by Roy R. Morris
Veteran funeral home director, James Wilson, is suing superstar Robyn Rihanna Fenty over her alleged failure to settle a more than $300,000 bill incurred for her grandmother’s funeral last July.
Reliable sources said while the attorneys for James Wilson & Company Ltd did not meet their original deadline to have the papers served on Rihanna before she left the island yesterday, after a weekend of partying at Crop-Over activities, the intent was to have them served at her Roc Nation headquarters in the United States today or tomorrow.
According to the document, Rihanna, who maintains a home at No. 1 Sandy Lane, St. James as well as in Los Angeles, through her agents, hired Wilson to accept the body of her grandmother Clara Brathwaite after it was returned here via a New York funeral home, as well as to execute various funeral arrangements.
Wilson’s court claim states:
* On July 2, 2012 the Defendant acting by her agent Mr. Adrian Elcock, enquired of the Claimant acting by Mr. James Wilson whether the Claimant would be prepared to provide services for the burial of the deceased.
* On July 2, 2012 it was agreed partly in writing and partly orally between the Claimant and the Defendant that the Claimant would provide and/or make arrangements for the provision of all services, supplies, works and materials (the services) required for the said burial. The said agreement was made by the Claimant acting by its Managing Director Mr. Wilson and the Defendant acting by Mr. Elcock and the Defendant’s management company, Roc Nation acting through its Manager, Desiree Perez.
* It was an express term, or alternatively, an implied term of the agreement that the Defendant would pay to the Claimant a reasonable sum for the services provided and that the Claimant would be repaid the sums which it advanced or paid or was required to advance or pay to other providers or suppliers in respect of the services not actually performed by it, but which came under its supervision and/or was provided, performed or supplied by required providers or suppliers.
* Among the services which it was agreed the Claimant would provide and/or supervise or would arrange for the services to be provided or supplied and which were so provided and/or supplied and/or arranged and/or supervised were:
(i) arranging with the Emmanuel Baptist Church in preparation for the funeral service of the deceased;
(ii) arranging with Coral Ridge for the burial of the deceased;
(iii) arranging with the Funeral Director in New York for the repatriation of the deceased’s body;
(iv) receiving the deceased’s body, clearing Customs and transporting the body to the Claimant’s premises;
(v) preparing the deceased’s body for the funeral service and burial in Barbados;
(vi) arranging for Obituary Notices in the media;
(vii) arranging for the printing of leaflets for the funeral service;
(viii) arranging for security services;
(ix) providing transportation, including limousines for the deceased’s family;
(x) arranging for the retrofitting of the church and the gravesite. The Defendant was at all material times aware that this service was being rendered by DB Productions Inc. The retrofitting included the installation of portable air condition units, the erection of tents and carpeted flooring around the exterior of the church and the gravesite, the installation of multi-media large screens for extra viewing, the placement of generators to support the additional electricity supply and the supply of special additional seating.
(xi) arranging for supplying the flowers, making the wreaths and other floral arrangements and the outfitting of the church. The Defendant was at all material times aware that the flowers and the service in connection therewith were partly being provided by the Claimant and partly by other florists, including Muriel Bowen of Muriel’s Flowers.
Among the floral arrangements requested and provided were palm trees to improve the aesthetics around the church, sterling roses, purple hydrangea, purple philinthrops orchids, purple delphinamum orchids, the provision of 50 large floral arrangements and one hundred roses for the graveside;
(xii) arranging and supervising the deceased’s funeral from July 2, 2012 to July 10, 2012.”
According to the document, Wilson was asked via email by Elcock on July 2 to send an estimate to Perez, and he responded the following day stating it was too early to prepare a quotation. On July 8 a draft invoice was submitted, which did not include “all of the services rendered by the claimant and/or the other providers”.
However, by letter dated July 15, a tax invoice was sent to Rihanna’s company for BDS $301,793.31 (including $42,862.83 in VAT) covering all services, to which they responded with an email requesting a separation of charges, which was done by later dated July 18.
On July 22, Rihanna’s company, by email, labelled the payment requested as “outrageous” and on July 31 wired to Wilson a payment of $72,970 “and advised that this was the defendant’s final attempt to resolve the matter”. [email protected]
by Roy R. Morris