News, Police Blotter

ReBar Owner Jason Stevens Has His Day in Court Surrounded by Angry Brides, Hecklers and Media

May 22, 2014

An angry mob of customers who had planned events and wedding at the now defunct ReBar greeted its owner Jason Stevens with jeers today as he entered Brooklyn Criminal Court to face charges of tax fraud and grand larceny. While he pled not guilty, the crowd outside had already convicted him.

DNAinfo: “If you think we’re not going to sue the living crap out of you, you’re wrong,” Fabian Fall, who lost $12,500 when her June 8 wedding was canceled, shouted at Stevens outside the courtroom. “Even if I don’t get a dollar back.”

WPIX:“There was no remorse on his face,” said Suzanne Pudesa. She and fiancé Steve Obeng say they paid reBar $16,000 for an August wedding.

Stevens made a brief appearance in court Thursday morning for a pending tax fraud case. Many of the couples want Stevens slapped with criminal charges connection with the closure of reBar.

CBSNY: Heather Epstein, who was to be married at reBar in June, said she was “excited” to learn about Stevens’ arrest. She said she paid the venue nearly $20,000 and has accepted that it’s unlikely the money will be recovered.
“I mean, this is good news for at least us reBar couples, whether we receive money or not,” Epstein told Diamond. “It’s great that he has surfaced. We can get some kind of justice.”

WSJ: The news of Mr. Stevens’ arrest was “sweet justice, but it’s bittersweet,” said Brian Cavanaugh, who was to have his wedding at reBar on June 7. Mr. Cavanaugh, 28, who works for a foundation, and his bride, Heather Epstein, 27, are still trying to pull off their 70-person wedding, albeit a scaled-down affair. The couple said they paid $19,000 to have their wedding at reBar. “We know our money is gone,” said Mr. Cavanaugh.

“Individually, it’s been devastating for all of us,” said Mr. Cavanaugh of the other brides and grooms affected by reBar’s closure. Together the couples have created a community, he said, meeting up with attorneys. “Out of this devastating experience is coming some positive, especially with the Brooklyn community. And that’s hopeful,” he said.

Gothamist: A prosecutor indicated that a settlement might be reached in the case by the next court date June 12th, a deal which would not include criminal charges. However, the NYC Department of Consumer Affairs confirmed that they were working with the Kings County DA on the investigation, and many couples are still planning on joining together for a class action lawsuit.

As for Steven’s reaction to all of the attention? He appeared to fumble with his phone for the entire time as seen in most videos of his arrival.

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