2 min

Pride sues water reseller

Pride is suing the company which had the exclusive rights to sell bottled water at last year’s celebrations.

But a spokesperson for Markbrand, a “brand marketing company,” says he knows nothing about the $6,000 small claims court suit.

“I can tell you I’ve been here for the last two years, my number’s in the book, I’m easy to find and I have not been avoiding anybody that’s trying to serve me papers,” says Bryce Winter, the director of marketing for the company.

Markbrand approached Pride last year with a proposal to sell bottled water on site. Pride would provide a space on Church St; Markbrand would make a profit while also getting sponsorship funds from the bottled water company for things like an ad in the Pride Guide and a spot in the parade. (That company was Evian, but it has no involvement in the legal dispute.)

Winter says his company did not receive what Pride promised – and so lost money. Markbrand was “contracted for 100 percent exclusive access rights to sell water and that was not provided.”

And there was no electricity on the Saturday.

Pride treasurer Russell Mathew says a legal notice was sent to Markbrand late last fall. (Mathew’s comments repeat allegations found in the court files; there is no statement of defence in the file.)

Mathew admits that Markbrand’s sales were low. “The price was relatively high” – $2.50 a bottle.

“There was a number of things that came up – particularly surrounding the rain on Saturday and early Sunday morning which created all sorts of problems for us, things like electrical systems and stuff.”

But Mathew says Pride still needs to be paid.

Markbrand was required to pay only half of the $15,000 fee upfront. Says Mathew: “Because they had yet to pay the rest of the funds, in theory we didn’t have to allow them on the site – but then there wouldn’t be any water and that would make certain that we got none of the funds. So we chose on their good will to let them go ahead and they would pay us back after.”

Mathew claims a settlement agreement was negotiated in July with the company paying slightly less – $1,500 was taken off the outstanding bill – because of complaints.

The money was due, according to Mathew, in installments in August and September of last year.

According to a statement of claim, Pride says it received $1,000 and three post-dated cheques for $127.76.

After a month of waiting for the balance, the suit was filed.

Winter is optimistic about his chances in court. “I don’t think that this approach will resolve in a positive financial way for Pride. Any amount that they may be claiming is at least offset by potential counterclaims.”