Ye’s Yeezy clothing brand owes California $600,000, according to state tax liens
The rapper Ye has been vocal about his personal financial struggles and debts. In 2016, before he became a billionaire, he said he was $53 million in debt, and in the last month, he’s claimed that four of his personal accounts have been frozen over claims of tax debt.
Now, government records reviewed by NBC News show that at least one of his businesses may also have six-figure debt issues.
The records, a series of state tax lien notices from the last two years, show the state of California claiming that Yeezy Apparel, a company managed and reportedly owned by Ye, owes over $600,000 in unpaid tax debt. Three separate notice letters were sent in July 2021, in February and in September. A lien is a claim made on a person or entity’s assets in response to an alleged debt.
The alleged debts add to a growing portrait of chaos surrounding Ye and his businesses, which has been described by former associates and Ye himself in recent weeks. Forbes recently removed Ye, formerly known as Kanye West, from its billionaires list, citing his terminated business deals.
Four tax law experts said the amount owed by Yeezy Apparel is significant and could be a sign of deeper issues at the company.
“Multiple California tax liens, adding up to $600,000, that’s certainly a sign of either extreme incompetence or extreme cash problems,” said USC Gould School of Law Professor Edward McCaffery, who specializes in tax law. “That is kind of an Amber Alert for the financial health of the enterprise.”
According to the state of California’s government website, a lien may be imposed if a company or taxpayer doesn’t respond to their letters about taxes owed, pay in full or set a payment plan.
Yeezy Apparel has been operating in California since 2017, according to public California business records, and was recorded as being active and in “good” standing in an annual filing in January. Yeezy is Ye’s core fashion and lifestyle brand, known for its tumultuous collaborations with Adidas and Gap, both of which have been terminated over his antisemitic remarks. Yeezy Apparel is one of five active Yeezy limited liability corporations in California managed by Ye. In 2019, Forbes reported in a profile of Ye that he owned 100 percent of Yeezy. A year later, Yeezy took over $2.3 million in Paycheck Protection Program loans.
Lynn LoPucki, a professor of law at the University of Florida who specializes in secured transactions and bankruptcy research, said the liens also raise questions about California’s debt collection policies.
“The state is subject to some criticism for just sitting on this when there is a going business there from which they could collect,” he said.
Representatives for Ye and for Yeezy did not respond to a request for comment.
An NBC News investigation uncovered accounts from former colleagues who said Ye would use antisemitic language in the workplace and praise Hitler. The report unearthed a settlement agreement and payment between Ye and a former colleague that came after allegations of such comments.
On Monday, Ye painted his own picture of the financial chaos that he says he’s living with, telling the far-right podcast host Tim Pool that four of his bank accounts had been frozen on a $75 million hold, and that he was told by his accountants that morning that he owes $50 million in taxes.
The Internal Revenue Service said, “Federal law prohibits the IRS from commenting on or confirming anything related to private taxpayer matters.”
While the amount said to be owed by Yeezy Apparel is just a fraction of the multimillion-dollar figures cited by Ye himself, the liens fit into a pattern found among his other businesses.
NBC News found 17 government-imposed liens in California against three of Ye’s businesses and a charity created in his name dating back as far back as 2012. Four of the liens were labeled active with no indication of them having been terminated or paid.
“Tax lien indicates that the state maintains that a debt is owing to the state,” LoPucki said. The majority of the liens reviewed by NBC News were issued by the California Employment Development Department.
A representative for the department said it could not comment on taxpayer information.
Four experts who reviewed the liens agreed that they most likely pertained to payroll taxes, given that the department oversees payroll taxes and unemployment in the state.
“Those would be things like unemployment insurance and state disability insurance taxes, things like that,” said Kirk Stark, the Barrall Family Professor of Tax Law and Policy at UCLA School of Law.
It’s not clear what chain of events led to the liens being filed, but the four experts agreed that a lien being imposed indicates that there were most likely previous communications between the state and Yeezy Apparel that would allow the company to resolve or challenge the debts before a lien was imposed.
“They’ve gotten pretty serious before a lien is imposed usually. This is not the first step of a tax enforcement agency,” said David Gamage, a professor of law specializing in taxes at Indiana University Bloomington.
“Consistently ignoring communications from the EDD would eventually be a basis for the department to just say, ‘OK, well then you know, we’re going to file this lien, and you know, set this in motion,’” Stark said, using an abbreviation for the Employment Development Department.
Of the liens listed as active with no indication of termination, the earliest is from the tax year 2020.
The experts who spoke with NBC News said the liens could be indicative of several larger business concerns.
