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When Jay-Z’s 40/40 Club stiffs a Queens upholsterer, Howard steps in

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NEW YORK (PIX11) – Rapper/entrepreneur Jay Z seems to have it all. A beautiful wife in Beyoncé.  Tons of money. Fame.  Did I say tons of money?

So why not hire people who can understand the simplest way to avert bad publicity is to pay your debts?

Jay-Z is an owner of the 40/40 Club. Back in 2010 the ritzy Manhattan venue hired a Queens guy, Devanad “David” Kewal to do some upholstery work.


Devanand is a small businessman with a tiny shop, DK Upholstery.  So the $8,800 job was a big deal for him.

He got $4,000 upfront. But the club never paid the rest.

“I call them over and over and I talk to different ones,” Devanand told me. “And they say the person who makes the check is not here. Or the next one to sign the check is not here. Or they’re going to call me back. This (is now) 2014 and still I’m waiting for my money.”

So Devanand eventually went to court.  He won a judgment. But for some reason the judge only awarded him $2,804.88.  That was in April 2012. But Jay Z’s club still didn’t pay. So, as the last straw, Devanand contacted me.

Jay-Z performing

That set off a lengthy effort to get his money. I called. I listened. I went over to the club and to Jay Z’s corporate office. And all I got was a runaround.  Ultimately, the execs kept pointing me back to the PR guy, Ron Berkowitz of Berk Communications.

He actually sent us a statement from the club that said:

“The club is in the process of filing a motion to show cause because we were never served any papers and didn’t know about the lawsuit until contacted by WPIX.  We will not settle this in the media and will get to the bottom of it if indeed something is owed.”


Are the people at the 40/40 Club kidding? What is it about the fact that Devanand had a court judgment against them that they didn’t understand?

I made a last ditch effort to get through to Ron. And fortunately, he understood and must have gotten hold of the right person at the 40/40. Because all of a sudden Devanand got a phone call and they told him they would direct deposit the money he’s owed right into his account.

That’s exactly what happened. And, not only that, but the 40/40 Club offered him more work.

I suggested that this time he get it all up front.

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