Wednesday, April 26, 2017

Paint Shop Owner Juan Carlos Enriquez Took On Trump — and Won. maybe

by Tracy Connor
April 26, 2017

Florida paint shop owner Juan Carlos Enriquez has what you might call a complicated relationship with Donald Trump.

For three years, he waged a fierce legal battle to get the real-estate mogul to make good on an unpaid bill.

And then in November, he voted for the guy.

"Politics and business are two different things," Enriquez, 52, told NBC News.

Trump, of course, won.

And so did Enriquez.

Two weeks ago, an appeals court ordered Trump's company to pay Enriquez for $32,000 worth of paint used in a golf-resort renovation, plus his legal fees. The total: more than $300,000.

"A lot of people tried to beat this guy. Bush, Cruz, Rubio all lost against him. But we beat him," said Enriquez, one of at least 60 people who have sued Trump and his companies over unpaid bills.


After the election, Enriquez said, he became more "nervous" about the outcome of the appeal.

"He's got a lot of power," he said of Trump.

And the stakes were high. If he lost, he could have been forced to pay the Trump attorney fees.

"This is a company that just started. Where am I going to get $300,000? I would have gone bankrupt," he said.

On April 12, Enriquez's lawyer called with the good news: the appeals court upheld the judge's order. The attorney who handled the case for Trump, Bruce Rogow, told NBC News there would be no further appeals. The Trump Organization's general counsel, Alan Garten, did not respond to several requests for comment.

Most of the award will go to Vega to cover his fees. Enriquez said he only expects to recoup the original $32,000 plus interest and some money he paid out to cover legal costs.

What he'd like to do with the money is, well, downright Trumpian.

"Hopefully, we'll open another store," he said.

Those plans might have to wait a bit, at least until the check is in the mail.

"I still haven't gotten my money," Enriquez said with a laugh.

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