Dov Charney's Los Angeles Apparel Scored a Military Contract As a 'Disadvantaged Business'

The brand was recently allowed to reopen following the deaths of 4 employees of COVID-19.

Dov Charney at Los Angeles Apparel's Factory

This story was last updated Aug. 7, 2020 at 3:30 p.m.

Scandal and scrutiny have a way of following Dov Charney, the former embattled founder and CEO of American Apparel. After his new company, Los Angeles Apparel (cue the thinking face emoji), reopened at the end of July following shutdown orders when four workers died of coronavirus-related illnesses and 375 employees tested positive for COVID-19, The Daily Beast reports that the Downtown-based brand recently nabbed a two-year contract to manufacture face masks for the U.S. Air Force.

Charney and Co. was granted the personal protective equipment (PPE) contract after being "certified as a 'small disadvantaged business', a designation intended to uplift entrepreneurs of color," writes Daily Beast reporter William Bredderman. The Canada-bred, L.A.-based entrepreneur told the independent news publication that the certification was an error by the federal government, which "must have put that on [the records] on their own… To put it like we're trying to trick people like we're a minority — we don't do that."

Dov Charney, right, with an employee at American Apparel's Downtown L.A. factory during its heyday. Photo: American Apparel

According to the U.S. Small Business Administration's Federal Contracting website, companies that qualify as a small disadvantaged business need to be certified for its 8(a) program. Businesses are eligible if they're owned by someone with a personal net worth of under $750,000, less than $6 million in assets, and has had an adjusted gross income of $350,000 for three years; be at least 51% owned and controlled by U.S. citizens who are economically and socially disadvantaged; and have all its principals demonstrate good character, to name a few qualifications.

The multi-step certification process requires the business to register for a profile at the U.S.' System for Award Management (SAM) website, sign up for a D-U-N-S Number in order to assess its financial stability, and complete the SBA's Certify application online.

Before launching Los Angeles Apparel in 2017, Charney was the CEO of American Apparel until he was fired for misconduct following a slew of discrimination and sexual and physical assault lawsuits, including for allegedly forcing an employee to perform sexual acts and choking a former Malibu store manager and calling him a "fag" and wannabe jew," as recalled by The Hollywood Reporter. He also notably openly masturbated in front of then-Jane reporter Claudine Ko while she interviewed him for a profile.

Before the DTLA-based basics giant filed for bankruptcy in late 2015, it operated 110 U.S. stores and 193 locations worldwide; at its height, there were 281 global outposts. In 2016, an investment firm that backed its embattled CEO unsuccessfully tried to buy the brand. AA is now owned by Canada-based Gildan Activewear, which relaunched the label in 2017 and scrapped plans last year to reopen a flagship at the label's former Melrose Avenue address.

Read the full story over at The Daily Beast here.

Main photo: Los Angeles Apparel

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