7 On Your Side: Art shipping business calls for help to recover thousands

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Thursday, May 2, 2019
7 On Your Side: Art shipping business calls for help to recover thousands
Nina Pineda has 7 on your Side.

BUSHWICK, Brooklyn (WABC) -- A Manhattan gallery, founded by 2 "A-listers" in the fashion and art world, hired a small company in Brooklyn to ship art for them.

After completing the job, the business said getting paid became a big problem. The owners of the small business didn't know what to make of it.

They had done work for this modern art gallery, founded by a power couple in the art and fashion world, with no problem before.

This complicated job involved getting hundreds of pieces of art to Mexico. They shipped last fall. But then they say they got push-back when it came time to pay them in full.

This new mom didn't take any maternity leave for her newborn son, running their family business in Bushwick. Their art services business requires mom AND pop to be hands-on, shipping art around the world.

Especially after they say they had to lay out thousands and didn't get paid on time for one of the biggest jobs on their books.

"$20,000 is a lot of money for a small business. We run on small margins," said co-owner of OCS Art Services, John Marolakos.

"It was a large job for us and for them," added John's wife and the business's co-owner, Nicole Scuderi. "(It was) the largest job we ever billed them."

She was talking about Exhibition A, an art gallery off Madison Avenue co- founded by Bill Powers and his wife, the fashion designer Cynthia Rowley.

The pair's parties and businesses make headlines in Vogue and the New York Times.

But the gallery's invoice of $19,300 for shipping hundreds of prints from New York to a hotel in Mexico was due last November 15th. The gallery director had excuses and apologies, blaming delays on accounting.

"It seemed like they were just hoping that we would just vanish and go away," said Scuderi. "We felt disrespected."

So in March John paid a visit to the Upper East Side gallery. Why did he go? "I wanted to confront him (Bill Powers) and ask him why we didn't get paid," recalls Marolakos.

Powers paid a thousand in cash on the spot. Then, desperate to get paid, OCS Art Services knocked an additional $5,300 off their outstanding bill to settle the matter.

Still, the accounting office asked to pay that discounted remaining amount..$13,000 over 2 years.

"We can't afford to go 2 years with minimal payments a month," said Marolakos.

So we paid a visit to Exhibition A. Mr. Powers wasn't there. But just 48 hours after our visit, Nicole and John got an answer from the accounting office at Cynthia Rowley and a check for $6,500 - half the discounted balance.

Then, Bill Powers told 7 On Your Side, he and OCS Art Services were discussing a year-long payment plan for the rest. But within days, the remainder of the payment, another $6,500 was sent to OCS via FedEx.

"We're thrilled and grateful to you," said Marolakosi. "You made a big difference in our quarter."

"You guys do tremendous work," said Scuderi. "And it's an asset to the city and small business like us."

An attorney for Bill Powers and Cynthia Rowley said the couple are "minority shareholders" in Exhibition A. and acted in "good faith."

Mr. Powers wanted me to note, negotiations were underway before we got involved and said there have been personnel changes in the gallery's accounting department.



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