A state appeals court in Florida on Thursday affirmed a circuit court’s decision to order Trump National Doral Miami golf resort to pay a small paint company and its attorney hundreds of thousands of dollars after failing to pay a tenth of that for paint and other materials during a renovation project.
Lawyer fees — in addition to the initial missing payment of $32,535.87 — were originally awarded to The Paint Spot, a local store nearby Trump National, in July 2016, as reported by the Miami Herald. Circuit Court Judge Jorge Cueto applied a 75 percent additional fee on top of the attorney Daniel Vega’s billed time as well, because his firm, Taylor Espino Vega & Touron, had taken the case on a contingency fee basis. The total at the time was $282,949.91.
But the Trump Organization appealed the decision, alleging that the paint company had filed a construction lien incorrectly, naming a contractor who had worked on a separate project. On Wednesday, Florida’s Third District Court of Appeals ruled that “Trump failed to establish that it was adversely affected by the error.”
The court also pointed to an unfortunate bit of testimony from contractor Straticon’s construction manager, Jamie Gram.
“[T]he decision not to pay [Paint Spot] had nothing to do with a defective Notice to Owner,” Gram said, according to the decision. “They weren’t paid because Mr. Trump had already paid [subcontractor] M&P a decent amount of money of the contract … and there was still a lot of work that needed to be completed, so we used the money, M&P’s remaining balance, plus additional funds to pay to get the work done.”
Vega told Daily Business Review on Thursday that he expected the appeals court legal fees to be similarly multiplied by 1.75.
The result is a massive bill for a relatively small disagreement over paint.