Jack the Horse Fundraiser Update

Earlier this month we posted a report from Eater about the controversy surrounding Jack the Horse’s online fundraiser, which centered on how the funds were being used. While originally understood to be going directly to the restaurant’s employees, the money was also used by owners Tim and Micki Oltmans to pay off expenses associated with the restaurant.

The Oltmans recently started a second fundraising campaign, explaining their decisions and working with GoFundMe to ensure that all money that comes in from the campaign will be sent directly to laid-off staff.

We believed helping our staff included raising funds AND reinstating them in their jobs. In our haste to launch the GoFundMe page, we were not clear on the latter.  The donors’ immediate and generous donations gave us hope that reopening was more of a surety than just a possibility. Believing this trend would continue we determined we would need to pay certain necessary expenses such as Liability Insurance (required by our lease), internet connection, telephone service, and burglar alarm if we had any hope of reopening JtH. Since the business bank account was depleted covering our payroll and the $2000 for employee Metro card purchases, we proceeded to pay some of the necessary expenses using a portion of the donation transfers. We have provided the GFM team with verification of these expenses.

In the first drive we began distributing $200 to each of our employees on March 30th and completed distributions on April 15th. Transfers from GoFundMe to us did not begin until April 7th , one week after distributions commenced, and continued until June 2nd.

Because donations had stopped coming in and reopening was no longer an option, we decided we would make a final appeal using a large database of email addresses. In this new appeal we have promised the donations would only be used to support our former employees. The GoFundMe team has agreed that all donations from the second appeal would be directed to our staff.

The GFM support team has restricted donations and transfers until they have confidence the current funds will be distributed as promised and have asked us to advise you that if you are unsure of our integrity you have the option of requesting a refund. There is currently $2169 waiting to be distributed to our staff and another $2725 on hold at GoFundMe. This amounts to nearly $4900 we are anxious to distribute.

We regret that our lack of foresight caused such a colossal misunderstanding.  It is our sincere hope that you believe our intentions have always been true and honest.

Thank You for your support,
Tim & Micki, Jack the Horse Tavern

The campaign has a goal of $50,000 and has so far raised $16,000, dating back to the original March fundraiser.

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  • Andrew Porter

    Two days later: still at $16,668…

  • Nomcebo Manzini

    Is it just me or do others sense a communication that borders on opaque – and probably by design?

    In light of – I’ll be much more generous here than I think the Oltmans deserve – the “confusion” connected with GFM #1, one would think that the simplest of accountings was a must – did 10 employees get $200 each from a $50K pot?

    Much more importantly, now that – and here, I very much doubt the Oltmans’ claims that they anticipated re-opening at any point after they were forced to close – JTH is en route to being sold, this GFM #2 smells to high heaven. 2 individuals who surely banked quite a significant sum over 10 years are looking for one big pay-day, and goodwill is very much part of that…. So they all but admit that they shafted their workforce in Feb-April, when they turned to the community ostensibly to cushion the blow for minimum wage staff, and now they turn to us Heightsers again to “make things right.”

    Glad that GFM knows bad actors and bad acting when it’s as obvious as it is here. One can only hope that most of those affected – “the working stiffs” at JTH – have been able to qualify for the $600/week REAL AID for all or most of the last 4 months.

  • Jorale-man

    I hope they can make it work. It sounds like there were some missteps, but it would be a shame to lose probably the best restaurant in the neighborhood amid all this.

  • Jorale-man

    Sad news:
    “After 15 years of serving guests and friends in Brooklyn Heights we are closing the doors of Jack the Horse Tavern. The events surrounding the coronavirus pandemic have weighed too heavily on us financially for us to continue.”