One man is a rapper, Tramar Dillard — better known as Flo Rida — a very famous, very successful entertainer.
The other man is Mark Phelan, also successful, owning a smaller business that builds custom-designed waterfalls for a house, condo or business.
Mark Phelan, Vertical River Design: “And they would give an idea of what they are looking for, and once we have an idea we will do an artist’s rendering. Everybody signs off, and we can do exactly what they are expecting.”
Walk through the door of The Green Diamond on Miami Beach, a 12-foot-tall example of one of Mark’s waterfalls catches your eye.
Mark Phelan: “It’s phenomenal. It’s really nice to be in a business were everybody loves your product.”
And the word about Mark’s waterfalls are why Mark and Flo Rida crossed paths. The rapper never met Mark, but one of the representatives from his company hired him. .
Mark Phelan: “And we were contacted to fix a large waterfall that he has at the front reception desk.”
Mark was told a contractor had tried to build this waterfall at Flo Rida’s studio. It didn’t work. Mark was hired to redesign it and get it running.
Mark Phelan: “And they also had a second one that they wanted to build for the back near the recording studios.”
That waterfall would flow over a waterproof TV after a contractor moved the wall back. Mark was given half his fee up front, $3,250.
Mark then fixed this waterfall and created and installed the second one. It couldn’t be turned on because Flo Rida’s contractor hadn’t moved the wall yet, but Mark’s work was done.
Mark Phelan: “And the bottom line is, we did everything that we were contracted do, and we would like to be paid for our work.”
Since April, Mark tried to collect his other $3,250 over and over.
Mark Phelan: “I have been calling like a crazy person, and I dropped off several invoices.”
By the time we met with Mark, he was ready to write it off, and was actually joking about what he needed from Flo Rida’s staff.
Mark Phelan: “I need a check writer.”
A check writer for the little businessman Mark, from the big businessman Flo Rida.
Mark Phelan: “No, [Flo Rida] is always on tour, and I am hoping that’s all the problem is and maybe they are just very busy.”
Well, Howard, Mark did his job, but the second waterfall can’t be turned on till the contractor does his job. Does Mark have to wait to get his money?
Howard Finkelstein: “No. Mark is entitled to get paid when he completes the job he was hired to do. If a separate contractor has not done their job, that’s not Mark’s problem, so he should be paid immediately.”
I called Flo Rida’s studio and spoke to his attorney. Reggie Mathis told me they would never rip anyone off, and they pay all their bills, that they were waiting for their contractor to pull permits to move the wall before paying for both waterfalls.
When I explained Mark wanted his money now, they did send him a $950 check to finish paying for the waterfall that he redesigned and has running.
A couple more weeks passed. When I called Reggie again, he said it was a massive reconstruction, that we aren’t there yet, and if Mark wanted to come get the waterfall that can’t be turned on till construction is finished, to just come get it. The next day, Mark dismantled it and took it away.
Mark Phelan: “For now I have everything that I need, and I am glad we were able to resolve it.”
Mark got his his money, and got the waterfall that wasn’t fully paid for back. “I was getting nowhere. I was really stuck and so glad I got a hold of you.”
Technically, Mark has a waterfall that has been half paid for. When I asked Flo Rida’s attorney if they wanted Mark to return the down payment for that waterfall or come install it when the construction is finished, he said we will see.
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With this Help Me Howard, I’m Patrick Fraser, 7News.