Another day, another lawsuit for Faraday Future

January 24, 2017

Does start-up automaker Faraday Future actually have a future? No one knows, but one thing it's got in abundance is outstanding bills.

One of the invoices gathering dust in Accounts Payable is for nearly $2 million, due to the video effects company that produced content for Faraday's generally underwhelming appearance at CES earlier this month. That company, known as The Mill, is now suing the automaker to get its cash.

The nitty-gritty

Faraday hired The Mill to put together a high-tech presentation featuring "virtual reality, augmented reality and holographic components". The price for all that wasn't cheap: $1,822,750.

But this is Faraday Future we're talking about, a company that was barely two months into building its first-ever car manufacturing plant when it began to signal that it was ready for plant number two. Money was no obstacle. Neither were common sense or restraint.

So, Faraday agreed to pay The Mill in three installments, the first of which was supposed to be $455,687.50. We weren't around when The Mill received check #1, but we assume there was some confusion, disappointment, and calls for everyone to return the mink-lined mousepads they'd ordered, because the payment was for just $20,000.  

Weeks after CES, the $1,802,750 balance of Faraday's bill still hasn't been paid. And so, The Mill has done what any American company would do in such a situation: it's filed a lawsuit.

Our take

Will The Mill ever see all of its money? Probably not. 

That's not necessarily because Faraday is short on cash. The company's current money-crunch could be coming to a close, thanks to founder Jia Yueting's recent wheeling and dealing with Chinese investors.

But even if some of the $2.2 billion he's finagled makes it to Faraday (something of an "if", given the red-stained balance sheets of Faraday's sibling/parent company, LeEco, and China's hesitation to let huge sums of yuan out of the country), there's no guarantee that Faraday will pay up. In response to news of the lawsuit, the would-be automaker issued a statement that read, in part:

"The Mill alleges that it is entitled to full payment for work that it performed. Faraday Future denies this contention, and looks forward to the opportunity to present the facts supporting its position through the legal process."

Which sounds a little like Faraday is blaming The Mill for the dull debut of its FF 91 prototype. Given that the car failed to perform as expected onstage, that blame may be misplaced.

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