Electric startup automaker (?) Faraday Future was hit with a fresh set of allegations on Thursday—a 26-page lawsuit that says it failed to pay an electric company for work at the automaker’s headquarters in Gardena, California. It was the latest in a long sting of lawsuits against the upstart company that in recent months has come off as increasingly cash-strapped.
Electrical Services Solution (ESS) says in a 20-count complaint that it’s owed north of $580,000 from Faraday for work to upgrade FF’s headquarters and various other facilities. ESS was also hired as a sub-contractor by Far West Contractors to work on what’s referred to as the “Faraday Future Doors” project.
Far West—also named in the ESS complaint—filed suit against Faraday last month. But a copy of the complaint wasn’t available on the Los Angeles County Superior Court’s website.
An attorney for Far West declined to provide a copy of its suit against FF nor offer any comment on the subject of its claims. The court’s website says it’s related to a “breach of contract.” In other words: Money. How surprising.
In other lawsuit news, FF has responded to a $1.8 million lawsuit from another contractor, The Mill Group, which was asked to produce a $1.82 million graphic presentation to promote FF’s vehicle launch. (You might remember The Mill for its Blackbird, a rig that can transform into any car)
The Mill said it provided the presentation, but alleged that Faraday had only paid the company $20,000 for its work, despite agreeing to pay the $1.82 million in three installments.
The companies didn’t offer comment at the time of the suit.
The Mill’s bid, attached to its original complaint, cited the company’s business terms, which say it “expressly reserves the right, at its sole option, to require payment by instalments during the performance of this Agreement and/or to require payment of all amounts due to The Mill in respect of Works to be provided prior to delivery of such Works.” If FF were to default, the terms say, The Mill was entitled to suspend work and charge interest on whatever amount is due.
But Faraday claims The Mill Group is to blame for the ongoing mess.
In a counter-complaint filed last month against The Mill, Faraday said it contacted The Mill to showcase its production vehicle—the FF 91—two to three months before it was unveiled at the CES show in January.
FF uses breathless descriptions of itself in the suit.
“Cross-Complainant is a visionary, pioneering company that designs and manufactures intelligent, connected performance electric automobiles,” Faraday said in a nine-page suit obtained by Jalopnik. “Cross-complainant had designed and manufactured a new electric automobile that [Faraday] would premiere in January 2017.”
Faraday asserts The Mill knew it wanted to generate “as much excitement and anticipation as possible for its new electric automobile” before the January 2017 unveil. So, the complaint says Faraday decided to schedule an exclusive showcase “no later than early November” to provide “a virtual reality presentation” for the FF 91.
Faraday, the complaint continues, anticipated to invite “select individuals” who could “enhance” its “brand exposure, creative opportunities, and generate positive publicity for [the] new electric automobile.” (This jibes with what Jalopnik reported at the time The Mill filed its suit.)
Over the summer, Faraday said it solicited and received bids from the firms, including The Mill, and explained it needed the project to be completed by October. It was an intense timeframe to turnaround the project, a point emphasized in an email from a Mill executive that Faraday cites in the complaint.
That’s when things apparently turned dicey.
After accepting The Mill’s bid, Faraday says in the suit that it advised The Mill that “it could not complete the Project as represented.” For instance, it cited a script The Mill submitted for a virtual reality component of the presentation, and said it was “inadequate and needed to be redrafted.”
Faraday claims The Mill then said it would complete the project by early November, allegedly forcing Faraday to push the event back a couple of weeks.
Again, Faraday alleges, it received what it described as an “insufficient” design for “some virtual reality components” of the presentation. When both sides discussed the project in late October, The Mill allegedly said it couldn’t work with FF.
“[As] it stands we can no longer commit to a November 7th release date and still maintain the quality of work that [Mill Group] strives to maintain,” The Mill said, according to the complaint.
In the end, Faraday said it was forced to cancel the planned event.
The automaker is asking for various compensatory, punitive, and exemplary damages, as it allegedly “lost an invaluable opportunity to promote its new electric vehicle, enhance its exposure, create pre-order opportunities, recruit celebrity brand ambassadors, and generate positive publicity for its new electric automobile.”