Infamous reBar owner Jason Stevens made a brief but noisy appearance in Brooklyn Criminal Court this morning. Stevens, 40, was on hand to plead not guilty to tax fraud charges and grand larceny. Upon arrival he was showered with insults by more than a dozen unhappy couples who had been left in the lurch when Stevens abruptly shuttered reBar two weeks ago. "Here we are thinking you’re a nice guy and you were just pulling a wedding Ponzi scheme," said Fabienne Fhal, who lost $12.5K when her June 8th wedding was canceled, according to DNAInfo. "Now you are using our money to pay your bail. I hope your kids are proud of you."
You can see video of some of the protests below:
"If you think we’re not going to sue the living crap out of you, you’re wrong!" she also shouted. "Disgusting! You are disgusting!" Others in the crowd were holding signs and yelling, "Jason Stevens is a thief," "Where’s our money?" and "Stealing is a crime!"
“I’d never seen him before in person so seeing him today was sickening,” Heather Epstein, who lost a $20K deposit at reBar, told the Post. "He stole a piece of my wedding,” Epstein said. Stevens reportedly kept quiet and spent most of his court appearance fiddling with his phone. "Seeing him right now without anything to say is really frustrating,” Steve Obeng told the News. "There was no remorse in him,” added Obeng’s wife-to-be Suzanne Budesa.
Some former employees told us that Stevens made off with around $150,000 in wedding deposit checks and $27,000 in cash. Stevens had been audited by the IRS last year, and those former staffers suggest he owed $2.5-3 million in unpaid sales tax from between 2009-2012.
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.