The Comedy Store sues accountant over missed $8.5 million in COVID relief funds

The Comedy Retailer filed a lawsuit in opposition to its accounting agency, alleging that it missed out on receiving at the least $8.5 million in COVID-19 reduction funds resulting from “misrepresentations, gross negligence and misconduct.”

Based on the swimsuit filed Tuesday in Los Angeles Superior Courtroom, accountants Moss Adams, based mostly in Seattle with workplaces in Los Angeles, misrepresented its “experience and data about” the federal COVID-related reduction program and failed to tell the Comedy Retailer that the applying to use for the federal government grants was closing in August 2021.

Moss Adams didn’t instantly reply to a request for remark.

The famed West Hollywood establishment that helped launch the careers of numerous comedians together with Richard Pryor and Robin Williams alleges that dropping out on the COVID-relief cash was “notably damaging” as its enterprise dropped by some 90% in the course of the finish of 2020, when the pandemic halted stay leisure and compelled companies to shutdown as individuals sheltered at residence.

The tax-free authorities grant funds, a part of $16 billion in emergency help for performing arts companies, was “a essential ingredient of the Retailer’s efforts to get well from the financial hardship imposed by the COVID-19 pandemic,” the swimsuit states.

After figuring out that the Comedy Retailer was eligible for the funds, Harold Breslow, the Retailer’s momentary appearing controller, together with Chief Govt Peter Shore sought assist in “navigating” the applying course of, in accordance with the swimsuit.

Breslow contacted Moss Adams and was knowledgeable in July that the agency may help and launched Breslow to Aparna Venkateswaran, an accountant on the agency, who was described as “our skilled in all issues SBA,” which means the the Small Enterprise Administration, which was overseeing this system.

The Comedy Retailer alleges that the day after it mentioned its utility with Venkateswaran, it tried to submit its utility, “solely to find that this system had closed and eligibility consequently terminated.”

“Moss Adams straight induced Breslow and the Retailer to depend on its experience in making ready and submitting its utility, and that clearly included assuring the applying was filed whereas this system remained open and the grant remained obtainable,” the swimsuit alleges.

When the Comedy Retailer subsequently issued a requirement letter to Moss Adams, “regarding this gross negligence,” it was knowledgeable that “its complete file regarding the engagement has been misplaced,” in accordance with the swimsuit.

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