BHSI settlement payments running behind

By Kevin Baird
CNJ staff writer
kbaird@cnjonline.com

Clovis has not yet received any portion of a $1 million settlement agreement reached with Brian Sperber, CEO of Beauty Health and Science Industries Innovations, according to city officials.

City Attorney David Richards said the original agreement, which was approved by the City Commission in May, required Sperber to pay $1 million by June 16. However, BHSI modified the payment schedule so that it was comprised of four installments.

Richards said about $312,000 last week was supposed to be wire transferred to the city’s account, as well as $300,000 on Monday, but as of Wednesday afternoon no payments had been received by the city.

Richards said as part of BHSI’s modified payment schedule, BHSI is supposed to pay the city $300,000 on July 1, and the remaining balance, which is about $88,000 on July 8.

Sperber’s attorney, Jim Sargent of K&L Gates, said he is not allowed to speak with the media about this issue due to company policy.

“This gives cause to more skepticism that we’ll receive the funds,” Mayor David Lansford said about the city not receiving a payment, “but I haven’t lost hope.”

The landlord of the cosmetics plant in California received a payment of $152,900 from Sperber. However, Sperber owes the landlord another $187,000 according to Richards.

Richards said as part of the agreement the cosmetic manufacturing equipment in California will be auctioned if Sperber defaults on the agreement. He said the money generated from the auction would be paid reconcile debts to the landlord first, with the remainder of the money going to Clovis.

As of April 18, Clovis’ legal bills relating to this case were near $100,000, according to Richards.

The city paid Sperber $1.8 million in December 2011 to help purchase a cosmetics plant in California with the promise to move operations to Clovis, which would create 350 jobs. The BHSI deal soured about seven months later when Sperber failed to meet deadlines for transferring the operation. Sperber now lives in Guatemala, according to Lansford.