*Daymond John of “Shark Tank” fame has hit back at claims that he tried to sell face masks at an inflated price to the state of Florida amid the COVID-19 crisis.
We previously reported, John, the founder of the Shark Group, is said to have offered to be a middleman and sell 3M-made masks to the state of Florida at $7 each which is more than three times the market rate, according to a Miami Herald report.
“This was not somebody off the street, this was Daymond John,” Jared Moskowitz, director of the state Department of Emergency Management, told the news outlet.
Moskowitz said John, who of course is known for founding the streetwear brand Fubu, expectedly boasted about his experience in the apparel world.
He came to me and said, ‘I’ve been in the clothing business. I have connections with factories in China,’” Moskowitz said.
Desperate to get the supplies, the state agreed to pay $7 million to John’s Shark Group for 1 million masks, the newspaper reported.
Under an unusual agreement, the state signed the purchase order on March 25 with the law firm Foley & Lardner, which would handle the transaction with the company, according to the report.
But wait! It seems that by mid-April, the multimillion-dollar deal fell through and it’s unclear why that happened, the Herald also reported
John has slammed the report, claiming he was trying to provide the masks to health care workers and help “identify potential fraud and theft of PPE product,” per PEOPLE.
“Today’s Miami Herald story and subsequent reports are false, inaccurate and shows a complete reckless disregard for the truth,” John said in a statement shared on Twitter on Wednesday.
Let me be clear,” he continued. “Proper reporting would have shown I did not set any prices and that my team worked with the state of Florida to: 1. Save lives 2. Help vet the overwhelming amount of incoming PPE offerings based on my manufacturing expertise and guide them how to best do this 3. Play a pivotal role to stop price gouging, and successfully identify potential fraud and theft of PPE product to protect taxpayer funds.”
States were not set up to vet and operate global supply chains and sourcing,” John’s statement said. “Many states were forced to blindly wire money to nefarious parties around the world and ultimately never received correct or safe product.”
“My company was serving as an intermediary to vet the numerous 3M distributors and to protect Florida taxpayers, while establishing escrow protections that allowed the State to conduct proper due diligence before finalizing its purchase of masks,” he continued.
Our system did exactly what it was intended to do. No money was spent and every penny of taxpayers money remained safe. We will continue to work with the proper government agencies in this capacity,” his statement said. “The Miami Herald‘s characterization of my work completely disregards this. Instead, it opts for a gross distortion of the truth in a blind effort to create splashy headlines to mislead readers.”
So there you have it.