3rd Ward Shuts Down Without Warning or Refunds: Shady Founder to Blame?

October 11, 2013 | Kyle Chayka

Just days ago, Brooklyn education and arts space 3rd Ward suddenly went dark. Rumors of bankruptcy and foreclosure spread, though the owners had recently opened new locations in Philadelphia and Brooklyn. The financial woes are presumably linked to the company spending a bit too much on each of these new properties without first properly securing a business plan. Then, it gets weird.

A fundraising campaign recently surfaced, asking to raise a total of $1.5 million in order to break even to save 3rd Ward, citing that the campaign could also benefit the troubled Philadelphia location. Still, many of us may have gladly contributed funds to the struggling organization, but due to SEC rules, the fundraising campaign is only open to “accredited investors” with at least $1,000,000 in net worth and a minimum annual income of $200,000. It’s a financial fiasco and 3rd Ward founders Jason Goodman and Jeremy Lovitt seem to be to blame. It is unclear why a struggling organization wouldn’t reach out for help earlier, if anything to let its existing members know that there was trouble.

Then, the organization sent out the following email stating that artists as well as existing members of the organization would not be receiving a refund.

Unfortunately, you will not have an opportunity to use your membership after today at 6 p.m., and we will not be able to refund any payments made for membership services that have not been fully utilized before that time.

This is not the first time the organization has been caught acting irresponsibly after promptly shut down a few years ago for operating their space on 573 Metropolitan Ave illegally and with several building code violations. In times like, this you’d expect someone form the company to step forward, offering a solution. Instead, founder Jason Goodman has been far too busy decorating and remodeling one of his two posh vacation homes in upstate New York.

Numerous former employees have spoken out on Reddit describing in detail Goodman’s vision of the company as little more that a “get rich quick” scheme, leaving behind unspeakable amounts of debt and loss in the process.

3rd Ward appeared to be a slush fund to pay his friends for odd jobs, such as to work on his house or the Philadelphia location. They would often rent hotels in Philly and throw parties while paying a lot of money to build all the furniture from scratch. He eventually paid a lot of money for a professional CFO to come in, but the damage was already done, the CFO had no choice but to start firing people and desperately try to get more people to give the company money as they owed the bank interest. This didn’t work since Jason Goodman could no longer lie about the true state of the company. The only employees that were left were the ones who were too clueless to figure out that it was dysfunctional company and a sinking ship, drinking the kool-aid until the very end. There is now so much debt that there is no way out.