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Franklin Kinard leaves Bar Works: “I have completed my reorganization, and I am leaving the company”

Franklin Kinard sent out another email update yesterday. It’s posted in full below. Kinard is leaving Bar Works. In January 2017, when Konrad Putzer wrote about Bar Works on the New York property website The Real Deal, Jonathan Black was listed as CEO and co-founder. Within weeks, Black’s name was replaced by Kinard’s on Bar Works’ company documents.

But a document dated 16 March 2017 and filed with the Secretary of State for California is signed by Renwick Haddow, Chief Executive Officer of Bar Works Inc.

When did Kinard take over as director of Bar Works?

In a recent email update, Kinard states that he “stepped into the leadership at Bar Works a few months ago, at a chaotic time”.

Here’s an interview with Kinard in September 2016, where he’s introduced as “director of operations of Bar Works”. That’s eight months ago. It’s interesting to hear that Franklin thinks Bar Works was “chaotic” back then.

In the interview, Kinard explains the difference between Bar Works and other coworking companies,

“I think if I had to boil it down to one word, it’s agility. People may need a conference room for an hour, they may need a work space once a week, because they commute in on a certain schedule, they may need it just a few days out of the month. We have many tiers of packages which reflect how people are working today.”

Which sounds a lot like the “reorganisation” of Bar Works that Kinard wrote about in an update earlier this month.

In a November 2016 interview on School for Startups Radio, Kinard is introduced as the “managing director” of Bar Works.

In that interview, Kinard is asked whether Bar Works would sell a franchise to someone wanting to set up a Bar Works venue in, say, Atlanta. Here’s Kinard’s reply:

“Well, it’s interesting. My colleagues who deal with investment specifically field questions like that. I’m not informed enough to give you an answer right now on that, because there are certain other strategic considerations that go into that. But the fact is, as you see on the website, we do field queries from people who say, ‘Hey we think there’s a market for what you’re offering in this city. We believe there’s a market in that city’. We want that feedback, and we’ll pursue those conversations.”

Which is a long way of saying, “I don’t know”. Kinard has colleagues who deal with investment, but he appears not to know much about what they do.

Who is Sam Aura?

Bar Works features in an April 2016 interview on School for Startups Radio. Sam Aura was introduced as “the guy behind a really cool new place in Manhattan called Bar Works”. Aura has an English accent. The interviewer describes his background as real estate and headhunting.

Aura elaborates as follows,

“I’m not the actual person behind Bar Works. I’m one of the people sort of pushing it and driving it forward. That is actually where my skill sets come from. I was a headhunter in the past, you know, in a manner of speaking dealing with the meatware behing the hardware of a company. Companies are built with great people, it’s not just the technology behind them….

“Bar Works is actually built by a couple of silent directors. The guys who had this idea of building something slightly different, you know it’s already available, the opportunity of having a workspace, a space you can work within is not new.”

Unfortunately, the interviewer, James Beach, didn’t ask who the “silent directors” behind the company are. But he did ask Sam Aura how Bar Works was funded. Here’s his reply:

“Well actually, it’s not that expensive. You would normally think is, especially if you’re looking at the news and some of the other office companies out there, that yes, you know, valued at billions and millions, and lots and lots of money to start up with and that sort of.

“We’re actually not the same. But we don’t buy our buildings. We got some, er, some, you know, crowd funded money, at a very early stage to help us get started. For which we haven’t kind of used the entire pot of money available to us either, we’ve used as much as we needed. As much as we’re needing.

“The fact is you know, we are very, very profitable as an entity, the locations that we take on, they’re rented. We rent them. They are street facing. They are front, you know, they’ve got street frontage, there’s retail space.

“They are not priced up the same way as those big offices are, you’ve got those elevators, there’s, you know, there’s designated office space structures. They charge a lot higher than what we are charged essentially. To take on a space it would take.

“So we are benefitting from lower price points taking a space. To gut the place and refurbish and to make it look the way it looks on the website. You’ll notice it’s very similar to what a restaurant does look like. You’ve got seats and you’ve got tables, and you’ve got open space. We haven’t had to do too much, to get something operational in a way that we needed to be.