“If you’re screwing up on this, you’ve got bigger problems and there’s probably other things you’re not paying,” said McCaffery. “But on the other hand, it could be consistent with just kind of a bare-bones operation that’s a little sloppy.”
It’s not clear what the future of the Yeezy brand and its associated companies looks like following the termination of the Adidas deal.
According to Forbes, which reportedly saw internal Yeezy documentation in the process of assessing Ye’s billionaire status, the Yeezy brand was “functionally tied” to Adidas during the period of their contract.
After the termination of the deal, Adidas said on an earnings call that it would continue to sell Yeezy designs under different branding.
“Let me be clear, we own all the IP, we own all the designs, we own all the versions and new colorways,” Harm Ohlmeyer, chief financial officer of Adidas, said.
Zak Kurtz, co-founder and CEO of the law firm Sneaker & Streetwear Legal Services, said the paths forward for Yeezy as a viable business are limited given Adidas’ ownership of much of Yeezy’s intellectual property.
“What he can use is what he has, you know, his trademarks, and any new designs or any new stuff that he comes up with,” Kurtz said. “And I think that’s really where the brand has to go — in my opinion, they’d have to create new stuff.”
Kenneth Anand, co-author of the sneaker legal and business book “Sneaker Law,” added that the company could pursue another partnership with a major brand.
“It could align with a new licensee, perhaps one that can offer the same type of products and services that the Gap and/or Adidas did, although it seems unlikely that any companies would be willing to take a risk on a volatile brand and designer such as Ye,” Anand, who has also worked as the head of business development and general counsel for Yeezy, wrote in a text message.
Anand said he could only comment on the company from the perspective of an industry expert, and noted that consumers had begun to turn on Ye.
“Ye’s recent statements have clearly hurt the Yeezy brand,” Anand wrote. “Consumers are openly declaring that they will no longer support and wear Yeezy, even if they have spent a considerable amount of money on the brand’s products.”
The top 10 women celebrity crushes we all have
Look, we all know we are more interested in looking at female celebrities than male ones (except you Ryan, calm down). Here are the top lady crushes most women have:
10. Emma Stone
Emma Stone burst onto our radars as the quirky, offbeat comedy star with a difference. Yes, there’s no denying that she’s beautiful but she’s also a little different, funny and not your typical Hollywood starlet. They say you can’t have it all…
9. Olivia Wilde
Not just a pretty face, Olivia took the stage name Wilde after the one and only Oscar, a testament to her brains too, perhaps? No, mainly because her real name is Olivia Cockburn. No, it is. Not only does she act, she also models, writes, acts and directs. Oh and she just did a shoot with Glamour where she showed just how beautiful is is to be a breastfeeding mum. Swoon.
8. Miranda Kerr
Miranda started out as a Victoria’s Secret model (no surprise there really) and rose through the ranks to become one of the most famous Supermodels of recent times. As if that wasn’t quite enough, she’s also a fashion icon and has the worlds cutest baby with Orlando Bloom. Life envy much?
7. Christina Hendricks
Christina, or as most of us will know her, Joan, the steely star of Mad Men, is as famous for her acting skills as she is for her curves and she never looks as good as when poured into another of those fabulous vintage costumes. Not bitter at all…
6. Mila Kunis
Mila is another classic case of being the girl that every man wants and every woman wants to be. Not just content with being hot, smart, funny and oh yes, engaged to Ashton Kutcher, she’s also a serious film actress when the time calls for it. *Sigh*
5. Jennifer Lawrence
Who doesn’t love Jennifer Lawrence? She proved herself as a worthy actress from the get go and her popularity has been on an upward spike ever since. The fact that she appears to be so grounded, normal and funny only helps to increase our admiration (and love) for her.
4. Alessandra Ambrosio
Brazilian born Alessandra is a Victoria’s Secret model (no surprise there) and there isn’t really much else to say here, so just look at the image below and feel the awe rise up around you. If you aren’t blessed with her genes, you can always use party casino research to understand how you can win elsewhere – right?
Pretty much every sane girl in the world would agree that Rihanna is one of the hottest females ever. She appears to have it all. The looks, talent, money, men (well…), lifestyle, friends. So thank you Rihanna, we officially want to be you right about now.
2. Blake Lively
Blake, the tall, beautiful Gossip Girl star has since moved on from teen dramas and married the equally beautiful Ryan Reynolds. With legs up to her armpits, the most lusted after hair in the business and a wardrobe full of clothes that merely highlight how goddamn hot she is, Blake, we applaud and really want to be you.
