Fritz Desir took people’s money for my workshop but he won’t pay me
Steve Portigal

Steve, we’ve spoken so I know for it to get to this point it was not an easy thing for you to do. I think you’re an amazing human being and was beyond gracious with us in the production of the DELVE:PRODUCT NY event this past October. As I’ve been pinged by several people on this topic who are friends and fans of Steve (as am I) I want to be clear about what’s happened and what’s going on.

DELVE:PRODUCT NY as an event was produced solely with funds from myself, loans from friends and was underfinanced from the start. In hindsight, it would have been better to maybe postpone or cancel things but my intention was to put an event together that would have value and provide something to the design community here in NY as I had done successfully in 2009 and wanted to do again. The simple fact is the underfinancing based on undersold (overall) seats, which is obviously my responsibility, had a tremendous impact. While DELVE:PRODUCT NY gave a lot to the attendees and everyone seemed to love it (in part thanks to Steve) by the end I was left approximately $25,0000 in debt (including the $4500 owed to Steve) in to addition some $8000+ in personal debt (rent, utilities, etc.) as I put everything I had into the event thinking it would turn out differently. This was a mistake.

Once realizing the financial condition of the event I could have instantly and immediately communicated but I frankly let me own feelings about how things went depress me and stunt a conversation. This was my second and probably biggest mistake. My thinking was going into the financial uglies was not important as it had nothing to do with Steve so I just tried to get project work professionally to cover it. So while we have been in communication I’ve run into issue after issue working to dig out of the hole created, which I’m sure from the outside looks like someone who is running some sort of scam at worst or abusing the generosity of someone like Steve at best.

To date only Steve’s plane fare for the workshop has been covered and I’d given a deadline of February 29th to begin making headway on the remain $4500 which was in motion as a major year-long project had just been secured that would’ve covered everything. Less than a week ago I had that same project completely fold to be brought in house and since that day to now I’ve been working to make up the shortfall to figure out how to take care of things. This is not something I’ve yet shared with Steve as I figured it would just look like an excuse or some other delay so I’ve been working to resolve it on my own and hence the post.

Since last October (when DELVE:PRODUCT NY happened) I have not done the best to communicate where I could have choosing to focus on getting work in the door and to communicate more when I can actually resolve something. That said, it’s obvious all of this is showing up as someone trying to rip Steve off or someone without regard for his generosity. I am far from either of those things,both being stupid things to do as someone who has worked incredibly hard over the last 12 years to build a reputation in a small design community in one of the biggest cities in the world. I completely understand taking the open Internet to resolve this as I’m sure he felt totally out of options and going after my professional reputation as the only way to reach resolution. Assuming all the while I’m someone who was purposefully avoiding honoring our arrangement which again I can assure you is not the case. I am a fan and have nothing but the utmost respect for you Steve and no matter what I will make sure this gets resolved.

Even before this post I have and will continue to work to get my hands on funds either via loan or work to take care of at least a third of what is due within a week’s time.

If there’s anything else anyone wants to know regarding this assuming you’re a friend of Steve’s or mine and especially those who don’t know me personally, please ask vs. addressing me as if the funds are there and just purposefully not being paid which would accomplish nothing (other than what’s already happening). I can assure you Steve nothing was done purposefully to hurt you as that is the last thing I’d ever want to do.

I will update here as this gets resolved. Thank you Steve for being a great person and doing a truly amazing job I’m just so, so sorry all this has gone this way and thank you to everyone for reading this. — F

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