“So we can make profit very very quickly from our sites without breaking the bank, or charging an arm and a leg for our members. So it allowed us to be profitable at a very early stage, so we can take on the next location.

“And again, it’s a lease, which we can negotiate in places you know that are subject to you know a hell of a lot of footfall at lunch time for instance. Because they are always around, dotted around these large corporate buildings, and all the other restaurants in those locations. We’ve got a lot of strategic advantages that allow us to be profitable very, very quickly.”

Which is a long way of avoiding the question about where the funding for Bar Works comes from.

Who is Franklin Kinard?

Kinard’s LinkedIn page states that he’s been managing director of Bar Works since January 2017. Either that’s a lie, or Franklin was lying to his interviewers in September and November 2016.

Kinard’s only job listed on his LinkedIn page is at Bar Works. But Kinard also states that,

I’m also a veteran of news, sales, marketing and public relations, and a respected copywriter and editor. I have worked with Deloitte, The New York Times, CNN, ABC News and other notable organizations. As well, I was a senior advisor to a prominent philanthropist who founded the Multifaith Alliance For Syrian Refugees.

Bizarrely though, Kinard’s name doesn’t appear in searches on Google associated with any of the companies he mentions. (Kinard’s name is mentioned once on the New York Times website, in a 1984 article where he’s described as a spokesman for The Wall Street Journal!)

Last week, I wrote to each of the companies that Kinard lists on his LinkedIn page. So far, none has leapt to Kinard’s defence.

Kinard doesn’t even seem sure how he signs his own name. In February 2017, when Franklin Kinnard signed Bar Works’ response to The Real Deal article, his signature looked like this:

By April 2017, when he sent out an update about Bar Works’ difficulties with its bank, his signature had changed to this:

Here’s Kinard’s latest (and presumably last) update. While there’s not much point reading too much into any of this nonsense, it does raise a couple of obvious questions. If Kinard has reorganised Bar Works, and everything is hunky dory, why leave? And, why is the cost of construction now an issue, when in April 2016, Sam Aura was keen to tell us that Bar Works’ operations weren’t expensive?

I was retained to execute a difficult restructuring at Bar Works. I had two objectives: (1) End the construction and government compliance issues that kept Bar Works locations from opening; and (2) Launch a succession of newly-formatted Bar Works that have multiple revenue streams, instead of relying solely on membership fees. Achieving those two goals would improve liquidity, thus enabling Bar Works to resume payments. I have completed my reorganization, and I am leaving the company. Immediately, Bar Works shifts to management that will focus on producing income from the revised company footprint.

There’s nothing disruptive here. A few months ago, I was put in charge of Bar Works USA to fix how locations are built in the U.S., because that was by far the company’s biggest weakness. Always, the plan was to activate a more robust sales agenda once construction systems were repaired. In other words, the transfer of leadership to our current sales director is expected, healthy and essential.

I projected before those payments could resume after all the new Bar Works locations are operational in June. My assessment hasn’t changed. Now that expensive construction is ending, the company will have sharply reduced expenses at the same time it sees new revenue from the juice bars, coffee bars, and restaurant that are paying to be in Bar Works locations.

The precise timetable for payments will be set by Bar Works’ new management.

In the course of my restructuring, some Bar Works locations have been closed or abandoned. But stakeholders in those sites will be shifted to locations that have stronger revenue foundations.

I am proud of how I solved serious operational problems at Bar Works. I’m optimistic that the new team leading Bar Works will take the company even further.

If you have further questions please email or call 646 829 1564.

Thank you.


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  1. Well as Sam would say it’s err, you know, laughable to be, you know, honest about it, you know!

    Do we know who the new sales director is? Blofeld? Lex Luther? Hannibal Lecter?
    And the management team?

  2. I’m in investor from UK, keen to get in touch with others and join action on this scam, my investment was the west village and through hopwood house investments in UK.

