Once they were willing to move on, but now they’re trying to get even.
A crew of do-it-yourself artists who were left out in the cold when a big Williamsburg arts center closed last year are banding together to find a way to get back the tens of thousands of dollars the owner of the company owes them.
“The community was just abandoned financially, and that was wrong,” said Robin Grearson, a former teacher at Third Ward, which sat on Morgan Avenue between Stagg and Meadow streets before it suddenly closed in October. “There was never anyone to step up and take any responsibility for that.”
Hundreds of students and teachers were left in the lurch and snubbed on refunds when the craft hub closed, according to Grearson.
Teachers are owed wages and students are owed because they bought multi-classes passes and in some cases, purchased a year-long membership just weeks before the facility went under.
At first, it seemed many were willing to let bygones be bygones, but when some heard that owner Jason Goodman was selling the building’s equipment in cash-only sales, things got heated.
“Why could not they have used that money to pay off the g------ f------ teachers?” said welding teacher Ryan O’Connor, who claims Third Ward owes him $1,600. “Even if it is just in the thousands, it does not make it okay. He should not be able to get away with it and do what he wants.”
Grearson, who put a notice on the web last Monday seeking those that lost money, said in the first day, she interviewed teachers and students who are owed more than $10,000 altogether. And she suspects the outstanding balance will be far higher than that.
Others who claim to be owed money say they have already tried to get it back through the legal system — with little luck.
Jewelry teacher Max Goodman, who claims to be owed $6,000, says the amount is too much to go through small claims court, and that the state labor department has all but ignored her.
“I am not particularly hopeful,” she said.
And Grearson hopes that by banding together, something will be done by the deep-pocketed founders of the company.
“The owners of Third Ward might step up and find some money in their millionaire pockets,” she said.
Jason Goodman could not be reached for comment.