WeHo’s Mayfair House Sues City Over Fur Ban


Mayfair House, a specialty clothing and accessory store, filed a lawsuit in federal court Wednesday against the City of West Hollywood seeking to have the city’s fur ban declared unconstitutional and void, according to a statement from the store’s law firm.

The 18 page, five-count complaint asks the court to permanently order WeHo to stop enforcement of the ban.

“The ordinance is an ill-considered and illegal law that is harmful to the city, its consumer citizens and business residents,” said Johanna Judah, owner of Mayfair House at 8844 Beverly Ave. near Robertson. “It was passed by city councilmen who have the political support of national animal rights activist groups who wish to impose their will over others despite the unconstitutional nature of the ordinance.”

Michael O’Connor, a lawyer in the L.A. office of Kelley Drye and Warren, which filed the complaint on behalf of Mayfair House, said, “It is crystal clear that California’s constitution grants the state legislature the only authority to enact legislation relating to the protection of wildlife, including the exclusive power to pass laws regulating the market for products of wildlife, such as fur.”

Last week, industry group Fur Information Council of America (FICA) also said it planned to file a complaint in an effort to block enforcement of the ban, which was passed by the West Hollywood City Council in 2011 and took effect Saturday, Sept. 21.

FICA Executive Director Keith Kaplan said that the agency has received calls from local retailers who have questions about the ban, which he called “ill-conceived and lacking appropriate research.”

“We support Mayfair House’s determination to have the ordinance overturned and to protect the rights of businesses and consumers,” Kaplan said in a statement. “We too are committed to the overturning of the ordinance and will support any and all efforts by injured parties. Animal activist groups and their followers cannot be allowed to foist their radical ideas on the rest of society.”

West Hollywood has 21 days to file its response to the complaint, according to the law firm.

  1. John D’Amico should be recalled for coming INto our city and bringing bringing in animal activists from OUTside our city to focus on Fur, while ignoring real issues in our community. BTW, any idiot knows the leather is the same thing as fur, with the fur shaved off….. hello!

  2. I cannot believe what I am hearing. Looks like some groups have nothing better to do. How in anyone’s right mind have the right to ban Fur garments or soon to be anything made from Leather or all kinds of Meat. I just was informed of PETA’s con game. If you want to see the violence to animals. Go to: PETAKILLSANIMALS.COM .. You will see the truth. Even though ths ban will not fly. If by chance it did, we are on our way to a form of communism in this country.

    God help us then !!!

  3. Seriously??? This “law” is crazy. Who even concocted such an idea? West Hollywood has thousands of human homeless people and this is the priority their ignorant City Council puts thought into? How can there be a ruling taking away the freedom from purchasing a legal item sold in a retail store? Cigarettes are proven to cause diseases, alcoholic beverages disorient people who drink and elective cosmetic surgery is cruelty to people. Will West Hollywood stop these things from being sold in their City? Fur is fashion. The government regulates fair trade on all fur products sold in the USA. Whoever is behind this is dead wrong. Mayfair House and all fashion retailers should stand up against this demand.

  4. Next they’re going to legislate that restaurants cannot serve MEAT? Next it will be Chicken and Fish? What business is this of City Council? Stay out of peoples personal lives and let them make their own CHOICES! Geez, Freedom of Choice if you’re on a parade float in a G-String, but if you walk into a store, then City Council tells you what you can or cannot buy. What a waste of our money, our time, and an insult to our intelligence. THis has nothing to do with animals, and everything to do with government corruption.

  5. GOOD for MayFair House! Let the consumer decide if they want to buy something or not. Why the heck is the CITY COUNCIL getting involved in peoples personal CHOICES!!! OH my GOSH! Weho residents don’t want the Government involved with their personal lives, so get them OUT of peoples faces and peoples choices. You don’t want to eat meat, then DONT! You don’t want to eat chicken, then DONT. You don’t want to wear leather, then DONT. And if you want to, then DO! WHen did those 5 egos on the West Hollywood City Council take it upon themselves to be the “moral” g-ds of the city?? I live in Weho. I used to love this city. Now I”m just disgusted by the city council. I should actually say 4 of the corrupt city council members because John Heilman, a Vegetarian and the only voice of Sanity, actually voted against this ban. This is NOT the City Councils business to legislate what someone can sell inside their store.

  6. Although most of the individuals who advocate against fur are sincere and well intentioned, some of the organizations to which they belong are hypocritical in their deeds.

    The West Hollywood Chamber of Commerce had advocated for an acceptable, reliable, “origin-assured” and educational approach to this issue which would not necessarily have arbitrarily excluded certain product categories. This approach would teach consumers about the issues involved and provide them with humane, sensible choices rather than to take a “forced feeding” or moralistic tone in restraint of commerce.

