So yesterday, Savvy Main Line blew up the Internet.
The swift rise and steep fall of a Wayne shopkeeper
FEBRUARY 28, 2023 / BY CAROLINE O’HALLORAN / 43 COMMENTS /
Hillary White Jean wafted into Wayne on a cloud of luxury perfume, designer heels, extravagant cars and personal charm.
Sixteen months later, her splashy store, JWH Boutique, departed in the December darkness, leaving a string of angry landlords, fashion vendors and small business owners in her wake.
Court and police records show that Jean:
- has declared bankruptcy five times in three states since 2011, most recently on Jan. 30 of this year.
- has been repeatedly sued for alleged nonpayment of bills and has had at least four court judgments entered against her since 2021.
- has been arrested three times since arriving in Wayne: twice last summer for passing fraudulent checks and once three weeks ago for witness intimidation, harassment and other charges at her preliminary criminal hearing before Radnor District Judge Leon Hunter. The Delaware County DA and Radnor and Newtown police have all confirmed ongoing investigations of Jean.
To the public, she was a smart businesswoman, a former hairdresser from Haiti with a sharp eye for style and a winning personality who worked hard for the designer clothes she wore and the Range Rover she drove.
Jean marketed herself as both “the first black business owner in Wayne” and a fashion pioneer who was upping the Main Line’s style game. “We’re bringing Rodeo Drive to the Main Line,” she once told SAVVY with a 100-watt smile.
Everyone and everything in Jean’s orbit looked the part. Her clothes were chic, her stores were sleek, her website polished.
And the media lapped it up.
She ran prominent ads for a year in Philadelphia Style, including a pricey full-page spotlight as a “Dynamic Woman” of 2022.
She made the rounds of TV news shows and newsmagazines.
And she threw showy shindigs, most notably last fall’s “Cocktails and Fabulosity” party to celebrate the opening of her second Wayne location. The e-vite asked guests to “dress to impress;” she hired a “Real Housewife of NYC” to up the glam factor….….But court and police records and our interviews with multiple sources reveal a woman who repeatedly changed names, addresses and businesses and stiffed people and companies whose fashions she sold, whose space she rented, and whose services she engaged.
In the last two years, Hillary White Jean has opened and closed three stores: Lady M Boutique (M was for millionaire) in Glen Mills, HJ Boutique at 106 E. Lancaster Ave. in Wayne (now the home of Wheelhouse Cards) and JWH Boutique at 209 E. Lancaster Ave. at the former Mattress Factory/Tehrani Rug Co. building, also in Wayne.
At 3,700 sq. ft., JWH Boutique was her most largest and most exalted emporium yet. Like the others, it lasted mere months until, faced with a court-ordered repossession by her landlords, Reuben, Benjamin and Youdi Tehrani, she quietly moved out on New Year’s Eve…..According to her own handwritten bankruptcy filing, Jean owes nearly $1.4 million to 27 different entities. While the bankruptcy claim is pending, creditors must stop collection efforts. If the bankruptcy goes through, Jean’s debts will be wiped out.
Among her listed creditors in addition to her two Wayne landlords: $44,189.85 to the fashion label Camilla Australia (a top vendor), $46,000 for a Land Rover car loan, $40,000 to Modern Luxury (owner of Philadelphia Style), $7,210.96 to PR agent Sarah Doheny of YUB PR, and a total of roughly $10,000 to the party planner, florist, and photo/video team she hired for “Cocktails and Fabulosity.”
In her bankruptcy filing, Jean claimed these were all personal – not business – debts. She filed under the last name “Jean Joseph.” On every other court and police record we reviewed, she is named “Hillary White Jean.”…On June 10, 2022, Jean was arrested, charged with four counts of passing bad checks and one count of deceptive business practices. According to court records, she was confined to Delaware County Prison briefly on July 18 until she was able to post $10,000 bail.
On August 15, Radnor Police arrested Jean a second time and charged her with passing bad checks and “theft by unlawful taking”…She did, however, attend her Feb. 9 preliminary hearing on criminal misdemeanor charges in Delaware County District Court. The hearing never happened because witnesses saw Jean moving closer to and pointing her iPad at alleged victim Volpe Beringer in the waiting area, presumably to take photos in violation of posted PA law, according to Reuben Tehrani, Volpe Beringer and a third alleged victim who wishes to remain anonymous.
