When Cathleen Parra got hired to work the Jazz Age Lawn Party on Governor's Island this summer, she was promised payment within two weeks of the August 13th-14th event. It was so swelteringly hot that weekend that Mayor de Blasio warned New Yorkers to stay inside. But the outdoor 1920s-themed dance party went on, and 27-year-old Parra, a burlesque dancer and event planner, worked two days from 9:00 a.m. to 5:00 p.m., monitoring the dance floor for rowdy guests and working the VIP section.

Then, on August 29th, she got an email from the event's HR coordinator explaining that due to the heat wave and subsequent unusually low turnout, "we are a tad behind in reconciling our balances." Parra would be receiving her $300 payment "no later than Sept. 30th, sooner if possible," the email promised. On September 29th, another email arrived, this time with a message from event founder and orchestra director Michael Arenella. "We understand your concerns and frustration," he wrote. "We promise to keep a very open communication as to when these payments are able to go out."

On Tuesday, November 29th, Parra received another message, but still no compensation. "I apologize at every turn of this and take responsibility for our late payments and assure you it will not be much longer," Arenella wrote.

"And here we are," Parra told Gothamist on Wednesday. Parra is one of about 30 workers, including several burlesque performers, who have yet to be paid for their work at the August 2016 JALP.

The event, which charges between $35 and $5,000 per ticket, brought in about 200 workers this August to sell tickets, manage merchandise tables, and serve as crowd control in period costumes.

"I had just quit a job working as an assistant, and the month [after] working the JALP I was in the process of moving. So that money was kind of imperative," said Trinity Starlight, 34, a burlesque dancer who asked that we use her stage name because she feared retribution. "It put me in a precarious situation moving, and then I was behind paying my phone bill."

Starlight said she was paid her $300 on October 20th, after numerous follow-up emails with JALP, but was frustrated about the continuing delay in payment for some of her coworkers. "It's a really beautiful event," she said. "It's just sad what I had to take away from that. I get that having a business is difficult, but it's not like this is his [Arenella's] first time having this event. It just seemed like he didn't care."

Arenella declined to discuss exact finances with Gothamist on Wednesday, but said in a phone interview that his August event had been "completely destroyed" by the heat wave and came in "at a massive loss."

"August was, as you know, one of the biggest heat waves NY has ever seen," he said. "We had not even a third of our regular attendance at the event, as well as literally no bar sales, which is a lot of our revenue."

He also challenged worker allegations that JALP has a "pattern" of nonpayment. In 2013, about 50 workers employed by the event caterer went more than three weeks without compensation. "That was not us," he said. "That was the caterer we hired."

Arenella described the JALP as a "labor of love," saying that the event as a whole is in a "fragile state" financially. He said that "every penny" coming in from his jazz orchestra's recent wedding and bar mitzvah gigs is going towards paying the workers. The same goes for Jazz Age Lawn Party Miami, Arenella's first foray in that city, which is scheduled for the weekend of January 14th and has been in the works since last March. Tickets for that event range from $65 up to $5,000 for VIP packages.

"Every effort of our work in putting together future events such as JALP Miami is a way to continue to keep revenue coming in—this is how we are working toward being able to pay you," Arenella wrote in his November 29th email to workers.

But Starlight said that the broken promises preceding her eventual compensation grated on her trust. "The fact that they kept saying, 'Okay, you should get paid before this date,' and then another date—at that point I felt like I was getting the runaround."