3rd Ward Sued Over ‘Lost’ Photo Equipment

Photo by Hilary Lamb for Bushwick Daily.

Tuesday was scheduled to be the last day for 3rd Ward members to retrieve their belongings from the shuttered East Williamsburg maker space, but one Manhattan company is suing 3rd Ward over rented camera equipment its attorney said should have been returned almost six months ago.

Chelsea-based Foto-Care Ltd. filed suit against 3rd Ward last Wednesday in Manhattan state civil court, according to court records. The company’s lawyer Mark Altschul said Foto-Care’s seeking $8,941.36 plus interest for high-end photographic equipment 3rd Ward rented and should have returned by April 18.

“They borrowed some photographic equipment and they say that it’s lost, so they have to have to pay for the lost equipment,” said Altschul, of law firm Altschul & Altschul, describing the lawsuit as “semi-routine.” Altschul said he was unaware of the other difficulties facing 3rd Ward, which suddenly closed its East Williamsburg and Philadelphia locations last week, denying refunds to customers who had prepaid for art classes and studio space  and leaving instructors scrambling to find places to finish ongoing courses.

Attempts to reach 3rd Ward for comment were not immediately successful. On its website, 3rd Ward has said it’ll be “working tirelessly with our creditors  and other stakeholders to seek the best possible outcome for the entire 3rd Ward community.”

Altschul said there was “lots of talking” between Foto-Care and 3rd Ward since April, but ultimately “nothing happened,” leading Foto-Care to file suit. A Foto-Care representative declined to comment further now that the matter’s in litigation. Altschul said the missing hardware is “probably professional-grade lighting equipment.”

Meanwhile, artists who rented studios at 3rd Ward are organizing at Save3rdWard.com to keep at least some of that space for the arts community.And the Brooklyn Brainery, a learning space based in Prospect Heights, has started a “matchmaking service” to help 3rd Ward instructors find new places to teach.

“It’s going very well,” Brainery co-founder Jonathan Soma said Wednesday. “We have a ton of schools and places that do workshops and classes that I never knew existed.” Soma said he’s heard from a few dozen instructors and sites from wood and metal shops to art spaces that are interested in hosting classes. The Brainery plans to get information about exactly what the spaces have to offer and pass it on to the teachers, he said.

“I think it’s doing pretty well for a random thing we threw together in an afternoon,” he said.



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