Come on, you had to have known that Beyoncé would be our number one. It’s Beyoncé for gods sake. A stellar career, the most amazing figure on the planet, riches and an ability to rock a leotard like nobody else, there isn’t much to do apart from just look on in wonder.
via our content partner CT
In defence of Cassie from Euphoria
I am a Cassie Howard apologist. Yes, even after last night’s episode of Euphoria. I sympathise with her, even if I don’t condone her choices, or even enjoy watching them most of the time. The problem with being a Cassie stan – as is the case with any of the characters in the Euphoria universe – is that every week the show tests that stance, pushing our problematic faves to new depths of debauchery and dubious morality. Cassie’s character in particular has practically become a meme in itself, with TikTok asking itself, week-on-week, how she can possibly fall any lower in our estimations. Of course, she does it anyway.
Some have speculated online that Cassie is a character foil for Rue, both of them addicts, with the show telling the story of their desperate needs. For Rue, the object of her addiction is opiates, for Cassie, it’s love. Rue’s backstory illustrated to the audience how her life up until now – her family trauma, a healthcare system that over-medicates its children – had primed her for addiction to drugs. In the same way, Cassie’s – growing up with an alcoholic mother and absent addict dad, being se**alised at a young age by older men – primed her for a dependency on male validation. But it’s undoubtedly harder to root for Cassie in spite of her flaws the way we rally for our flawed protagonist Rue to finally get her shit together.
Maybe that’s because Cassie embodies so many of the things we hate, or at least the things we ridicule; the things we collectively recognise are objectively incredibly annoying. Her problems pale in seriousness compared to the others – she’s not self-harming or addicted to opiates or dealing drugs or framing innocent people for crimes they didn’t commit – and so her struggles seem so cheesy, so silly. Cassie’s main dilemma is that she’s sleeping with her best friend’s ex-boyfriend. And she makes such a big deal about it. She falls into a depression spiral and treats her friends badly and dr*inks too much. She throws herself at a man who clearly doesn’t want her. She gets messy and throws up at a birthday party. When she’s exposed by Rue, she deflects the blame with pani*cked vindictiveness. Cassie is completely wrapped up in herself and her struggles, to the point where she doesn’t seem cognisant of the power and privileges she still possesses.
It’s easy to dislike her, I would ar*gue, in moments like this, because it’s relatively easy to see ourselves (or at least our teenage selves) in her messiness. While the problems faced by characters like Cal Jacobs or Ashtray might be so far away from our own lives that we can safely say we’d do it all better and never let ourselves get in those dangerous situations, Cassie’s cheugy, messy emotionality and teenage angst are uncomfortably close. It’s no surprise then, that Cassie has become an emblem of equally painful-to-follow toxic female characters, like Fleabag or the unnamed, but similarly self-indulgent protagonist of Ottessa Moshfegh’s book My Year of Rest and Relaxation. Cassie is in her Fleabag era, but unfortunately for her, there is no Hot Priest-shaped respite for viewers, only Nate Jacobs. And while we do get moments of being able to say “finally, go girl give us something”, like when Cassie walked out of an argument with Nate after saying she was crazier than Maddie, the show almost always instantly subverts them with having Cassie crawl back for more abuse. Annoying to watch? Perhaps. Realistic? From a lonely 17-year-old, sadly yes!
Even when she’s dealing with more serious problems, Euphoria is never far from reminding us of Cassie’s ridiculousness. When she asks Lexi whether she looks different, shortly after finding out she’s pregnant with McKay, Lexi becomes a stand-in for the audience, lashing out at her sister and pointing out how absurd she sounds. For the audience, the dramatic irony is even more potent: we know that while Cassie is experiencing her own personal trauma, she was also totally unequipped to deal with McKay’s (who had just experienced a violent hazing at the hands of his fraternity brothers, and was coming to the crushing realisation that he would never be a professional athlete), which many viewers interpreted as an unwillingness to engage with it too.
Euphoria’s total disregard of character development for McKay – he appeared in the first episode of season two, and has been missing in action ever since – compared to its almost lecherous lingering over Cassie’s every move, has been singled out as one of the show’s many problematic recent decisions. And while online rumours have speculated over whether that was down to actor Algee Smith’s views on vaccinations, the fact remains that Euphoria’s choice to ignore McKay’s struggles in favour of Cassie’s make her OTT breakdowns even more painful to watch. That much is fair: but the fact audience complaints are directed at the fictional character herself, not the polarising showrunner behind those decisions (Sam Levinson), a little more unfair imo!
