Lawsuits emerge after vintage consignment store closes

C. Madeleine's owner still has items in storage, remains behind in bills

MIAMI-DADE COUNTY, Fla. – The Leave it to Layron team first met Richard Kirsh in May.  At the time, he told us he and his wife, Cindy, were diligently searching for a new home for their upscale, vintage consignment store, C. Madeleine’s.

C. Madeleine had been in business for 16 years.

Reportedly, a school offered the Kirsh’s previous landlords an offer they could not refuse, forcing the consignment shop out of its North Miami Beach location. Kirsh said he packed up all of the merchandise and moved it into a storage facility until a lease agreement could be reached.  The LITL team was told the plan was open up shop in the new space within a few weeks.

But just days after our initial story posted, one of C. Madeleine’s consignors filed a small claims suit in Miami-Dade court, and won--more than $5,000 in a default judgment for items entrusted to the Kirshes.  The suit claimed the items were never returned, nor was the consignor paid the value of the items.

In the weeks that followed, more customers emailed, called, reached out via social media expressing similar concerns with the LITL team.

We were tipped to another judgment against the Kirshes where a Miami-Dade judge ordered them to pay More than $20k to a digital consultant, who according to the lawsuit, was hired but never paid.

As far as we know, those lawsuits remain unsettled.

The LITL team paid the Kirshes another visit.  Richard Kirsh answered the door of their Hollywood home, and told us he and his wife are still looking for a location to reopen their store. Which means the thousands of items consignors entrusted to him are still locked away in a North Miami storage facility.

We asked if the storage bill had been paid.  “Some of the bills are behind, so we don't have access," said Kirsh.

"I was even thinking of calling you because I'm having a problem with the storage unit people," he said.

Kirsh then said he was working diligently to return items to cosigners.

"Maybe no one is believing me at this point,” He said.

The LITL pressed him on the judgments against him. He acknowledged one of the lawsuits was related to a previous employee, but wouldn't’t elaborate. As for the consignor who sued him small claims court, and won, Kirsh said, "I don’t owe her money because the contract doesn't stipulate that I’m going to give her money."

The LITL team also got a look at some of the merchandise he claims he’s working to return to consignors.  He showed us a clear, plastic storage bin, filled with pieces of jewelry, tagged and priced. When pressed, he claimed he had no intention of selling the jewelry for himself.  He, again, said he and his wife are working to contact the owners of the items to return them. 

He also acknowledges most of the files that would help in that process are trapped in the storage facilty, to which he does not have access.

"I'm sure I made mistakes, management-wise," he said, "I’m not going to say I didn't."
Kirsh said not running away, but wishes he "wasn't in this situation."

He said the consignment industry has changed, but said C. Madeleine's is not done. He sees the business’s future shifting online.  We asked if he truly thought people would trust him with their items.  

"I believe there are people who would do that," he said.


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