Aroma Israel sues Shefa for NIS 20m. [pg. 16]

Claims 'Aroma Tel Aviv' - a seperate business entity - harmed reputation of brand name.

The managers of Aroma Israel are taking legal steps to remove Sahar Shefa from any form of ownership in the Aroma coffee chain brand and are suing him for NIS 20 million in damages for hurting the reputation of the brand and the chain. "It's inconceivable for there to be a situation where two holders of a company with such a different approach and separate business management will hold on to the same brand, and therefore we will do everything to remove Shefa from the ownership in the Aroma brand even though it's Aroma Tel Aviv," said Avi Shahar, one of the main shareholders of Aroma Israel at a press conference in Ramat Gan. Aroma Israel, which is a completely separate entity to Aroma Tel Aviv owned by Shefa, added that all damages that they received would come back to the public. The action follows this week's decision by the Tel Aviv Magistrate's Court, which ruled that Sahar Shefa libeled Mali Shalev, an employee of Colmobile, the importer of Mercedes cars. As a result of the ruling Shefa will have to pay NIS 100,000 to Colmobile. According to the complaint filed by Shalev, two years ago Shefa entered the Mercedes dealer's office to buy a car. After a long wait without being taken care of - as the employees were at a conference - Shalev approached him. In response, Shefa shouted at her: "Do you see the color of my skin? I'm white and you are black, and I'm going to screw you. You are a black stain, a black, inferior woman - you're nothing, and I make $800 a minute." The discrimination case caused some uproar among consumers, who turned against the Aroma brand to the extent that there were calls in the media for a consumer boycott of Aroma coffee places. In reaction to this week's court decision, Aroma Israel contacted Shalmor Scherf, a public relations firm specializing in crisis control, to make a more obvious distinction between themselves and Aroma Tel Aviv.