Flaunt has featured everyone from Beyonce to Selena Gomez on its covers. But for all its aspirational photo spreads and luxury-goods advertisers, the glossy has been considered somewhat of a poseur publication -- heavy on image, light on substance -- for some local writers and photographers.
And now a Miami events organizer claims that Flaunt skipped out on a bill after throwing a party with Kendrick Lamar during the recent Art Basel festivities. Flaunt's publisher vehemently denies the allegation.
Our sister newspaper Miami New Times this week reported that local event promoter Kerry McLaney is alleging Flaunt owes her and her crew $17,000 for their work in helping to secure a venue and produce a last-minute event for the L.A. magazine.
The Dec. 4 party at the Miami area's Mana Production Village featured L.A. rapper Kendrick Lamar, nude performance art and more.
McLaney says she was approached by a fellow event planner at the last minute and rounded up the venue "as a favor" in less than four days. She says her crew "raced" get the place ready for Flaunt.
The publication put down a $10,000 deposit, but the rest of the bill, $17,000, went unpaid after the event, McLaney said. This despite what she described as nit-picky, last-minute changes, including the construction of walls and a stage, requested by publisher Luis Barajas.
When he was asked to pay up, Barajas berated McLaney and was "super nasty" about the work performed, she alleged.
For his part, Barajas appeared to be just as upset over the situation, telling the Weekly he was planning to sue McLaney:
That's hilarious. They didn't fulfill their part of the agreement. They literally never finished the job. I had to finish the job myself. As it stands, I'm suing them.
We called an L.A.-based production designer who Barajas said could back up his side of the story, but he had yet to get back to us by press time.
Barajas told us this:
I had to fight until the last minute to get the exhibit open and there were many glitches. Luckily I had a lot of friends that helped me get out of the mess, and I was able to save the exhibit. But we had to literally finish it ourselves.
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Here's the full statement from Barajas' attorney laying out his own allegations in more detail:
Flaunt hired Kerry McLaney to construct walls and help install some of its art pieces for its show at Mana Wynwood.
Flaunt paid half McLaney's quote up front, the remainder conditional on the satisfactory completion of the job.
On Monday evening, Flaunt was assured the job would be completed by Tuesday at 10 a.m.
By 7 p.m. on Tuesday, before Wednesday's 6 p.m. opening, the walls were half-built, with no painting or sanding even commenced.
Flaunt then had to source six of its own people to work through the night to finish the walls' completion, including painting. It also paid McLaney's workers cash in hand to stay on and help finish.
One of the individuals sourced has worked extensively in film and television set production and had to substantiate a number of the walls McLaney had built as they were structurally unsound. He and his team bought paint, sanded walls, and helped finish the job.
He is willing to issue a statement from his professional point of view declaring the job unsuitable. He was told on site by McLaney that "she didn't give a shit about the job anyway."
One of the most important installations was never completed due to the delays. Flaunt still incurred the cost of the installation -- over $4,000 worth of draping, projector rental, and shipments for a work that was never shown.
As a result of McLaney's failure to construct suitable walls on time, the entire production schedule, from lighting to installation of artworks was delayed, resulting in numerous rushed work orders, the need for additional cleaning crews, and therein additional expenses to Flaunt.
The results of McLaney's negligence saw the event timing postponed one hour on the opening evening, and additional labor sourcing the following days to complete what wasn't done on time for the opening.
Labor sourced by McLaney for art installation has been paid directly by Flaunt, as McLaney stated she would not pay her teams until she was paid in full.
Flaunt is still assessing the damages caused as a result of McLaney's egregious negligence and is weighing all legal options accordingly.
Flaunt was co-founded by the Venezuelan-born Barajas in 1998.