Update: Bond No.9 Racism Charges Dropped
We want to update you on a Daily News story we reported on, along with other media outlets, two years ago about the flagship Soho high-end perfume store Bond No.9 being hit with racism allegations by two former employees.
According to the Daily News, Veronica Robledo and Karin Widmann sued the owner Laurice Rahme, claiming that she was racist.
Rahme counter-sued, accusing both women of stealing clients to develop their own business.
They also claimed Rahme used a code phrase to alert security when black customers entered the store.
“We need the light bulbs changed,” was reportedly the signal for an unwelcome customer, according to the lawsuit.
However, Laurice Rahme reached out to Black Enterprise this afternoon, categorically denying all the allegations and sending court documents stating that all the charges in the lawsuit have been dropped.
She also tells Black Enterprise that the same two employees, Robledo and Widmann had also dropped a second lawsuit against the company for alleged non-payment of wages.
In a statement sent to BE, Rahme also claims the two women have “without any monetary payment whatsoever from or on behalf of me or my company(1) voluntarily withdrawn both lawsuits against me and my company; and (2) signed a written retraction in which they withdrew all their allegations and claims in the August 2012 complaint referenced in your article.”
She goes on to say “As you are no doubt aware, reputation-damaging lawsuits such as these are frequently and quickly settled out of court for some monetary payment to avoid continuing negative publicity. In this case, however, the claims against me and my company were so blatantly false, insulting and personally and professionally damaging, that I never considered any option but to defend against these allegations.”
However, Walker Harman Jr., the Attorney representing both Robledo and Widmann tells Black Enterprise that though the charges have indeed been dropped both women never signed any written retraction withdrawing their claims.
Mr. Harman Jr. says although the lawsuits were dismissed voluntarily by all litigants, his clients made a decision to put the whole thing behind them because it was becoming too time-consuming and expensive.
He added that his clients still stand by each allegation of race discrimination.
Bond No. 9 says they take enormous pride in their multinational, multi-ethnic staff, and their multitudes of customers from all over New York, the United States, and the world.