NEW YORK — Marc Jacobs International is caught up in a bribery scandal involving its favorite show space, the 69th Regiment Armory — and is the subject of a criminal investigation as a result.
The former superintendent of Manhattan's 69th Regiment Armory, James Jackson, has been indicted on charges of demanding more than $30,000 to allow the space to be used by the designer and for other events. Marc Jacobs International allegedly made payoffs to Jackson through the designer's public relations firm, KCD Public Relations, to reserve the national historic landmark on key dates, New York State Attorney General Andrew Cuomo said at a press conference Wednesday.
Neither Marc Jacobs International nor KCD was accused in the indictment, which was unsealed Wednesday. Cuomo said the investigation was continuing to determine if payments to Jackson, who was a public employee, constituted a crime.
While the designer is cooperating fully with the probe, it could face charges of its own. A spokesman for the attorney general's office told WWD, "Marc Jacobs International is the subject of an ongoing criminal investigation by the attorney general and we cannot comment further."
The spokesman declined to say whether KCD is involved in any further investigation.
"We have been and are cooperating fully with the New York State Attorney General's office in its investigation of this matter,'' a Marc Jacobs spokesman said. "We are using the armory for this week's fashion shows with the full knowledge and consent of the attorney general's office."
A lawyer for KCD said the p.r. firm was also cooperating with Cuomo's inquiry.
The armory, a cavernous space on Lexington Avenue between 25th and 26th Streets, has been the site of Marc Jacobs' shows for several years. The Marc Jacobs New York Fashion Week runway show is scheduled for 7 p.m. Friday and the Marc by Marc Jacobs event was held at the armory on Tuesday.
The investigation began when the attorney general's office received a tip — the complainant was not identified — that the superintendent of the armory had demanded payoffs from a vendor. Law enforcement launched an undercover investigation, which lead them to Marc Jacobs' show producer and others, and resulted in Jackson's arrest and indictment on 31 felony counts, including extortion, bribery and grand larceny. The bribes included cash as well as exercise and computer equipment, law enforcement authorities said.The 69th Regiment Armory rents for about $6,000 a day for commercial events, excluding utilities, security and insurance coverage, officials said.
The other companies named in the investigation that led to the indictment were Ramsay Art Fairs and the International Carpet Show.
Jackson pleaded not guilty at his arraignment Wednesday before State Supreme Court Justice Lewis B. Stone. If convicted, he faces more than 20 years in prison. He had worked for the New York State Division of Military and Naval Affairs for 30 years and was the armory superintendent for eight years until his arrest in October.
Jackson's lawyer, Alan Abramson, declined comment.
The armory has been the headquarters of New York's Fighting 69th Regiment since 1904, and houses other military units deployed in Afghanistan and Iraq.
Cuomo and State Inspector General Kristine Hamann said they intended to audit the city's other armories as well.
@tradesy is turning the concept of a showroom upside down with its new space in Santa Monica. Here, the company plans to hold events, art exhibits and a showcase rare fashion pieces like this Louis Vuitton boxing set. Get all the details on Tradesy’s first showroom on WWD.com. #wwdnews
Spotted last night at the @erdem x @hm launch event: Kate Bosworth, Rashida Jones, Kirsten Dunst and Selma Blair. The party, which took place in LA, also marked the opening of their pop-up shop. “I was interested in creating a collection that wasn’t in any way disposable. It was about pieces you’d create and keep forever, things that have a permanence to it,” designer Erdem Moralioglu said. #wwdeye (📷: Katie Jones)
Renee Zellweger in yellow in 2001 and again in 2017. Chosen as one of the 12 @pantone Leading Spring Colors (and dubbed “Meadowlark”), it only makes sense that the bright hue stands the test of time and is making a resurgence this season, seen already on stars like @blakelively and @gigihadid. (📷: Donato Sardello & @rexfeatures) #wwdfashion #tbt
Dior’s 70th anniversary celebration continues with a new exhibition at the Royal Ontario Museum in Toronto. “Christian Dior,” which is scheduled to run through March 18, takes a look at the founders tenure from 1947 to 1057 and feature 40 designs. Pictured here is an evening gown from the Ailée, fall 1948-49 haute couture collection. #wwdfashion (📷: Brian Boyle)
As one of the most recognizable models in the world, Christy Turlington Burns has an insider’s view of the fashion industry and the allegations of sexual harassment swirling around it. “I can say that harassment and mistreatment have always been widely known and tolerated in the industry. The industry is surrounded by predators who thrive on the constant rejection and loneliness so many of us have experiences at some point in our careers,” Turlington told WWD, along with her suggestions for how the modeling world should protect younger women and men. Read more on WWD.com. Link in bio. (📷: Tony Palmieri) #wwdnews
@asics America has tapped a new brand ambassador: famed DJ/record producer @steveaoki. This initiative is intended to set the tone for the new brand identity and philosophy and will include partnerships with influencers and in-store and off-line activations that will continue into next year. This is Asics’ most significant marketing effort in two decades, and is expected to attract younger consumers to the brand. #wwdfashion
24-year-old Jean Prounis is redefining the rules of jewelry. Formerly a studio assistant to Jemima Kirke and a design apprentice at Ghuran, she focuses on handcrafted subtleties and ancient goldsmithing techniques. “There was a really sterile feel in the environment and I wanted to have jewelry with character that shapes how you wear it everyday,” Prounis said. Each piece is hand made in New York, either by Prounis or three other jewelers in the district. #wwdfashion
“These collections continue to build on that vision, empowering differently abled adults to express themselves through fashion,” said @tommyhilfiger of his line of adaptive apparel, which launches today. The line consists of 37 men’s and 34 women’s styles based upon the pieces from the spring Tommy Hilfiger sportswear collection. #wwdnews