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At just 26, Matthew Rubinger has gone from selling designer bags on eBay from his bedroom to a lofty role as the one of the world's premiere Birkin experts at Christie's International. But it's that last career move that's landed him in hot water. The New York Times reports that Rubinger's former employer Heritage Auctions filed a lawsuit against Christie's, seeking $60 million in damages and lost profits from Christie's, Rubinger, and two other former employees. The lawsuit claims that Rubinger breached his contract and stole trade secrets.
The Birkin resale market has been huge business for Heritage Auctions, with pieces like a red crocodile Hermès Birkin with diamond-and-white gold hardware going for a record $203,000. The president of Heritage Auctions, Gregory Rohan, said he treated Rubinger as a superstar and "thought of him as a son," providing both training and sharing the company's business plans. When Rubinger jumped ship, Heritage's entire luxury accessories team left as well.
A spokeswoman for Christie's told the Times, "We have reviewed the complaint and find it to be wholly without merit. We are prepared to vigorously defend these claims and Christie's decision to expand our existing handbag department."
· High-End Hermès Handbags at Center of Suit Against Christie's [NYT]
· Coach Exec Forced to Return Info She Stole From Louis Vuitton [Racked]
· How One Millennial With A Liberal Arts Degree Landed A Six-Figure Job [Forbes]