Rapper Flo Rida is celebrating after a Jury in Broward County, Fla., awarded him $82.6 million in a case against the energy drinks company he says he “helped birth.”
The hip hop artist, born Tramar Dillard, and his production company, Strong Arm Productions, sued Celsius Holdings Inc., makers of Celsius energy drinks, in May 2021, claiming the manufacturer violated the conditions of an endorsement deal and attempted to hide revenue from him, the Associate Press (AP) reported.
“Basically, I helped birth this company, and all we was looking for was some trustworthy people who acted as if they were family,” Dillard told the AP. “And then when it comes down to the success of today, they just forgot about me.”
The platinum-selling star originally demanded $30K for the contract breach, but as the company grew, so did the profits, and that, Flo Rida argued in court, was because of his involvement, “starting all the way back in 2014,” according to TMZ, which explains that “the dispute centered around whether his deal with the company expired after it hit certain sales goals.”
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Celsius lawyers, on the other hand, “argued in court and in previous filings that the company reached its greatest success after the Flo Rida endorsement deal ended — and that other business decisions led to increased sales and stock value,” AP reports, adding that Celsius could still appeal the verdict.
While serving as a brand ambassador for the energy drinks from 2014 to 2018, argued Dillard’s lawyers, he played an “instrumental role” in Celsius’ global appeal and brand recognition. It was through the company’s partnership with the singer that it was able to expand its product line to include a powder product and a new line called “Celsius Heat.”
For his contributions, Dillard wanted the 1% ownership in the company he was promised, attorney John Uustal said, adding that the rapper would still be willing to accept the stock in lieu of the monetary award.
“He loved the product, and it’s been a very successful four-year relationship,” Uustal said. “There were some benchmarks. He was supposed to get stock when certain things happened. And there became a dispute about whether those benchmarks had been reached. So that’s what this was about.”
“This was a long journey, but we prevailed,” Dillard said following the verdict.
All smiles, the rapper was seen holding a can of Celsius as he addressed the press.
“From the start, I only wanted what I worked for,” he said.
Moving forward, Flo Rida says he’s got nothing but love for the company he made famous, claiming he continues to enjoy Celsius drinks and owns some stock in the manufacturer.
“I’m still a owner in the company,” Dillard said, according to the AP. “And when you basically planted the seed for something that is successful, you can’t help but have unconditional love.”
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