- Associated Press - Friday, May 23, 2014

NEW YORK (AP) - The owner of a popular Brooklyn restaurant that closed abruptly and left dozen of couples without a wedding venue has pleaded not guilty to tax fraud charges.

Jason Stevens, the owner of reBar, is charged with failing to pay more than $1 million in taxes on the business from 2009 to 2012.

Prosecutors were negotiating with Stevens and a settlement was expected by the next court date on June 12.

His attorney told the Wall Street Journal that Stevens surrendered voluntarily. He said the wedding venue allegations were separate from Stevens‘ court appearance Thursday.

The venue was shuttered without warning in May.

More than a dozen men and women who lost their deposits confronted Stevens outside Brooklyn Supreme Court and chanted “Jason Stevens is a thief.”