The US rapper Flo Rida has won more than $80m in compensation after he sued an energy drinks company that tried to hide money from him.
Celsius Holdings, in which the rapper, 43, still owns stock, was found to have breached its contract by a court in Florida.
Flo Rida, whose real name is Tramar Dillard, and his production company, Strong Arm Productions, sued Celsius in May 2021, claiming it had violated the conditions of an endorsement deal as he was not given stock options and other bonuses he was promised.
According to the civil complaint, Flo Rida, who was a brand ambassador for Celsius from 2014 until 2018, played an instrumental role in launching a new era for the company’s brand development, growth and expansion.
The rapper and his lawyers argued that the partnership paved the way for Celsius to grow, but that his contract was vague, which prevented him from benefiting financially.
Flo Rida said: “Basically, I helped birth this company, and all we was looking for was some trustworthy people who acted as if they were family … then when it comes down to the success of today, they just forgot about me.”
John Uustal, a lawyer for Flo Rida, said the rapper wanted the 1% ownership he was promised and would still be willing to accept this instead of the $82.6m (£67m) awarded to him by Broward county court.
Mr Uustal said: “He [Flo Rida] loved the product, and it’s been a very successful four-year relationship.
“There were some benchmarks. He was supposed to get stock when certain things happened. And there became a dispute about whether those benchmarks had been reached. So that’s what this was about.”
Lawyers for Celsius argued that the company was at its most successful after the endorsement deal with Flo Rida ended – and that other business decisions led to increased sales and stock value.
Flo Rida, who said he continues to drink Celsius products, said he would like to partner with the company again in the future.
“I’m still an owner in the company and when you basically planted the seed for something that is successful, you can’t help but have unconditional love,” he said.
Lawyers for Celsius did not immediately respond to requests for comment.