July 05, 2012
NEW YORK, N.Y. - Naomi Campbell and a perfume company have settled a sour dispute that started over a fragrance line and became part of the backdrop of former Liberian President Charles Taylor’s war crimes trial.
Dueling lawsuits between the supermodel and an entity called Moodform Mission were closed Thursday, Manhattan court records show. Moodform Mission’s lawyer, Daniel R. Bright, said Friday his clients “are happy with the settlement,” but he wouldn’t disclose details. Campbell’s lawyer didn’t immediately return a call seeking comment.
The dispute involves Campbell's longtime former modeling agent, Carole White, who joined with a Miami Beach, Florida-based cosmetics company to form Moodform Mission in the 1990s.
Her New York court fight with the model was mentioned at Taylor’s 2010 war crimes trial, at which White contradicted the model’s testimony about some alleged blood diamonds — gems used to finance wars — she received from the former Liberian president. Taylor was convicted of arming and supporting murderous rebels in Sierra Leone in return for blood diamonds; he was sentenced in May to 50 years in prison. He plans to appeal his conviction.
At his trial in the Netherlands, Campbell said she didn’t know the source of the stones presented to her after a dinner at former South African President Nelson Mandela’s mansion in 1997, or even that they were diamonds. She gave them to a friend to donate to charity.
When White took the stand and insisted that Campbell knew Taylor had provided the stones, Taylor’s lawyer accused White of lying to further her lawsuit over the perfume fallout. White denied it.
In the perfume suit, Moodform Mission said it was unfairly squeezed out of its share of millions of dollars in profits from such scents as Naomi Campbell, Cat Deluxe and Seductive Elixir after working for years to line up a 1998 fragrance deal for Campbell.
The agreement called for regular payments to Moodform Mission once the scents went on the market in 2001, netting Campbell millions of dollars over the years, according to the company’s lawsuit. It said Campbell violated the contract by inking a new fragrance-licensing agreement in 2008.
The new deal “was a fraudulent scheme arranged by (Campbell) for the purpose of avoiding her obligation to pay Moodform Mission the money required to be paid to it,” said the suit, filed in 2009.
Campbell, meanwhile, said she wasn't given full information before signing her deal with Moodform Mission. She said she didn’t know for years that White — her chief agent from 1993 until about 2006 — had a stake in the perfume partnership.
“If White had told me that she was a principal in (Moodform Mission), I would not have blindly trusted her advice to sign the documents that she brought to me,” Campbell said in a sworn statement last year. “... White held a position of trust and confidence in my life, and I expected her to act in my best interests (and never to benefit if this would be detrimental to my interests).”
Campbell, now 41, became one of the world’s highest-paid models after being discovered at age 15. She is British.
She has also been known for her feisty temper. At various points, she pleaded guilty to cursing and kicking at police officers in a rage over missing luggage at London’s Heathrow Airport, hurling a cellphone at her maid in New York because of a vanished pair of jeans and beating an assistant who said the model whacked her on the head with a phone in Toronto.
She was released without punishment in the Toronto case and sentenced to community service in the others.