favor owed

See: due
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One favor owed and yes, indeed, I still had the photos in question.
To get their break at the Improv, Albrecht and Zmuda parlayed a favor owed them by Broadway producer Dick Scanga, who hadn't paid them for their work at Scanga's Little Hippodrome, a dinner theater that was going belly-up.
His reasons for doing this are less for the opportunity to land a scoop for the Los Angeles Standard than to pay a favor owed to the LAPD.