DOWNTOWN BROOKLYN — Several angry couples confronted embattled reBar owner Jason Stevens at Brooklyn Criminal Court Thursday morning — ripping into him for leaving them in the lurch when the popular wedding venue abruptly shuttered earlier this month.
The scene came as Stevens pleaded not guilty to tax fraud charges and his lawyer revealed he was in plea negotiations for his client's allegedly stealing more than $1 million in state taxes.
Jilted couples had a chance to confront the man they say stole thousands of dollars in wedding deposits both inside and outside the courthouse.
"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."
Stevens has not been charged with stealing the wedding deposits, but the state Attorney General's office is investigating complaints received in the wake of the closure. The nature of those complaints was not immediately known.
Thursday morning Stevens faced his second arraignment on tax fraud charges for his business called Fulton Ferry Market Inc.
Fall felt that she had been scammed.
"Here we are thinking you’re a nice guy and you were just pulling a wedding Ponzi scheme," she said. "Now you are using our money to pay your bail."
"I hope your kids are proud of you," she yelled.
Other brides-to-be, like Melody Girshizk, 35, who spent more than $10,000 on her wedding, were brought to tears upon seeing Stevens for the first time since reBar shuttered.
"My parents saved money for my wedding since I was a little girl," she said outside the courtroom. "Now it's gone. I feel nauseous."
Stevens barely made eye contact with the brides-to-be outside the courtroom as he checked his cell phone and spoke with his lawyer, Allan Bahn.
“He’s not even remorseful,” Fall said.
Over the last couple of weeks Bahn has been in plea negotiations with the DA’s office and the two parties expect to reach a settlement by Stevens’ next court appearance on June 12.
The details were not immediately clear.
The DA's office is also working with the Attorney General's office regarding the complaints received there, prosecutors said
Outside the Jay Street courthouse couples waited with signs that stated how much money they lost, their wedding date and “No charges,” written in bold letters.
“We lost our life savings,” Fall said.