Designer Aurora James called her “Tax the Rich” dress for Rep. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez a “powerful message” — but it’s not one she has taken to heart.
The 37-year-old fashionista who made waves at the Met Gala with Democratic-Socialist AOC last week is a notorious tax deadbeat with unpaid debts dogging her in multiple states, records show.
Most of luxe-living James’ arrears center on Cultural Brokerage Agency, an LLC she formed in 2011 to serve as the parent company of her fashion brand, which today is known as Brother Vellies. It’s a favorite of people like Beyoncé, Rihanna, and Meghan Markle.
The company racked up three open tax warrants in New York state for failing to withhold income taxes from employees’ paychecks totaling $14,798, the state Department of Taxation and Finance told The Post. The debts — which were incurred before the pandemic — stem from 2018 and 2019. The company has been hit with 15 warrants in total since 2015.
The company got into a deeper hole with the feds. Between April 2018 and April 2019, the Internal Revenue Service placed six federal liens on Cultural Brokerage Agency totaling $103,220. The liens specifically cite the company’s failure to remit employee payroll taxes.
The IRS declined to comment on their current status.
“Just because they take it out of your paycheck doesn’t mean they’re sending it to the government,” David Cenedella, a Baruch College taxation lecturer explained after reviewing the liens. “It’s certainly not something you want. I would not say your average business out there has this. Something went wrong.”
While James apparently has no problem stiffing the Taxman, she isn’t shy about taking money from taxpayers — her company received in $41,666 in pandemic relief aid.
Over the years Cultural Brokerage Agency has also faced multiple legal challenges as a result of habitual nonpayment of worker benefits.
In October 2019 the state Worker’s Compensation Board slapped the company with a $17,000 fine for not carrying worker’s-comp insurance between March 2017 and February 2018. The company currently owes $62,722 and no payments have been received to date, a rep for the board told The Post. Workers’ comp is paid out when an employee is hurt at work and misses time.
Ex-staffers blasted the operation as a sweatshop that relied on legions of unpaid interns working full-time jobs.