Over L’Abeye Fashion
Naomie Olindo is being sued for breach of contract and fraud, according to a complaint obtained by Page Six. The plaintiff in the lawsuit – her former business partner Virginia “Ginny” Cox – was allegedly ousted from L’Abeye, the fashion brand they started in 2018.
Virginia accuses the Southern Charm star of misappropriating money, using deceptive tactics to keep control of the brand, and preventing Virginia from getting a future job.
The former buyer and retail store manager filed the suit in Charleston last month, and she claims Naomie asked her to be a 50-percent-stake co-owner due to her fashion experience, per Page Six.
When they started the company, Virginia and Naomie went to L.A. to meet vendors, create a website and logo, and promote the business. Before it was launched, Naomie’s father allegedly gave a $50K loan for startup capital. Virginia alleges Naomie utilized this as justification for withholding profits as they moved forward.
Naomie allegedly used a lawyer to make L’Abeye a “sole member limited liability company,” and “she was the sole member and owner.”
Virginia alleges she worked “hundreds” of hours for the company, which included travel to meet vendors.
“Plaintiff had no knowledge of this false representation made to Collie,” said the suit, which also claims the failure to make Virginia an LLC member “effectively and intentionally” took away “her legitimate interests in the business.”
Virginia claims Naomie called her a business partner in multiple media interviews and podcasts. According to the complaint, Virginia’s work ethic purportedly was much greater than the reality star’s.
“From the initial launch of the business in early 2018 until May 19, 2022, Plaintiff worked nearly every day to ensure the success of L’Abeye,” says Virginia’s lawyer.
Meanwhile, Naomie allegedly “took frequent vacations and failed to assist with the operations of L’Abeye for weeks at a time.”
Although the company became “very successful and profitable” by gaining “significant gross revenue and substantial profit,” Naomie purportedly didn’t pay Virginia what was owed, including the salary they’d agreed on.
“Because Olindo was controlling the bank account, Plaintiff was unaware of the amount of funds that Olindo was misappropriating,” says the suit.
Virginia alleges that Naomie would sometimes “mention” that the “account funds were low.” This, however, seemed disproportionate to the profits they allegedly gained.
After having contentious discussions about the accounting, Naomie allegedly “excluded” Virginia “from any information about the finances.”
The suit claims Naomie “terminated” Virginia illegally in May, and she prevented her ability to access the business’s assets and technology. Naomie allegedly “urged” Virginia’s potential employers “not to hire” the buyer after they parted ways.
The complaint says Virginia has “suffered and/or will continue to suffer mental pain and suffering, mental anguish, intimidation, embarrassment, and lost income” because of Naomie’s “slanderous and defamatory statements” indicating she allegedly stole from the Bravolebrity.
The buyer also alleges Naomie “used her status, educational background, and [their] friendship” as a way for Virginia to be “fully dependent” within the partnership.
Virginia is suing Naomie for 14 causes, which include fraud, breach of contract, defamation, and dissolution of partnership, and she wants a trial by jury.
Virginia alleges she deserves damages that total the 50 percent stake, and “consequential damages” created by Naomie’s “breach of the agreement.”
On Thursday, Naomie’s lawyer told the outlet, “Our client does not comment publicly on pending litigation. However, obviously these allegations made by a disgruntled former employee are false and misleading. We will soon be filing a formal response to these allegations that will help to set the record straight.”
Virginia’s attorney, however, told Page Six, “Ms. Cox and Ms. Olindo built and managed L’Abeye as partners from the very beginning. For more than four years, Ms. Cox poured her heart and soul into the business … While Ms. Cox did everything she could to resolve this amicably as between friends, she had no choice but to file this lawsuit when Ms. Olindo refused to recognize her ownership interest in L’Abeye.”
The lawyer continued, “Ms. Cox is only asking for what the pair agreed to from the start. She remains hopeful that Ms. Olindo will do the right thing and recognize her as an owner of the business, like Ms. Olindo has consistently done in the past.”