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Dept. of Labor Rejects ReBar Staff's Attempt to Recover Lost Wages

By Janet Upadhye | June 20, 2014 11:02am
 Tyler Lindsay and Katherine Cassell are among employees whose claims for lost wages were rejected.
Tyler Lindsay and Katherine Cassell are among employees whose claims for lost wages were rejected.
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DNAinfo.com/Janet Upadhye

DUMBO — More than a dozen reBar employees have lost claims for unpaid wages after the venue abruptly shuttered.

The New York State Department of Labor rejected the requests for the three weeks of pay because reBar's owner filed for bankruptcy.

In one rejection letter, sent to former employee Dina Thavern, senior labor standards investigator Jenita Delgado-Holley wrote that she is unable to pursue the claim because owner Jason Stevens pleaded guilty to tax evasion and "appears to have filed for bankruptcy."

The investigator enclosed in the letter, as proof of her claims, an article from the Daily News that states Stevens "abruptly shuttered last month when filing for bankruptcy."

Stevens' lawyer did not respond to a call for comment.

Thavern was not the only employee rejected based on the Stevens' bankruptcy filing.

"So far, all of our lost wages claims have been denied by the Department of Labor because Jason apparently  filed for bankruptcy," said former reBar event planner Tyler Lindsay, 40.

Lindsay is owed $3,400.

"The day that reBar closed was pay day," he said. "I had to borrow money to pay rent and I know some of the staff are in worse financial situations than myself."

Danielle Scally, 29, who has also been denied by the Department of Labor, said she moonlighted at reBar after working as a teaching fellow during the day.

"I was working 15 hours a day for nothing," said the Bed-Stuy resident who lost $1,400 when reBar closed. "It's hard. Now I'm collecting unemployment and the money I counted on just isn't there."

The Department of Labor said the matter has been referred to the state Attorney General's office.

"The employer filed for bankruptcy,"  officials said in a statement. "Accordingly, jurisdiction has shifted to the New York State Attorney General to authorize any civil penalties."

Stevens faces 3 1/3 to 10 years in prison after he pleaded guilty to grand larceny and criminal tax fraud for stealing more than $1 million in sales tax.