What’s the total?
To date, I have received information about outstanding memberships, course fees and instructor invoices of: $70,573. This is only an estimate.
What’s the backstory on this number?
After 7 years, 3rd Ward ceased operations in Brooklyn on October 8, 2013, without warning instructors, members or students. (The new Philly location also closed around this time.)
Instructors received an email the next day directing them to contact Nick Alexander, the company’s CFO, with any questions about their invoices.
To date, 51 teachers who worked in 2 states have reported outstanding invoices to #3WTotal adding up to $49,447.
These invoices range from $100 to more than $6,000 and reflect up to 2 months of unpaid work.
The payments received or collected for all 51 teachers since October 8, 2013: $0.
The number of teachers who reported receiving a response of any kind from CFO Nick Alexander: 0.
At least two instructors filed claims with the Department of Labor in New York, but no significant action has been taken on their claims.
At least one instructor filed a lawsuit in small-claims court and eventually settled with Jason Goodman out of court. Jason pushed the instructor to sign a confidentiality agreement but the instructor, luckily, did not sign.
3rd Ward began a crowdsourced investment campaign through Fundrise.com on September 26, 2013, and accredited investors pledged $375,000 of investment capital before the campaign was cancelled around October 9, 2013. 3rd Ward reportedly needed a minimum of $1.5 million just to keep the doors open.
The investors and directors of the company at this time included not just founder and CEO Jason Goodman but high-profile venture capitalists, sophisticated real estate developers, tech entrepreneurs and billionaire Tony Hsieh (of Las Vegas’ Downtown Project, Zappos.com and many, many other projects).
Despite having an experienced CFO on staff, an education director with a corporate-finance background and access to guidance from a host of sophisticated investors, Jason Goodman told the Village Voice that he believed until the very end the company could be saved and that closing the doors was a decision made only at the last possible minute. (Even though the company was in so much debt that $375,000 could not keep the lights on long enough to pay, say, the instructors.)
It’s hard to believe Jason actually believed at anytime in October 2013 that his company could be saved, given the fact that in September 2013, he was already thinking ahead…
While the fundraising campaign was ongoing and Jason Goodman claims he had no idea his company was about to close and leave many people unpaid and in limbo over refunds, workspaces and memberships, he quietly transferred his one substantial asset to his partner, Frida Kamau.
The January 2013 purchase price Jason Goodman paid for the Montauk property: $705,628. The September 2013 price at which Jason transferred the same property to his partner: $0.
The unpaid total debts reported by teachers, vendors, students and members to date: $70,573.
In March 2014, sometime after negotiations ended with at least one other potential buyer, multiple sources report that Jason Goodman moved the company’s equipment offsite and sold it himself, in cash-only deals for which he received thousands of dollars.
“If no savior comes forward, 3rd Ward’s assets—the woodworking tools, the sewing machines, the computers—will be liquidated, and Goodman says creditors, including former students, teachers, and members, will be reimbursed. The organization’s biggest creditor, according to Goodman, is a bank.”—The Village Voice, October 14, 2013.
Of the money raised from the equipment sales, the total amount instructors, members and students have reported receiving to date: $0.
About this project:
#3WTotal is an ongoing research project gathering information on former “maker-education space” 3rd Ward and the debts it owes to teachers, members, students and vendors of 3rd Ward in Brooklyn and Philadelphia. If you would like to share your 3rd Ward story or experience, send an email to: firstname.lastname@example.org.