There’s something particularly sad about charities fighting. One just sort of expects people who are trying to do good things to be relatively chill about things like credit and money, but that doesn’t necessarily hold. Now two gun-repurposing causes have gotten in a legal fight over who had the right to turn guns into jewelry first.
Newark, N.J., mayor Corey Booker made headlines when he partnered with Jewelry for a Cause to turn seized and repurchased illegal guns into jewelry to help generate revenue for Newark’s gun buyback program. But a rival jewelry designer has filed a federal suit against Jewelry for a Cause founder Jessica Mindich, claiming she stole his idea for making jewelry from guns.
According to the NY Post, the suit was brought by Peter Thum of Fonderie 47, a jewelry line famous for taking AK-47 assault rifles out of war zones in Africa and repurposing their steel for high-end jewelry. Like the Jewelry for a Cause pieces, each piece of assault rifle jewelry is engraved with the serial number of the gun destroyed to make it.
The Jewelry for a Cause bracelets run from $150 to $1,275, and an ID bracelet produced in collaboration with MTV is just $40. The higher-end Fonderie 47 pieces can clear $150,000.
Thum’s suit maintains that he talked to Mindich about his line at a conference in 2011 and that Booker was in attendance during a “small group discussion” where Thum described his gun-repurposing business plan in some detail.
In the suit, Thum alleges that Mindich approached him about working on a gun-repurposing program in Newark, but he turned her down and “made it clear that he did not consent to her exploiting his ideas.”
Thum’s lawyer told the Post that if Thum wins his lawsuit, he intends to donate any money he is awarded to charity.
But according to Mindich’s representatives, Thum shouldn’t be planning that donation just yet.
“We believe that the complaint is without merit, and we will defend it vigorously,” one of her representatives said.