Officials in Florida are accusing "Shark Tank" star Daymond John of trying to price gouge them in a deal that would have sent one million highly-coveted N95 masks to front-line health care workers.
The Miami Herald reports Daymond, who founded Fubu and now heads the Shark Group, told officials he had access to the masks and could sell them at $7 each. The masks, which are made by 3M, typically sell for less than $2 each.
"This was not somebody off the street, this was Daymond John," Jared Moskowitz, director of the state's Department of Emergency Management, told the newspaper. "He came to me and said, 'I've been in the clothing business. I have connections with factories in China.'"
Despite the high fee, Florida officials agreed to buy one million masks at the inflated price, saying the Sunshine State needs the masks that badly and is willing to pay any price to help health care workers fight the Covid-19 pandemic.
The deal eventually fell through but got the attention of 3M, which said it's investigating the situation and others like it. Lawsuits for alleged price gouging and fraud could follow.
"3M is not aware of how the Shark Group would gain access to our respirators as it is not an authorized distributor of 3M products or one of our channel partners," said 3M spokesperson Jennifer Ehrlich in a statement Wednesday. "3M list prices, which are published on our website, are far lower than what appears to have been offered to the State of Florida."
The statement continued, "3M is filing lawsuits in cases where third parties use the company's name, brand or trademark to engage in price gouging of N95 respirators and other illegal and unethical behavior. We have no knowledge of whether that occurred in this situation. We are happy, though, to assist law enforcement authorities if they wish to look into this matter."