BenWa Operator Ordered to Pay $186,000
PORT ST. LUCIE, Fla. — A Florida court has awarded $186,000 to the owner of sex toy and novelty retailer and distributor Best Sensation Corp. who accused BenWa International chief executive David Gordon for backing out of a multistate franchise distribution deal and pocketing upfront fees.
Best Sensation owner Roy Ojala, in his original complaint, said he met Gordon at an industry conference last year in Miami, where the two hammered out an agreement for a three-state exclusive franchise distribution deal for BenWa Balls in Florida, Georgia and Louisiana. The deal between the two provided for BenWa to provide "free inventory" in the deal.
Ojala, however, said the verbal deal was fraught with "excuses and delays" and ended up without a contract ever being signed or any inventory delivered despite the fact that Gordon received $62,000.
After a review of the pleadings, evidence and affidavits supplied in the case, Circuit Court Judge William Ruby sided with Ojala, who alleged one count of civil theft, and granted summary judgment. Ruby also agreed to allow treble damages against Gordon, or an award three times actual damages.
Gordon, who represented himself in the case at St. Lucie County, Fla., Circuit Court, didn't respond to XBIZ for comment or questions on whether he'll appeal the judgment.
Ojala told XBIZ that he relished at the opportunity to sell BenWa products because the brand is one of the oldest in the sex toy and novelty business.
Further, Ojala said he liked prospects of the original deal with BenWa because Gordon said "they had deals going with gynocology associations where they spent tens of thousands on these deals which we would take over."
BenWa balls, which have been sold for decades, are small, marble-sized balls — hollow and containing a small weight — that roll around and are used for sexual stimulation by insertion into the vagina.
"Given it was a 70-year-old company, we fell for this hook, line and sinker," he said. "Regardless ... we invested the monies for the distribution deal, which never happened, and when I realized I had been scammed I contacted our attorney to file a suit."
The $186,000 judgment against Gordon, which hasn't been satisfied, does not include Ojala's attorneys fees.