Aurora James, the designer of the “Tax the Rich” dress worn by Democratic New York Rep. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez, has a history of dodging taxes and unpaid debts.
Cultural Brokerage Agency, the LLC company that leads James’ fashion brand “Brother Vellies,” received three open tax warrants in New York for its failure to withhold a total of $14,798 in taxes from its employee paychecks between 2018 and 2019, according to the New York Post. Since 2015, the company has been slapped with 15 tax warrants, the outlet reported.
The Internal Revenue Service (IRS) placed six federal liens on Cultural Brokerage Agency for its failure to pay the sufficient sum of money that is intended to be taken out of its employees’ payroll. The company owes a total sum of $103,220 to the IRS, however, it received $41,666 in relief aid throughout the COVID-19 pandemic, according to the New York Post.
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
The State Worker’s Compensation Board fined the company $17,000 in October 2019, for its failure to carry worker’s compensation insurance between March 2017 and February 2018, and currently owes $62,722, which has yet to be paid back, a representative told the outlet.
In August 2020, James’ landlord filed papers to evict the fashion brand from its Brooklyn property and requested $25,000 plus interest for remaining on the property past the end of her lease, the New York Post reported. A former landlord of James reportedly sued her in February 2018 for $5,000 in unpaid rent at her previous address in Manhattan.
James reportedly owes $2,504 in property taxes on her $1.6 million, 7,095 square foot, Tudor-style home in Los Angeles that she purchased in September 2020, the New York Post reported. The Los Angeles County assessor’s office listed the property as “delinquent” due to the large sum of unpaid property tax. The house is designed with cathedral ceilings, a backyard hot tub, and a master bedroom fireplace, the New York Post reported.
James attended the Met Gala on Sept. 13 alongside Ocasio-Cortez, whose dress featured the phrase “Tax the Rich” in large, red letters down the back. During an interview, Ocasio-Cortez touted their “working class” background despite attending a lavish event. (RELATED: Ocasio-Cortez’s Attendance At Lavish Met Gala Draws Ethics Complaint)
Republican New York. Rep. Nicole Malliotakis called Ocasio-Cortez’s appearance at the Met Gala “the height of hypocrisy” for wearing a luxury dress by a designer who reportedly dodges taxes.
“It’s the height of hypocrisy when socialists attend a $30,000 per ticket gala with a message of ‘tax the rich’ while wearing an overpriced dress by a luxury designer who doesn’t pay taxes,” Malliotakis told the outlet. “What happened to everyone paying their fair share?”
The Socialist Party of Ireland criticized Ocasio-Cortez for attending the Met Gala, arguing that she “dined with the class enemy” and “alienated” herself from the working class.
“AOC should have been out in the streets not inside the palace,” the official party’s account tweeted. “Dining with the class enemy, despite whatever good intentions, will alienate you from the working class.”