Although the former CEO of American Apparel Don Charney resides in an eight bedroom Los Angeles mansion, he cannot seem to afford a lawyer. As a result, Charney is now representing himself in a lawsuit.
The lawsuit was made by the hedge fund known as Standard General, which is an investor of American Apparel. According to Charney, he plans to keep representing himself in the case until he can come up with the money to hire a lawyer.
Charney was ousted by the board of American Apparel in 2014. Since then, the former CEO has conducted a costly legal campaign to regain control of the company that he originally founded.
According to Charney, he was fired because other executives of the company wanted to sell American Apparel, and they knew that he would not approve of such a sale. He says that he was betrayed by both American Apparel and Standard General.
Last month, American Apparel filed for bankruptcy. This destroyed the value of Charney’s remaining stock and much of his net worth. His mansion is 11,000 square feet, and it is located in the Silver Lake neighborhood of Los Angeles.
Charney said in a letter to the judge, “As you may know, I was fired by American Apparel, the company I founded in Montreal over three decades ago, with no severance or otherwise. All of my shareholder interests have been wiped out, and I have depleted my savings on defending my life’s work and legal rights.”
On Wednesday, Delaware Chancery Court Judge Andre Bouchard allowed the law firm of Cross & Simon LLC to withdraw from the case. The firm had been representing Charney up until now. Charney has stated that his financial situation made their services too much of a costly burden.
Charney has declined to comment on the situation, but reports indicate that he still has lawyers working for him on other legal cases in California.
Charney was originally suspended by the American Apparel board in June of last year for allegedly misusing funds and violating the company’s sexual harassment policy. He was later fired in December. Lawyers for Charney have denied any wrongdoing on his behalf.
Roughly one year ago, Charney stated that he was so low on cash, he started sleeping on a friend’s couch while he was in New York. During his final year as the company’s CEO he made a base salary of $832,000.