Jean was also overheard repeatedly saying “bitch” as she spoke to a companion “in a foreign language,” according to the Newtown Township police report.
At Judge Leon Hunter’s direction, Jean was arrested. Police charged her with witness intimidation (a felony), harassment, disorderly conduct and unlawful use of a recording device in court, the report states.
If convicted, she could be fined, put on house arrest or jailed.~ savvy main line 2/28/23
So once we all got over oh le shock because of all the schools for scandal which have popped up on the Main Line, this one is a true doozy position, yes? So this morning, this is what popped up on Instagram:
I will admit that gave me pause.
Yesterday,there was an article that has been published about me on the mainline with a whole bunch of lies.
But NO ONE bothered to call , email to ask me “what’s my side of the story “
But yet so quick to publish and judge.
I have RECEIPTS, EMAILS and TEXTS messages to show my side.
Remember, there’s always two sides to every story .
#alsharpton #protest #blackonthemainline
I thought wow, she’s playing a card I didn’t see coming. Maybe I should have. We’ll start with the obvious: explain the “lies”? One of the folks she is in dispute with has shared this which was posted on social media:
So….there was also NYC. Found this video, which if it ends up like other social media will disappear, but for now there is also “in the beginning“:
So obviously this is an extraordinarily bright and resourceful woman, yes? So why did it all lead to this? And how? And her post today, which I am today was maybe not the only one? Is she someone who has literally been caught doing not such nice things and her response is to play the race card?
Yes there ARE two sides to every story BUT #alsharpton #protest #blackmainline REALLY? Is she saying this happened to her because she is black? Is she trying to get a civil rights thing going to cover up what was reported or distract from it? That just sat funny with me. So I called black friends to ask them their opinions. After all, I am a white middle aged woman and I don’t know what it is to be anything other me.
I spoke with black and bi-racial friends. I sent them the article from Savvy and the screen shot above. I asked them their thoughts. These friends are from various areas, including the Main Line (and not from living there as of five minutes ago.) They all said they found what she implied distasteful and one friend in particular said that it is wrong and just bad form to cry wolf after getting caught doing something potentially terrible and saying it’s a racial issue. A black female friend said black women have to work twice as hard as other women so why do something that may be classified as God don’t like ugly?
I marvel at this whole sad tale, and it is sad. Again, obviously a bright woman, so what happened? What is the disconnect? There is a lot wrong with the Main Line, no one can ever deny that. But to imply if she was white this wouldn’t happen? Nope sorry. If anything, I think she actually didn’t research the area she was coming into enough. And underestimated what would happen when she went from a smaller stage in Glen Mills and Delaware prior to that to a larger stage in Wayne, PA. And she started in New York, right? Huge city, blink and people are onto something else. But the Main Line? Over priced fishbowl. You could be a pink pussycat, it would still happen.
And let’s talk about that whole coming to Wayne. She got lots of press. She had a publicist who placed it well. That put a giant spotlight on her. Television and magazine and more. I have to wonder if the designer Caycee Black from Project Runway really hit her DMs up on Instagram?
The Main Line is a funny place. Always has been. However, even though it is more nouveau Main Line these days, you still have to watch how hard you try to climb. People keep book. It’s true. I actually have warned some others in the past who didn’t pay attention to that. While they didn’t have the scandal factor, it still didn’t work out how they planned. But this lady? Check her debtors list for the bankruptcy, it’s quite the who’s who. And seems like most aren’t talking. Why?
One thing I do not get is how did this all get so far? It’s genuinely a head scratcher for sure. Maybe we will never know. Maybe she will move away and the scandal will be forgotten. Except this happened in Radnor Township. Tongues wag there as fast and furious as in Lower Merion….and well when you pose for faux society photos….and I did have to laugh that these were still posted on the photog’s website of “society” because face it, Main Line “society” as it were doesn’t really exist anymore anyway.
Is this a story that will grow legs, or die on the Main Line and off? Too early to tell but I have to ask, are they opening a store in the Hamptons? If she thinks the Main Line is a tough crowd, oy wait until the bloom falls off the rose up there, right? Is she still pals with her housewives?
Oh pass le popcorn….has anyone called Dateline?