Park Slope Couple is First to Sue Bankrupt ReBar for Ruining Nuptials

By James Fanelli on May 23, 2014 6:43am 

 Jennifer Liseo (left) and Nancy Nienberg (right) are the first couple to sue the owner of reBar after it suddenly shuttered on May 8. The lawsuit says they paid $34,000 to book the DUMBO event space for their Sept. 12 wedding. 
Jennifer Liseo (left) and Nancy Nienberg (right) are the first couple to sue the owner of reBar after it suddenly shuttered on May 8. The lawsuit says they paid $34,000 to book the DUMBO event space for their Sept. 12 wedding. 
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Facebook/Jennifer Liseo

DUMBO — A Park Slope couple who planned on celebrating their nuptials at Brooklyn events space reBar are the first to sue its cash-strapped owner over its sudden closing and bankruptcy.

Nancy Nienberg filed a lawsuit on Monday against the owner, Jason Stevens, accusing him of fraud after he convinced her to pay $34,000 to book the DUMBO venue for her Sept. 12 wedding reception.

Stevens shuttered reBar on May 9, surprising his employees and sandbagging nearly 200 couples who shelled out hundreds of thousands of dollars for their own upcoming weddings at the spot.

Brooklyn prosecutors have subsequently charged Stevens with tax evasion and grand larceny.

But the lawsuit, filed in Brooklyn Supreme Court, says Stevens showed no signs of financial duress when he sold Nienberg and her fiancé, Jennifer Liseo, on the venue.

On April 2 he spent more than two hours enthusiastically showing the couple the space and discussing the logistics of the reception, according to the lawsuit.

“In addition, Stevens took [Nienberg] and her fiancé to the roof and took pictures with the New York skyline in the background to further convince them that reBar was the best venue for their wedding celebration,” the lawsuit says.

Stevens’ hard sell worked and the couple agreed to a reception that could accommodate 200 guests with a five-hour open bar, free popcorn and karaoke.

Initially, Stevens put the cost of the reception at $45,000, but he gave Nienberg an $11,000 discount for paying the entire bill on April 14.

The lawsuit accuses Stevens of fraud for depositing her $34,000 check into his personal bank account and failing to disclose reBar’s severe tax liability.

Nienberg, an architect, and Liseo, a photographer, declined to comment on the lawsuit, but said reBar's closing won't spoil their wedding day.

"We are thankful that so many venues and vendors in Dumbo and Brooklyn and beyond have been so generous in helping us all to recover and replan," Nienberg wrote in an email to DNAinfo New York.

The couple live together in Park Slope and met more than 14 years ago, according their wedding website.

The website also says that on their big day, they planned to get hitched at City Hall and then walk across the Brooklyn Bridge with friends and family to reBar.

Brooklyn prosecutors say Stevens failed to pay more than $1 million in state taxes between 2009 and 2012. 

He pleaded not guilty to tax fraud charges during a court appearance on Thursday.

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