The Shoemaker Behind Your Trustiest Wingtips Is Embroiled in an Absolutely Wild, $27 Million Embezzlement Lawsuit

Jonathan Evans
Photo credit: Hearst Owned
Photo credit: Hearst Owned

From Esquire

It's a classic tale of love, greed, embezzlement, and...American-made shoes. In one of the stranger sagas to arise from this darkest of timelines, Massachusetts-based Alden Shoe Company—a.k.a. the brand that put the feet of blog-loving men everywhere in wingtips, loafers, and lace-ups during the #menswear movement, not to mention the century-plus history preceding that—is suing a former executive for allegedly stealing an absolute boatload of money and passing a big chunk of it onto a Boston news anchor and influencer with whom he was in a romantic relationship.

Per The Boston Globe:

Alden Shoe Co., a family-owned footwear maker in Middleborough, has filed a civil lawsuit in Suffolk Superior Court alleging that its former vice president and chief financial officer, Richard Hajjar, embezzled $27 million from the company and funneled $15 million of it into the TV and fashion businesses of [Bianca] de la Garza, a former news anchor who runs a beauty business under the name BDG Enterprises. Bianca, [her production company] Lucky Gal, and BDG were all named as defendants in the lawsuit.

The company also sued Hajjar in Plymouth Superior Court to recover the $27 million, allegedly stolen from 2011 to 2019.

Corporate graft is, of course, a time-honored American tradition. But there's something so jarring to me here about the image of Alden—beloved by style-minded guys and old-school businessmen alike, but ultimately quite conservative in its approach—and the kind of high-spending, fame-seeking shenanigans the suit alleges one of its execs and his love interest engaged in. Just imagine lacing up your trusty derbies, stepping out of your home, and then skimming millions of dollars from the company you work for so you can buy lavish gifts for your aspiring-influencer paramour, including, according to court documents and again per the Globe, "a Mercedes-Benz, a $60,000 diamond bracelet, a $158,000 diamond ring, diamond earrings, designer handbags, designer clothing, and other luxury goods."

Out there, right? Well, now, imagine sliding into your tassel loafers and pushing even more allegedly ill-begotten dollars out the door? See, de la Garza left her anchor gig with Boston's WCVB to strike out with her own show, signing a production agreement with Hajjar in 2014. The fruit of their labor, Bianca Unanchored, launched in January of 2015 and went off the air a year later. According to the Globe, Hajjar "transferred at least $12.3 million to Lucky Gal and its beneficiaries from 2015 to 2019, the [court] documents state." This, despite the fact that "the filing alleges that Lucky Gal had 'few or no assets' at the time the production agreement was signed and 'did not generate a profit' during the airing of de la Garza’s series." According to court documents, Hajjar hasn't recouped any money from Lucky Gal.

At this point, according to court documents and the Globe, both Hajjar and de la Garza have agreed to pay Alden back, but de la Garza hasn't actually returned any money and Hajjar has only returned a small portion of what was allegedly taken. Fun times! It's enough to knock your socks off—and your traditionally crafted, cordovan wingtips along with 'em.

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