    This is still an option if cooler heads prevail. In the meantime, City Council’s approach is, while well intentioned, neither a solution to the issue nor (as lawsuits are being filed) an economical one. West Hollywood City Council and the Chamber can still work together for a more ideal solution to an issue we all care deeply about.

  7. The USA would like to congratulate Mayor John D’Amico and his city council for their attempt of taking away West Hollywood’s freedom of choice and freedom to do law abiding business. Using their hand in hand love affair with the small but vocal animal right’s minority, they have deemed that selling fur should be against the law in West Hollywood. In their hypocritical wisdom, it’s okay to sell furs that are second hand and that can be used as home decoration. It is also okay to sell leather, suede, goose down, silk and wool products and all animal food products. What will be banned next if they have their way?

    I would like to applaud Mayfair House for standing up to this hypocritical mayor and his trusty band of council men. Hoping that her law suit against West Hollywood if won, will demonstrate to the mayor and his animal right backers throughout the world that trying to push their own agenda against our country’s freedom of choice is a waste of everyone’s time.

  8. Well said. Unfortunately one can never legislate sensitivity or even basic common sense. What we can encourage are well thought out policies and legislation that does not by some slight of hand, simply appear to be genuine. Our leaders should always strive to avoid conflicts of interest and pandering to self serving efforts but more importantly avoiding even the appearance of acting without integrity. It is the one and only measure that governs us all.

  9. This is no longer a fur issue. This is about the rights of a business to freely conduct a legitimate business. This is about the consumers’ right to freedom of choice. It is about the core values of West Hollywood, the first community to stand up and say that we would not live subject to the moral codes of others…that each individual would have the right to live their life freely and make their own choices. This is about the image of our city, the creative city and a fashion destination. This is about our ability to attract the kind of high-profile businesses that will keep West Hollywood on the map and deliver the tax revenues that will allow us to continue to offer the great social service programs that have made earned us worldwide recognition. This is about our city and our leaders standing independently of special interest groups and standing up for the businesses and residents in West Hollywood, not campaign funders from outside the city.

  10. Sometimes small symbolic laws can start an avalanche. I wonder of Mayfairhouse or Nedra Volz would also want to rescind the law that forbids the sale of puppy mill animals in retail stores. At the time that that law was enacted, it would have been simple to just cross a city border and buy an animal in Beverly Hills or Los Angeles, but not anymore!!

    Hopefully this is just the very start of a movement to fur used as clothing, pillows and everything else.

  11. Keep up the good fight Mayfair House. The ban on furs they wasted their time on is about as effective as pouring out simulated Vodka was against Russians stance on gay issues…..or the new ban on trained circus animals……….THEY ARE THE ONLY CIRCUS IN TOWN !!!!! and jump through hoops for Big Money from outside of West Hollywood, like a tiger jumping through a hoop of fire !!!! They get more usless and clueless by the week !!

  12. This is a ground breaking ordinance granting animals the right to live without being raised to be skinned. The May Fair House people should be ashamed to fight for their right to perpetuate animal cruelty.

  13. Good for Mayfair House! I hope they are succesful here in not only overturning this ridiculous law, but also in exposing the council people for the fools they are. I manage a high end retail store in weho and we now have our fur products displayed on ipads and are just continuing to sell them through our website, but not physically in weho, and our attorneys have assured us we can do this because of the way the weho law was written. I would encourage ALL of weho retail stores to do this! Truth be told, NOBODY from the city has contacted us at all so we wouldn’t know how this ill conceived law even worked if we wanted to. Does anybody else think its funny that when election season comes around, we are INUNDATED with mail and email and phone calls and visits from Land, Heilman, Duran, Prang (who cares so much about the city he’s desparately running to get a better job) and Damico who was behind this disaster (along with lots of cash from Beverly Hills!) yet when it comes time for them to actually do their jobs, we have NO information on which way to go? I also find it ludicrous that there is 1.4-MILLION square feet of designer showrooms in the PDC and they call ALL sell fur and do–furniture, rugs, pillows, accessories, etc, you name it. The new weho law doesnt affect them because the owner of PDC, Charles Cohen, is a BILLIONAIRE from NYC who funnels TONS of cash into the campaigns so he is off limits, as the council is simply too scared to really take him on (this is how much they truly care about animal welfare, by the way). Furthermore, his interests in WeHo are represented by the shady Steve Afart consulting, who managed the campaigns of Duran and Prang last time around and is managing Prang’s campaign right now for his new job with the County. Charles Cohen is also working with the MTA to turn their site in WeHo into a 6-acre mall, larger than the grove, and this is another reason the powers that be are scared to take him on and thus, only retailers in weho got screwed with the ridiculous fur ban.

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