Over the past weekend, Akon caught the attention of fans everywhere when he revealed a relatively disturbing truth about the government and how they rejected his bid to restore power in Puerto Rico. Now, the famed singer/businessman is making headlines for another reason involving business and finance. According to XXL magazine, Akon has been ordered to pay $165,000 to a company called GTFM.
The Aliaune Milano Fashion Line:
The company is said to have that leased Akon space on the 66th floor of the Empire State Building for his Aliaune Milano fashion line. It has been reported that, in 2012, Akon entered into an agreement with the company to pay $25,000 a month for the space. He reportedly made payments for three years straight but stopped around the time of January 2016. Akon’s company reportedly left several months rent unpaid. Now, GTFM is hoping to collect. The company filed a lawsuit over the unpaid rental payments. Since Akon never responded to the lawsuit, a default judgment was granted in favor of GTFM. But despite the $165,000 Akon’s company owes, he claims to have had a solution to one of the biggest problems in Puerto Rico – its massive power outage.
A Rejected Bid:
The latest news comes just days after Akon made headlines when he openly discussed the ongoing issues in Puerto Rico. By now, everyone knows Puerto Rico faced a brutal hurricane season last year and citizens are still struggling to recover. In fact, many areas of Puerto Rico remain without lights. Although Puerto Rico is part of the United States, unfortunately, the government has failed to provide the same type of disaster relief effort it has for others states such as Texas, Louisiana, Mississippi, and Florida. When TMZ caught up with Akon, he was asked about the ongoing problems in Puerto Rico and what he revealed has sparked a media firestorm. The singer turned businessman revealed he could have restored power in Puerto Rico some time ago but the government shut down his efforts. After presenting the government with a promising program that could have worked in Puerto Rico’s favor, his bid was rejected.
“We actually presented a program for Puerto Rico and we got rejected,” Akon told TMZ. “We have the solution for Puerto Rico, clearly. We would’ve had power up in less than 30 days and they rejected us.”
According to the Huffington Post, the $300 million contract was initially given to a small Montana-based energy company known as Whitefish Energy. Despite the company’s reported lack of experience, the massive contract was granted which raised speculation of conflicting interests. Many speculated the company had ties to the Trump administration. The company was also accused of “lack of transparency” during the contract bidding process. Due to all of these factors, Puerto Rico ultimately canceled the contract which further delayed the restoration of power. Even Akon admitted that he believes his company was rejected due to “politics, special interest and propaganda.” He also gave a brutally honest opinion of the government’s interests. “They don’t care about the people,” he added. “If that were the case, then they would have allowed us to go in and provide the solution.”
A $1 Billion Credit Line From China:
Although Akon has been hit with a bill for past due rental payments and his company was denied the contract bid for Puerto Rico, that doesn’t mean he’s hard up for cash or has issues getting work done. Most people probably believe Akon is just another artist in the music industry without the means to pull off such great financial feats, but there’s much more to the Senegalese singer than what meets the eye. Akon is a long way from his humble beginnings in the music industry. Over the years, Akon has evolved into a successful entrepreneur with many thriving business ventures. In fact, back in 2016, the “Soul Survivor” made headlines after he received a $1 billion dollar credit line from Chinese investors. During an interview with VLAD TV, Akon discussed his Lighting Africa Initiative which aims to bring electricity to more than 600 million people across Africa.
“So I went to China,” Akon explained. “I met up with some friends out there, some manufacturers, and aligned myself with one of the biggest companies in China that’s owned by the Chinese Government, that manufactures Solar…” Akon went on to cite the vast difference between poverty in the United States and the living conditions in Africa.
“When I came to the United States, and [saw] the projects or what they claimed to be projects, Vlad I thought they [were] living in luxury, compared to what poverty is back home…” Akon explained, noting that U.S. citizens have a lot more than other people around the world yet many take such things for granted. – Atlanta Black Star
For years, Akon has stressed how his music career would open many doors for him to financially assist the people he loves. According to The Maven, Akon admitted seeing his grandmother’s living conditions was a motivating factor in his decision to bring change to Africa.
“Every time I would come, I would try to upgrade her, but she would never take it… one day I said ma I’m not coming to visit you anymore… you have to at least let me put electricity in the house. Come to find out the grid was so far out; I don’t care how much money I had there was no way I could bring electricity to her.” And that’s the moment it hit him that something needed to be done, not just for her grandmother, but also in other locations across Africa where people live without electricity. “Without electricity, you can’t even begin to develop a country, let alone your own home,” he said.
Akon’s efforts have brought vast changes to Africa. According to Forbes, “100,000 solar street lamps installed across 480 communities in 15 countries, along with 1,200 solar micro-grids and 5,500 indirect jobs created.” The Lighting Africa Initiative has contributed vastly to the implementation of 20th-century infrastructure and it looks like Africa could be well on its way to a better tomorrow.
“The majority of them was focused on the grid,” said Akon, who saw an opportunity for Africa to skip directly to localized solar power, just as much of the continent when from having no phone service at all to having cell phones. “Clearly our main focus was the rural areas outside the city. The challenging part was really getting the leaders there to kind of understand what we were trying to do because solar, at that time, was fairly new and very expensive.”
Best of luck to Akon and may he be successful in his commendable efforts.