  3. The resignation is a worrying development for investors. It has signs of a rat deserting a sinking ship. I’m not going to comment on all of this rubbish. The only thing of interest to me is that he says “our current sales director” is going to take over. Surprised he hasn’t given his name. Does anyone know who this trustworthy guy is ? Does anyone have an email from someone who describes himself as ‘Sales Director’ ? I’ve got a lot of emails from all different titles but none are called Sales Director.

  4. Has anybody actually received any correspondence from Bar Works? In my time as an investor in the manhattan site, I have not received any bulletins, e-mails or anything whatsoever from them?
    When my payments dried up, I e-mailed Jonathan Black and Keith Simpson (as I had done on numerous occasions before when chasing for late payments), only to get an automated message stating to contact or contact Nancy Rodriguez on +1 646 829 1564

    I eventually spoke to Nancy, who told me about Franklin Kinard now being the MD, and that payments had been delayed due to a major restructuring. Further e-mails, apparently from Kinard, stated that these would resume after 1st of June and then today, as still not been paid, i telephoned the office number. Cannot get through to anybody, no phones are answered, just giving the option of leaving a voicemail message?

    Seems that Kinard has indeed left a sinking ship, can anybody shed any light on who (if there is one) the new MD is? Has anybody managed to speak within clientservices and, if so, what are they being told?

    Being so far away from the BarWorks offices is a bit of a hurdle as, otherwise, i would be going into their offices asking for these answers..!

  5. @ Stephen
    I think you need to follow the other forum on BW for a full update and reality of what is going on

  6. I also invested in Bar Works earlier on this year, Ive received 2 payments and now nothing for 2 months. I got my agent to call the tel no and someone called Noah replied but couldn’t give any information. Apparently several Bar Works locations are still open. Ive been told that some investors have made a complaint on a federal site. Can anyone advise as to what we should do? Im worried sick!

  7. Hi Chris, ive read many of the comments on here and I understand fully the danger of leaving email addresses on here. May I suggest a Google group is set up, im on one at the moment as im also involved in fighting fraud on another scam here in the UK. We have a specialised legal person fighting our ground who has experience in this field ( we initially instructed solicitors and other companies). I hesitated for a long period of time before I invested in barworks as this was not asset backed but having been burnt by an asset backed product with money in escrow via solicitors, I thought differently.

  8. Hi Anne-Marie – can you please add my e-mail address into any collective groups that are being used for contacting regarding the bar works issues. I am disgusted in how these people have got away with this, and want to be part of any action to bring them to justice

  9. @ Anne Marie – can you give any outline details of the scam in the uk which is asset backed?

  10. Hi, I suggested a Google group if anyone wants to set this up and take the lead. You then have to open a gmail account to access this group. Im involved in another group and we’ve been fighting for months.

  11. The convent hotel in woodchester, Glos. Our money was put in escrow in solicitors account , they were supposed to register charge on properties but this didn’t happen. Scammers have now gone bankrupt and trying to. Sell our properties to 3rd party.

  12. Thank you @ Anne Marie for being so candid. I have read up on this story and am speechless.

    I am currently in the middle of compiling a guide for various market sectors and unfortunately ‘hotel room’ type schemes on research are higher risk than many think. Add to that the fact that it is uk based and it’s understandable that you and others would deem it ‘safer’.
    Unfortunately it really does prove that it is absolutely vital to look at who you are contracting with and how they can make the returns.

    Having said all that, on the face of it you haven’t done anything wrong apart from ‘trust’ people.

    Keep fighting Anne Marie

  13. I would only put my money in dolphin now. Only invested with barwotks as I was desperate for monthly income and I was told that investiors were very pleased with the product. Do I assume that no payments will be resumed? I invested in meatpacking district and Istanbul as this was a freehold.

  14. Too many serial scammers and fraudsters repeatedly getting away with it and using bankruptcy to wriggle out of any responsibility to investors. Money disappears info thin air, diverted abroad in some offshore account or safe haven.

