Neiman Marcus CEO angers employees with Mansion magazine article
Neiman CEO Marcus is under fire for flaunting his wealth amid bankruptcy that has resulted in job losses and pay cuts for grassroots workers, The Post has learned.
Geoffroy van Raemdonck pulled the luxury retailer out of bankruptcy on Friday – but not before he and his Dallas mansion appeared in the September issue of a luxury magazine aimed at wealthy people.
The 11-page PaperCity page features the ‘1927 Italian-style house’ van Raemdonck shares with her husband, interior designer, Alvise Orsini, which is packed with expensive touches including artwork by Andy Warhol, “silk blanket walls” and 18th century French and Italian furniture.
A guest bathroom, adorned with a dreamlike mural and “1930s silver and mirrored cabinetry” is described as “the most glamorous washroom ever.” Outside, near the swimming pool and the pool house, is a henhouse so elaborate that the author describes it as “more Versailles than farm”.
Van Raemdonck and Orsini are shown in the brilliant spread lounging atop a “custom sofa”. . . covered with silk velvet. Above them are two prints from Warhol’s “Reigning Queens” series.
Neiman’s staff were stunned.
“Either he doesn’t care or he’s deaf,” complained an employee to The Post. “Everyone is wondering why [he] agreed to show the house as healthcare, bankruptcy and layoffs are the main topics for Neiman Marcus.
It wasn’t the first time the Belgian-born luxury merchant has offended his employees since his group Neiman Marcus, which also owns Manhattan’s Bergdorf Goodman, filed for bankruptcy in May.
On March 30, Neiman announced that he would put the majority of his 14,000 employees on leave or temporarily reduce their wages. Van Raemdonck then declared that he would give up “100%” of his salary.
But it later emerged that he and other top executives were expected to pocket up to $ 9.9 million in the bankruptcy – with the biggest pot of $ 6 million reserved for van Raemdonck, having already received around $ 4 million bonus in February, before the pandemic hit.
On Friday, Neiman said he came out of his Chapter 11 bankruptcy protection with a restructuring plan that eliminated $ 4 billion in debt and $ 200 million in annual interest charges.
It’s unclear how much van Raemdonck has to pocket as a result, but Neiman has previously said he will pay him and other executives the best price if the company comes out of bankruptcy with a healthy balance sheet by September 15, and less if the plan was confirmed before November 15.
Neiman did not respond to multiple requests for comment. The PaperCity gap comes as the company said last week that its reorganization plan would result in an unknown number of layoffs for “selling and non-selling associates.” Employees say the company started handing out pink leaflets last week.
Adding insult to injury, employees who recently returned to work say Neiman slapped them with bills of thousands of dollars in health insurance premiums the company assumed for them while on leave.
Neiman only gives rehired staff two months to pay bonuses that would normally have been deducted from paychecks. Those who cannot afford it are being told to “take loans to cover costs,” sources said.
“There is no way people can do this,” said a Neiman employee who did not want to be identified for fear of being fired. “The rent is exaggerated. “
Experts say it’s unusual for companies to ask for reimbursement to cover the off-duty portion of their healthcare premiums.
“I haven’t heard anyone ask for the refund,” said Dana Fried, chief executive officer of national tax services at CohnReznick, which advises businesses on tax matters during the pandemic.
Macy’s and Saks Fifth Avenue, which also paid the staff’s shares on leave of health care premiums after the coronavirus hit, did not ask rehired staff to return that money, stores told The Post.
It is not known when van Raemdonck and Orsini agreed to have their luxurious home featured in the magazine. The author of the article – PaperCity’s European editor-in-chief Filippo Tattoni-Marcozzi, who is the godfather of one of the couple’s children and Orsini’s best friend – did not respond to a request for remark.
But the pandemic looms large in the spread, which is how the family coped through the tough times.
“During our frequent video calls, I could see them together under those beautiful original cobalt blue tinted tiles that line their home, safe but worried like all of us in the world,” writes Tattoni-Marcozzi.
The play also makes reference to Neiman’s troubles.
“On the screen, I watch the children playing outside in the grass and in the pool. . . and I can see Geoffroy working hard in his home office, leading Neiman Marcus through tough decisions into a new era.