Serenata Beach Club members start online fundraiser to help club employees who are waiting to be paid

Members are rallying to support the Serenata Beach Club staff who are still waiting to be paid by starting an online fundraiser.

With a goal of raising $50,000, member Greg Hagerman is hoping to help Serenata Beach Club employees get back on their feet. So far, the GoFundMe campaign has raised nearly $4,000.

“The members, they all feel fairly responsible for the employees to some extent,” he said. “They become kind of like family after you’re there for a while…Virtually all of them worked because they needed to not because it was a hobby. So they got to pay utilities, buy food, to pay rent, and everything else.”

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Many employees have gone weeks without getting paid after the owner of the club sent a letter to members last week vaguely explaining that the club is having financial issues and will be temporarily closed.

“So usually, when you don’t hear much, you know, from an entity or a business, it’s not always very good,” Hagerman said. “So we’re, you know, we’re kind of anticipating the employees might have to, you know, prepare for a longer run than just a couple of weeks.”

Hagerman was the first donor, generously contributing $1,000 to kickstart the campaign.

A Serenata Beach Club employee who asked News4JAX to conceal their identity said while they’re extremely grateful to be supported by members of the club they also think it’s unfair for the owner to have left them in limbo.

“They pay enough money just to be a part of the club and they should not have to go out of their way to do this for us,” said the employee. “Just a couple days ago, they spoke about how now they think that we’re gonna get paid on Wednesday. But you know, there’s no guarantee just because we’ve been told this over and over again, and it’s just, you know, it’s adding up to be just a bunch of lies.”

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New court documents show a judge ruled in favor of a bank that’s seeking close to $10 million owed to them after the owners of the Serenata Beach Club defaulted on their loan last year. The owners are also facing foreclosure lawsuits related to an unfinished real estate project in Flagler County, the Moonlight Beach Villas.

Given the financial circumstances, employees feel it’s unlikely they’ll be paid what they’re owed by the club owner.

“I certainly believe that as loyal members and even the loyal employees deserve a lot more communication, a lot more information, a lot more transparency than we’ve been offered,” Hagerman said.

The owner of the Serenata Beach Club, Molly Butler, did not immediately respond to News4JAX’s requests for comment.

Hagerman said the plan is to distribute the money raised proportionally to all the employees affected by the closures.

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