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Posted at 12:02 AM ET, 01/ 4/2011

A salon with split ends: Erwin Gomez leaves Erwin Gomez Salon in feud with partner

By The Reliable Source

James Packard-Gomez and Erwin Gomez. (Zaid Hamid)

There's something missing from the Erwin Gomez Salon & Spa in Georgetown these days.

Specifically: Erwin Gomez.

Amid a feud with longtime business partner and former romantic partner James Packard-Gomez, Gomez the eyebrow guru -- a society-lady favorite and a bit player in the Salahis' White House-crashing saga -- has parted ways with the business that bears his name.


Erwin Gomez Salon & Spa, 2010. (Aaron Leitko/TWP)

Gomez says he was fired; Packard-Gomez says Gomez quit. Sound like it's going to get messy? Already has. Several employees walked out after Gomez left -- and much of the drama has played out in bitter Facebook postings by Packard-Gomez. (One involved odd allegations about the couple's euthanized dogs, a post he later deleted; neither side would comment about that.)

A couple since 1995 they opened the salon about five years ago. They publicly ended their romance in 2008 but continued to run the business and schmooze as a twosome. It was Gomez who groomed Michaele Salahi before the 2009 state dinner -- earning a cameo on "The Real Housewives of D.C." and a subpoena to testify before a federal grand jury probing the matter. (He and Packard-Gomez arrived at court in a white limo and held a news conference afterward.) Tensions lurked, though: After Packard-Gomez bought the infamous Salahi Indian-style dress at auction in October, Gomez let reporters know that he disapproved.

Packard-Gomez's lawyer, Robert Greenberg, said the dispute began when he delved into questions about the salon's finances. "They talked about separating their business interests" but the matter "devolved," he said. "James is trying to mitigate the damage Erwin caused." In a e-mail, Gomez said he was fired after complaining about Packard-Gomez's treatment of staff. He said he "looks forward to starting a new venture."

Recent salon patrons describe a glum, quiet atmosphere, as many stylists took their leave. But Packard-Gomez says it will keep running -- under Gomez's name. (Greenberg says the salon retains the rights; Gomez's attorney Mark Shaffer said "the law and the facts" will allow Gomez to work under his name.) "We're working on new concepts," he said. "I believe I still do have some staff."


By The Reliable Source  | January 4, 2011; 12:02 AM ET
Categories:  Real Housewives of D.C., White House crashers  
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