A San Francisco retailer is willing to drop claims against Ivanka Trump’s brand accusing it of getting an unfair advantage given its close association with the White House — for now.
Modern Appealing Clothing, a family-owned boutique selling lines like Dries Van Noten and Comme des Garçons out of two San Francisco locations, told a local court on Wednesday that it would like to drop the unfair competition lawsuit it launched in March against the First Daughter’s brand holding company, Ivanka Trump Marks LLC.
Although the boutique, better known as MAC, said at the time that the Ivanka Trump brand was getting an “unfair advantage” over other retailers with a public affiliation and at times direct support from her father’s administration, it now sees the purported goal of the legal action fulfilled as media coverage has elicited a response from the White House.
“Shortly after articles appeared in the press about this lawsuit, the White House press secretary Sean Spicer announced that Ivanka Trump had agreed to follow federal ethics rules as they apply to her work at the White House,” MAC said in a filing.
The boutique said it’s “primary purpose in bringing this lawsuit was to ensure that Ivanka Trump did not continue to exploit the power and prestige of the White House” to promote her brand and “that goal has been achieved by the White House’s announcement,” according to its filing.
“Accordingly, and unless Ivanka Trump does not subsequently abide by the White House’s promise that she will follow federal ethics rules, plaintiff MAC’s primary goal in bringing this lawsuit has been achieved,” MAC said.
With that, the boutique asked that its lawsuit be dismissed without prejudice, which would leave MAC able to refile the lawsuit in the future.
As for reasoning behind the proposed dismissal, MAC’s lawyer R. Michael Lieberman said the company is willing to take Trump and the White House “at their word,” and highlighted that should the allegedly unfair business practices continue, “nothing can stop us or anyone else from filing these claims again.”
When asked if MAC would continue to monitor Trump’s White House role and the association with her, Lieberman said, “Yes, but now the whole world is watching too.”
A White House spokesperson could not be reached for comment.
While MAC’s concerns over Trump’s relation to her brand may have been relieved, Senate Democrats aren’t convinced.
At the tail end of March, Senators Elizabeth Warren (D., Mass.) and Tom Carper (D., Del.) told the U.S. Office of Government Ethics that Trump should not be allowed to reap the benefits to her namesake fashion and accessories brand while taking on an official role in the White House.
This week, Trump received the title of assistant to the president, a role that will go unpaid, according to the administration.
The senators however pointed to Trump’s remaining business interests — including her continued brand ownership — and earlier claims by the White House that she would not become a formal employee along with promises to abide by ethics rules as the cause of “substantial confusion.”
That confusion includes what laws exactly apply to Trump’s White House position, and the senators asked the Office of Government Ethics for clarity by April 13. They also asked for a determination on whether Trump’s role in the administration is lawful and what disclosures, financial and otherwise, are required of her.
The White House last week dumped online dozens of financial disclosures by financial staffers, including that of Trump’s husband, Jared Kushner, who is a senior advisor to President Donald Trump.
While the disclosure revealed Kushner and Trump hold real estate investments worth about $741 million, specifics on earnings from the Ivanka Trump brand were not specified beyond a valuation of over $50 million.
An individual financial disclosure for Trump has not been disclosed.
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