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Bribes alleged at fashion venue

Feb. 7, 2008 at 9:23 AM   |   Comments

NEW YORK, Feb. 7 (UPI) -- As Fashion Week kicked off in New York, the superintendent of the 26th Street Armory, a coveted fashion show venue, pleaded innocent to taking bribes.

James Jackson, a 30-year employee of the New York Division of Military and Naval Affairs, was charged in October with soliciting bribes and gifts to secure prime slots at the armory, which rents for $6,000 a day.

The charges resulted after organizers of the New York International Carpet Show complained that Jackson asked for $1,500 to set up a show a day early without paying the rent fee, The New York Times reported Thursday.

During Fashion Week, the charges claims, bribes have become part of doing business at the armory. Designer Marc Jacobs' company, which has secured prime slots and attracted a celebrity audience for years, is also under investigation.

Jackson solicited more than $40,000 in bribes since 2000, the charges allege.

That addition to the millions a fashion show can cost to produce is unacceptable, New York State Attorney General Andrew M. Cuomo said.

"If anyone believes that they have to pay off or offer a gratuity to access state space, let me know," he said.

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