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Contractors: Company behind Air Force One replica at National Harbor owes us $200K

Contractors: Company behind Air Force One replica at National Harbor owes us $200k. (ABC7)

Seven contracting companies responsible for conception and construction of the Air Force One replica exhibit set to open Friday threaten a lien on the plane for non-payment of over $200,000.

Ari Scharf is owner of Franklin Exhibit Management Group, LLC, based in New York City. Contractors claim in a letter obtained by the 7 On Your Side I-Team that “Mr. Scharf’s failure to compensate many of the project’s key players represents a negligence of his contractual responsibility at best.”

Scharf owns Franklin Exhibits, his sales and marketing consultant business, and the Project Mesorah charity group he leads.

He commented Monday afternoon to 7 On Your Side:

“The individuals named are a handful of the dozens of vendors we’ve worked with over the years. Unfortunately, some did not fulfill their obligations, either by not delivering goods and services as promised or by working outside of the scope of their contracts and then sending invoices for services that never were requested. Now that the Air Force One Experience is a reality, a few think that a threat of adverse publicity is leverage they can use against us. We will not cave to undeserved claims, but as a company that cares about the community and small business, we will settle any legitimate claims.”

The vendors claiming non-payment include “designers, coordinators, writers, tent and other rental companies, display manufacturers, carpet installers, product vendors, aviation painters as well as the fabricators who built-out the entire interior of the aircraft to represent Air Force One,” according to a letter sent from vendors to Peterson Companies.

“Essentially, we made a huge loan to his company and received nothing in return. So yeah, it really was touch and go for a while,” said fabrication contractor Thom De Jesu.

Peterson Companies is leasing out space to the Franklin Exhibit’s Air Force One Experience at National Harbor and according to a company spokesperson, has no profit sharing arrangement with Scharf’s Franklin Exhibits. Vendors do not allege any wrongdoing by Peterson Companies.

The vendor letter adds, “We will be seeking a lien on the aircraft for non-payment for services in excess of $200,000 and may seek additional compensation for irreparable damage to our businesses and reputations as a result of Mr. Scharf’s failure to meet his obligations.”

The Air Force One replica arrived by barge from Rhode Island Oct. 1st. The exhibit will open Oct. 19th and stay open through the holiday season at 701 National Harbor Boulevard, located by the Gaylord National Resort and Convention Center.

Visitors will get to experience a 90-minute learning experience.

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