Art Dealer Bill Powers’s Company Defaulted on $19,000 in Payments to a Small Art Handling Company—Until a TV News Team Paid Him a Visit

A news team stepped in to help a mom-and-pop shop after Powers's company failed to pay a long-overdue invoice.

Cynthia Rowley and Bill Powers attend the Metropolitan Opera Opening Night Gala in 2018 in New York. Photo by Sean Zanni, courtesy of Patrick McMullan.

Waiting to get paid for work that was done long ago: it’s a miserable fact of the art world, and employers often get away with it. But most of them don’t get called out by on TV like art dealer Bill Powers and fashion designer Cynthia Rowley were.

Last year, John Marolakos and Nicole Scuderi, the mom-and-pop owners of OCS Art Services, a small art-shipping operation, sent an invoice for $19,000 to Exhibition A, the company Powers and Rowley founded in 2010. The invoice, for a shipping job that involved sending hundreds of prints from New York to a hotel in Mexico, was due in November.

But come March, Exhibition A still hadn’t made a single payment, even though there were no complaints about the work. So Marolakos went to see Powers and, in a desperate effort to find a solution, offered to significantly reduce the outstanding debt to $13,000, even suggesting a one-year payment plan. Powers gave him $1,000 in cash, and an employee for Exhibition A later firmly told the couple over email that “the invoice will be paid off in installments over the next two years.” It was a solution that Marolakos and Scuderi, who have a newborn son, simply could not afford.

So the couple turned to a local New York news station for help.

When ABC News reporter Nina Pineda visited Exhibition A to seek out payment last month, Powers wasn’t there. But the next morning, a check for $6,500 made it to Marolakos and Scuderi. Days later, the remainder of the $13,000 debt was paid—still leaving the couple $6,000 short of their original invoice.

After the payments were made, Powers told ABC News that changes in the gallery’s accounting department had been to blame for the fiasco, and his lawyer said Powers and Rowley were minority shareholders in Exhibition A, although no other owners are listed on the company’s website.

Neither Exhibition A nor representatives for Powers responded to inquiries from artnet News by press time.

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