Studio vs Classic Truck Owner

(WSVN) - He has two beautiful old vehicles that will soon be in a TV show. Both were rented to a movie studio, but that studio is now saying they made a mistake with the amount they promised to pay, and they are refusing to pay, so he drove in to see Help Me Howard with Patrick Fraser.

Now, this is fun — riding in a 1953 Chevy pickup truck.

Frank Rizzo, enjoys classic vehicles: “Pretty simple in these older vehicles.”

We met with Frank Rizzo back in January, back when you could spend time talking about cars and not the coronavirus.

Frank Rizzo: “I’ve always liked cars as a kid.”

Frank and his son have restored the pickup and this ’57 Bel Air.

Frank Rizzo: “It runs and drives great.”

It’s a great hobby for a father and son. Go to classic car shows, win awards — and get the attention of movie and TV producers.

Frank Rizzo: “The first time that I was contacted, was Amazon Prime, TV show ‘Marvelous Mrs. Maisel.’ It was a really great experience, being filmed at the Fontainebleau in Miami. Even the engine back then, it almost looks like a little model car.”

After that, another show wanted to rent both vehicles.

Frank Rizzo: “And then, I received the request for a TV series that Warner Bros. is doing, ‘The Right Stuff.'”

The Warner Bros. TV subsidiary, called Horizon, offered to pay $6,000 to rent the Bel Air, and in a separate contract, $500 a day for the pickup truck. Frank said yes.

Frank Rizzo: “The contract was only for 54 days. It was about $26,000, and they paid me $2,000.”

The show paid the $6,000 for the car but refused to pay the the $500 a day or $26,000 for the pickup truck.

Frank Rizzo: “And that’s when they responded back saying they made a mistake in the contract, and I’m like, ‘OK, a mistake in the contract, but I held up my bargain, and you’ve had my vehicle.'”

The attorney for Warner Bros. said Frank should have known it’s industry standard to pay a flat rate and not $500 a day like they offered to do in the contract. Not true, says Frank.

Frank Rizzo: “And some of the other car clubs, South Florida and stuff, and they were also being paid per day.”

Frank then said, “Let’s just split the difference.” Give him $13,000 instead of the $26,000.

Frank Rizzo: “And they said, ‘Absolutely not, and we will take you to court and defend ourselves, and you’ll probably get nothing.'”

Well, Howard, you probably rode in these classics when they were brand-new, so I assume you have accumulated a lot of legal knowledge since then. Wanna share it?

Howard Finkelstein, 7News legal expert: “Patrick, let’s be clear. I didn’t make A’s in law school, but in this case, this contract is unambiguous and clear. They drew up the contract. They agreed to pay $500 a day, and so they have to pay it.”

A spokesman for Warner Horizon emailed me, “Mr. Rizzo is relying on an unfair and unreasonable reading of the contract, which would result in a windfall in his favor. Warner Horizon has been trying to resolve this matter with Mr. Rizzo for many months and have made him a fair offer.”

According to Frank, that would be about $4,100 instead of the $26,000 the contract spelled out.

Howard Finkelstein: “Frank has a great case if he wanted to sue, but here is the problem: the contract forces you to submit to binding arbitration in Los Angeles, where the film industry is very powerful and hard to beat.”

Frank probably won’t go through the trouble of suing in California and won’t rent to Warner Bros. anymore.

A beautiful old truck, so I thanked Frank for the ride and shook his hand. You could do that back in the good old days, in January.

Amazing how quickly things have changed for all of us, but as they say, this too shall pass.

Do you have a problem that’s a real classic? Is it growing old, and you want it driven away? Get in touch with us. Whether it’s coronavirus or anything else, we will try to restore your peace of mind.

CONTACT HELP ME HOWARD:
Email: helpmehoward@wsvn.com
Reporter: Patrick Fraser at pfraser@wsvn.com
Miami-Dade: 305-953-WSVN
Broward: 954-761-WSVN

Copyright 2020 Sunbeam Television Corp. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.