  15. Absolutely agree with you.
    As for the repayments, I would doubt they will resume.
    The other forum puts a lot more ‘meat on the bone’ Anne Marie re. situation/Ponzi thoughts/the CEO etc etc.

  16. We need to form a discussion group on Google, I cant do this as ive got too much stress! Thought it had been resolved but yet again more stress but I will never let these b……….s grind me down, but we need to fight in numbers, don’t let too much time go by as I did previously, if you are sure that no payments will be resumed and this is a scam, we need to act swiftly,

  17. Definitely agree Anne Marie in that we need to fight this and bring the scumbags to justice! I live in the U.K. and have no knowledge on how the legal system operates in US, so not really in a position to contact lawyers, police etc, but will gladly offer any support I can to anybody who leads this?

  18. @ Steve
    If your agent is uk based, contact the FCA. If overseas join the group on the other forum.

    Would suggest all on here who invested contact Marksie on via the other forum.

    Stay strong, stay together or join the appropriate groups

  19. Steve,I don’t know what to believe now as ive just read bad things about Chris Lang, have you read this?

  20. @ Anne Marie – this is Chris Lang’s forum. If you have googled his name and a link came up re. Chris and this redd-monitor website, one was set up by none other than the man you have effectively contracted to, Renwick Haddow who used the name Jonathan Black to fraudulently sign contracts.

    I’m sure Chris might add something to this when he reads your comment.

    He’s a fighter for justice and has been unearthing scammers for some time now

  21. ok thanks for that I expect he is aware of the comments on the site?

  22. @Anne marie – Yes, thanks. I’ve not looked at it for a while, but if there’s anything specific that you want me to clarify, and/or statements there that you want me to refute, let me know.

  23. Ive read there are two lawsuits against Kinard. Can someone please put me in touch with other aggrieved investors or any forum, Ive emailed Marksie but there aren’t any forums. thanks

  24. I think kinard might be a bit of a patsy Anne Marie. He is one of several that Marksie has ‘marked’.

    I have to say that if you have contract signed by Jonathan Black who is actually Renwick Haddow using s false name that surely that constitutes fraud?

  25. I’ll check the contracts tomorrow, what about the new sales director, he has been named on Wikipedia or is he also a fraud?

  26. There are already two lawsuits against Barworks, I tried to join but it not possible and a separate lawsuit must be started, unfortunately this is quite expensive for a single investor to do alone. So if any body else interested please contact the lawyer below, he is already taking care of a lawsuit against Barworks and we can open a third one to get out investment back.


    I have to be honest I don’t think Brad knows the full story either.

    You have to remember that these ‘new’ guys, the kinards, brads etc are ‘probably’ just (or were) employees or answered an advert and were given a job or maybe more so, knew Haddow and he recruited them. That doesn’t mean that they would have known if Haddows past remember and if he was using the name Jonathan Black, they may well have had no idea.
    I’m not saying they are completely innocent but they are not, in my opinion, the ones that you will successfully win against.

    Imagine this, barworks was set up by Haddow/Black. He gets it to a level where they have enough money to open and operate. He’s siphoned off enough himself to skip off to a different country and hands the reins over to someone else who thinks he is now working for a bomb proof, new, entrepreneurial business which is going to be huge.

    It’s easily done, to get drawn in to Haddows web of lies.

    Do you want to go after the octopus and catch it by the neck or would it be better to aim for one of the suckers at the end of one of the tentacles??

    Brad and kinard are both discussed on the other thread Anne Marie, have you read the other thread?

  28. Hi, yes Im aware there are 2 lawsuits. We need to form a group of investors so we can club together otherwise it will cost too much. I suggest we get in touch with the agents we invested with with a view to getting names which I don’t think will be a problem as Im sure other investors will want to get involved.

  29. Yes, I think so, on this site. Have you seen the post with the name of the solicitors? We need to get as many investors on bord to minimise costs. Are you an investor?

  30. Hi Anne Marie,
    I do think the other thread is more informative and there are lawyers mentioned.
    I personally am not invested although have been there, done that and infiltrated to get an understanding as to how these people operate