Drake’s, which caters primarily to gay clientele, is one of the oldest adult retailers in the Los Angeles area, with a location in West Hollywood.
“We’re just trying to get some money. I think this debt is at least a year old,” Raging Stallion owner Chris Ward told XBIZ. “They used to have a big account with us, and then all of a sudden, they quit ordering and quit paying. They’ve sold all these movies and made money on them and we deserve to be paid, too.”
Ward explained the studio has always offered credit terms to vendors, but that recently, several customers were getting behind in their paying their bills with Raging Stallion.
“It’s happening more and more,” Ward said. “We don’t mind extending credit to customers during times of financial difficulty, but they need to make arrangements to pay or not take the product. It’s a dishonest business model to take movies without any intention of paying for them.
“We’re very generous with our terms,” Ward added, “but when people abuse that, then they have to pay. You have to pay us or we’re gonna sue you.”
A representative from Drake’s refused to comment specifically on the case, though he did remark that House One is not affiliated with Drake's After Midnight. He said that Gentile had inherited the Drake’s stores when the previous owner passed away in 2006; and with it, several outstanding accounts that the company has been in the process of clearing up.
“Everyone else is working with Drake’s to resolve the issues,” the representative said. He went on to blame the current economic climate for the store’s financial woes, as well as Internet retailers that have affected Drake’s once-thriving mail order business.
According to the representative, Drake’s spent more than $600,000 last year in order to address various financial issues, as well as extensively remodel their Melrose Avenue storefront, but to little avail. The Melrose store, which he pointed out was an expense of nearly $17,000 a month in rent, was recently closed. The West Hollywood location remains open.
“Business on Melrose just dried up,” he said.
A statement from Raging Stallion indicated that there would be more lawsuits filed against other retailers that have gone delinquent on their accounts with the studio.
"This is the first of about 10 lawsuits we will be filing against stores and distributors who refuse to pay their bills,” Ward said in the statement.
“This is becoming a more and more common problem as economic times worsen. We at Raging Stallion, however, will not be left holding the bag,” Ward continued. “We intend to collect each and every dollar owed to us and stores will quickly learn that by refusing to pay they will incur significant legal debt and still have to pay us in the end anyway. The choice is theirs. As for Drakes, we will aggressively pursue them until our debt is satisfied, even if it means seizing assets."
Gentile was unavailable for comment at press time.