VIRGINIA BEACH, Va. (WAVY) - A Virginia Beach artist says the Navy owes him thousands of dollars for a mural he painted of a fallen service member.
Todd Lindbergh, of T.A.L.ENT Murals, painted the life-size portrait in a conference room at Joint Expeditionary Base Little Creek-Fort Story. He finished the project in time for a remembrance ceremony in July, but said he was only paid a small portion of the cost.
"I got it all done for their deadline and they had their ceremonies," Lindbergh said. "They told me I'd be paid, and, still to this day, I haven't been paid for it."
According to a T.A.L.ENT Murals invoice, the Navy paid Lindbergh a $2,900 deposit, promising to pay the remaining $9,100 in installments that Lindbergh says never came.
"It's a very touchy subject and I really didn't want to bring this into the public eye," Lindbergh said. "But they are doing me wrong and I think I should be paid."
In October, Lindbergh wrote a letter to a lieutenant at Mobile Communications Detachment Two. The lieutenant said the payment had been submitted to the finance department.
"These aren't the quickest processes in the world," the lieutenant wrote. "It will ensure you get all the money owed to you at once and not in parts."
"I just keep getting told, 'Sure you're going to get paid, you're going to get paid. We're the government. We're going to pay you,'" Lindbergh said.
This was not the first time Lindbergh has painted for the military. He and his brother have painted dozens of murals of service members over the years. Because of that relationship, Lindbergh didn't question Navy officials when they didn't have the money up front.
In addition to military murals, the Lindbergh brothers have painted other popular murals in Virginia Beach, including Olympic gold medal winner Gabby Douglas, service dogs and a boy with an airplane near the site of April's jet crash.
Lindbergh said the murals he paints for the military are the most rewarding.
"It's quite a honor for us," Lindbergh said. "My father was in the Navy and we come from a military town. We support our troops here. It's an honor to be chosen to do something like this."
A spokesman for Naval Special Warfare Group Two issued the following statement Tuesday: "Naval Special Warfare Group Two is aware of the issue and is in the process of working with T.A.L.ENT Murals to rectify the situation."
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