Angry Brides Confront Owner Of Shuttered Brooklyn Wedding Venue In Court
NEW YORK (CBSNewYork) — Angry brides who had their wedding dreams dashed by a dubious catering hall owner vowed to attend every court appearance and made good on their promise Thursday.
There was a showdown inside a Brooklyn courthouse as the women confronted reBar owner Jason Stevens for closing up shop and allegedly leaving them out thousands of dollars, CBS 2’s Andrea Grymes reported.
Jason Stevens, the owner of the now-shuttered venue at 147 Front St. in DUMBO, Brooklyn, had expected simply to appear before a judge in Kings County Criminal Court on unrelated charges. But he got an earful from his former customers.
“I’m sure your kids are very proud of you. You ruined how many people’s weddings?” one woman said.
“You keep staring at your lawyer all you want. If you think we’re not going to sue the living crap out of you, you’re wrong,” another woman told Stevens.
“We just want him in jail for stealing all of our money,” said bride-to-be Heather Epstein.
More than a dozen soon-to-be brides and grooms confronted Stevens, accusing him of stealing thousands of their hard-earned dollars meant for their weddings.
“To turn around and be a liar is just disgusting,” said bride Stephanie Kutch.
“They made us feel like it’s a one-stop-shop. He basically said, ‘I’ll give you a deal if you can pay in full,’ you know,” Kutch said. “And for two working class people, the money we had at the time saved — we said, ‘Let’s do it.’ We felt comfort.”
Bridge Injy Carpenter said she was out more than $18,000.
“It’s an amount that I would love to have every single penny back, but if I can’t get a dime, I want him to be in jail,” Carpenter said.
Bride Injy Carpenter told WCBS 880’s Irene Cornell she paid Stevens $18,000 as a down payment on her wedding.
“It’s an amount that I would love to have every single penny back, but if I can’t get a dime I want him to be in jail,” Carpenter said.
“I didn’t think that I would be so angry, but then seeing him and seeing him being able to post his bail and pay his lawyer with our money really made me angry,” Carpenter also told CBS 2’s Grymes.
“My blood started boiling and the fact that he was not even remorseful and staring at his phone was even more frustrating,” bride Fabienne Fhal said.
Stevens was arrested last Thursday and is facing tax fraud and grand larceny charges unrelated to the couples who confronted him.
Stevens and his attorney had no comment when confronted inside and outside the courthouse. He escaped a throng of people, but left the brides and grooms with no solace.
“Kind of made my stomach sick – he’s just sickening,” Epstein said.
Stevens is out on $30,000 bail and due back in court next month.
Stevens currently is not facing any charges relating to the couples. The Brooklyn District Attorney’s office referred CBS 2 to the state Attorney General’s office for anything related to the couples who said they lost money.
A representative of the Attorney General’s office confirmed the office is investigating, and as of Thursday was still receiving complaints from Stevens’ customers.
Meanwhile, the brides said they are grateful to the now-unemployed reBar staffers, who have helped them reschedule their weddings.
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