One constant criticism of Levinson’s writing and of Euphoria as a show, even amongst its hardcore fans, is how over the top and ridiculous it is. How its storylines would never happen in real life (at least not all at once, to one friendship group, in the middle of the school year), and how none of the characters would pass dress code, and how it doesn’t make sense that there are no uggos, only hotties. It’s true that much of the show’s audience has never picked up a suitcase of narcotics and carted it around town on a bicycle, or secretly recorded all of the times we’ve cheated on our suburban wife, or dropped out of school to care for our ex-dr*ug baron grandmother. But you might have drunk too much at a party and thrown up. You probably debased and embarrassed yourself trying too hard for someone who didn’t want you, or ug*ly cried down the phone to people who think you’re being, honestly, a bit self-indulgent and annoying. Every week, Cassie acts out the kind of things you remember at two in the morning and cringe so hard at that it’s impossible to sleep. But it’s hard to admit you were more embarrassing than you currently are, and mortifying to watch someone else do the same, and so we’re like: No, Cassie fu**ing su*ks.
And she does, of course, but I would argue no more so (and in some cases, a lot less so) than any other character in season two of Euphoria. In last night’s episode [spoilers here!] Cassie tries to get out of being exposed for sleeping with Nate by calling Rue a drug addict, after Rue loses her temper with Cassie’s naive attempt to reassure her she can take rehab “one day at a time”. Was that advice cringey? Yes! Is Cassie’s response cruel? Yes! Is it worse than Rue calling Leslie a bad mom? Or Laurie injecting a dopesick 17-year-old with morphine? In the case of the former, I would say sleeping with your best pal’s ex is dubiously worse. But the latter? I mean, probably not! Judging by the episode’s response today on Twitter and Reddit though, that sliding scale of perspective is not a popular excuse for Cassie’s increasingly dumb behaviour. But, I digress!
Cassie know good and well she could’ve played that off better like baby you gotta learn how to LIE
— HOOD VOGUE is tired of poverty (@keyon) February 7, 2022
So yes, I am a Cassie apologist. But, I must caveat, no more so than I am an apologist for any of the other flawed, broken, ug*ly characters in the relentless, unforgiving universe that Sam Levinson created for them to live in. That’s the beauty of Euphoria. For all the criticism the series has received (some of it deserved, some of it TikTok hysteria) its success lies in its ability to make the audience empathise, even for a second, with a man like Cal Jacobs, who created a life of amorality and toxic masculinity to compensate for internalised homophobia. Or with a character like Jules, so lonely and hurt that she’ll cheat on the emotionally unavailable Rue with Elliott. Or Rue, so desperately addicted to drugs that she’ll attack her mother, sister and best friends. You might recoil at their choices but on some level you understand what drove them to those choices too.
It’s entirely possible, of course, that I will regret this appeal for moderation when it comes to burning Cassie Howard at the stake for crimes against humanity and friendship and fashion. There are still another four episodes of season two of Euphoria left, and with things looking bleaker than ever for the universe’s characters, who knows how much further she can sink. Sam Levinson has created a world with only two certainties: one, that we will complain every week without fail about his characterisation and then tune in to watch anyway. And two, that Nate Jacobs fu**ing su*ks.
Watch: Katherine Heigl flashes knickers as she strips off in middle of busy New York street
The 36-year-old comedy starlet can clearly laugh at herself, and her facial expressions were a picture when she got caught stripping off in the Big Apple yesterday.
Katherine was spotted shamelessly undressing and redressing herself, transforming from her neon pink and black cycling outfit to a more work-ready white pencil skirt and turtleneck top.
But the American beauty gave onlookers an eyeful when she unwittingly flashed her knickers during her rapid wardrobe swap.
While most would be left red-faced, Katherine had an excuse for her peculiar behaviour because she was filming scenes for her new CBS show called Doubt.
The mother-of-two was joined by her co-star Dulé Hill, 40, who played the perfect gentleman by clutching on to her handbag while she was otherwise occupied.
The crew are currently filming a reboot of the pilot episode, with Katherine being cast as successful defence lawyer Sadie Ellis alongside Orange Is The New Black star Laverne Cox who will play a trans Ivy League-educated attorney.
Meanwhile, Katherine’s husband Josh Kelley recently spoke out to defend her after she was branded “difficult” for blasting her own 2007 film Knocked Up.
I mean, it’s very interesting because somehow a bunch of haters just created a whole thing that she’s ‘difficult’,” he said. “That girl’s never been late, never missed a mark, she’s the least ‘difficult’ person in the world.
“I’ve been to every movie set since we were together, and everybody loves her. “So it’s really interesting how people can make s**t up and then it can get a heartbeat.”