The former owner of a popular wedding venue has pleaded not guilty to tax fraud charges, but something different is getting him a lot more attention.
WNYW reports Jason Stephens owned a business known as reBar in Brooklyn, New York. Stephens unexpectedly put up a sign earlier this month saying the venue was bankrupt and had closed.
He let his employees know through an email. The New York Post reports the May 9 closure left more than 50 employees without a job, and couples who had booked weddings there were baffled and devastated.
ABC reports many customers shelled out tens of thousands of dollars for their special day over the past few months, and many of those guests say they are still trying to get their money back.
One woman set to be married in September told ABC she's looking to get $34,000 back from Stephens.
"I would love to have every single penny back, but if I can't get a dime, I want him to be in jail."
WCBS notes 150 couples are now trying to figure out where they're going to hold their weddings.
WABC says Stephens has not been charged with anything related to the deposits, but many of the brides who say they're out thousands are getting ready to sue him.
Several of those brides say they've gotten help from the now unemployed reBar workers to reschedule their weddings at new venues. According to WCBS, Stephens is due back in court next month.