Sections

Every employer’s nightmare — summer intern steals from his mentor

The Brooklyn Paper
Share on TwitterTweet
Share on Facebook
Subscribe

Get our stories in your inbox, free.

Like The Brooklyn Paper on Facebook.

It’s the ultimate summer workplace nightmare: A rogue intern stole more than $1,000 from a beloved Boerum Hill gallery after its owner gave him a chance.

Lucien Zayan, owner of the Invisible Dog, caught the troubled 16-year-old clumsily embezzling dough from the Bergen Street art space.

To say he felt betrayed is an understatement.

“I was furious!” said Zayan.

The double-crossing went down on May 9, when the acolyte asked to check his e-mail. As the boss turned his back, the intern transferred $500 in gallery money to his own bank account, via the PayPal window Zayan had left open.

Within seconds, the website sent a confirmation e-mail straight to Zayan. The intern lied that he had not done the dirty deed, but Zayan knew.

“I told him, ‘I have the evidence,’ ” Zayan said.

That’s when the two-bit Capone ran out of the gallery, never to be seen again.

Later, Zayan discovered that the intern had also cashed a $950 check, which he likely swiped from a closet shared by the employees.

The stolen funds have been returned, police are on the case, and Zayan is taking a “que sera sera” approach to it (he’s European).

“For me, and for the Invisible Dog, this isn’t a big deal,” he said Zayan. “But for the intern, he’s in a very bad situation.”

The double-dealing trainee had been placed at Invisible Dog by Exalt, a Brooklyn-based nonprofit that links law-breaking teens to paid internships as an alternative to detention. The interns receive a stipend from Exalt, which starts at $7.50 an hour.

About 150 youth go through the program each year, after a long application and screening process. A five-week assessment prior to placement makes back-stabbings by students “extremely rare,” said Sonja Okun, the group’s founder.

“This was really just an isolated incident,” Okun said.

Of Exalt’s 127 graduates from the past two years, 11 percent have had new arrests — though there have been no convictions, which Okun sees as testament to the program’s effectiveness.

Zayan said his young assistant’s background was never important to the Invisible Dog, a gallery in a 19th-century factory building that houses 30 artist studios and keeps its doors open to the community.

Despite his ill-fated first experience, he will continue to work with the Exalt program.

“I’m not going to stop my collaborat­ion,” Zayan said. “I believe in what they do.”

Today’s news:
Share on TwitterTweet
Share on Facebook
Subscribe

Get our stories in your inbox, free.

Like The Brooklyn Paper on Facebook.

Reader Feedback

common sense from bay ridge says:
That's what you get for hiring slave labor. Next time, try paying your employees.
May 20, 2011, 11:16 am
jj from brooklyn says:
i guess "common sense" doesn't have any. and in this case, the kid was clearly worth less than he was paid (in cash AND in his employer's time and effort).
May 20, 2011, 12:56 pm
BB from gowanus says:
The boy was paid by exalt, not by the invisible dog. That is the way the program works. The invisible dog only provided mentoring and real world work experience.
May 21, 2011, 3:52 pm
tupelo35 from windsor terrace says:
it seems the invisible dog now has an invisible intern.
May 24, 2011, 4:06 pm

Enter your comment below

By submitting this comment, you agree to the following terms:

You agree that you, and not BrooklynPaper.com or its affiliates, are fully responsible for the content that you post. You agree not to post any abusive, obscene, vulgar, slanderous, hateful, threatening or sexually-oriented material or any material that may violate applicable law; doing so may lead to the removal of your post and to your being permanently banned from posting to the site. You grant to BrooklynPaper.com the royalty-free, irrevocable, perpetual and fully sublicensable license to use, reproduce, modify, adapt, publish, translate, create derivative works from, distribute, perform and display such content in whole or in part world-wide and to incorporate it in other works in any form, media or technology now known or later developed.

First name
Last name
Your neighborhood
Email address
Daytime phone

Your letter must be signed and include all of the information requested above. (Only your name and neighborhood are published with the letter.) Letters should be as brief as possible; while they may discuss any topic of interest to our readers, priority will be given to letters that relate to stories covered by The Brooklyn Paper.

Letters will be edited at the sole discretion of the editor, may be published in whole or part in any media, and upon publication become the property of The Brooklyn Paper. The earlier in the week you send your letter, the better.