On Wednesday, a South Florida jury awarded Flo Rida $82.6 million after finding that the makers of Celsius energy drinks breached a contract with the rapper and singer and attempted to conceal money from him.
In May 2021, Flo Rida and his production company, Strong Arm Productions, sued Boca Raton-based Celsius Holdings Inc. in Broward County court, claiming that the company had violated the terms of an endorsement deal.
“Basically, I helped birth this company, and all we were looking for was some trustworthy people who treated us like family,” Dillard told The Associated Press. “And then, when it came down to today’s success, they just forgot about me.”
Celsius’s lawyers argued in court and in previous filings that the company’s greatest success occurred after the Flo Rida endorsement deal ended — and that other business decisions led to increased sales and stock value.
Celsius could still appeal the verdict, but it was unclear whether it would.
The company’s attorneys did not immediately respond to AP’s requests for comment.
According to the civil complaint, Flo Rida was a Celsius brand ambassador from 2014 to 2018. During that time, Dillard was instrumental in ushering in a new era for the company’s brand development, growth, and expansion, introducing Celsius to millions of people around the world, according to the complaint.
Dillard and his lawyers argued that the partnership allowed Celsius to expand its product portfolio, including the addition of a powder product and a new product line called Celsius Heat in conjunction with Flo Rida’s partnership. Since then, the company has consistently sold and collected revenue for its powder form products.
Attorney John Uustal stated that Flo Rida desired the 1% ownership he was promised and would accept the stock instead of the monetary award from the jury.
“He (Dillard) loved the product, and the four-year relationship has been very successful,” Uustal said. “There were some standards. When certain events occurred, he was supposed to receive stock. And there was some disagreement about whether those targets had been met. That’s what this was all about.”
Dillard stated that he continues to consume Celsius products and even owns stock in the company. He stated that he would like to move on from the legal battle and resume working with the company in the future.
“I’m still a shareholder in the company,” Dillard explained. “And when you’ve essentially planted the seed for something that will succeed, you can’t help but feel unconditional love.”