Latitude 360 closes its doors on the Southside

Latitude 360 closes its doors on the Southside

JACKSONVILLE, Fla. — Popular Jacksonville-based entertainment company Latitude 360 closed its doors to its Philips Highway and Indianapolis locations Thursday, leaving only the Pittsburgh location open for business.

A Latitude 360 employee said security took over the building around 8 p.m. Wednesday.

That employee said he and many other employees did not know the venue was closing and have to find new jobs.

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Action News Jax visited Latitude 360's former corporate office in Jacksonville in December. The building was cleared out and the leasing agent said the company had moved out.

Our crew visited the company's new corporate office Thursday, which was locked.

Latitude 360 left a note on the doors of its Philips Highway location that said in part, "The Latitude 360 family would like to thank Jacksonville for an amazing five years. Unfortunately we have had to make and extremely difficult decision and have closed this location."

Another notice posted on the doors said the company owes nearly $133,000 in tangible taxes. The Tax Collector’s Office said the company is on a payment plan to pay it off, but the items inside the building can’t be moved until the sum is paid.

The notice was posted when it closed to protect the taxpayer, said the Tax Collector’s Office.

"To sum it all up into two words, fiscal problems, from day one," said a one-time salaried manager. "(The) safe never had any money in it. Payroll was always bouncing. The upper management always swore everything was OK."

There are eight lawsuits open right now against CEO Brent Brown, Latitude 360 and about a dozen of his related companies. All of the individuals and companies bringing those lawsuits say the company owes them big bucks.

“I think something is not kosher,” said Jared Libman, who owns 3 Rings Printing in Jacksonville Beach.

Libman said Latitude 360 owes his company about $8,500 -- money he doesn’t think he’ll ever see.

The internal salary report Action News Jax got from a source inside Latitude 360 shows Brown makes about $356,000 a year; that’s about $30,000 a month.

Brown has a gated San Marco home. He also has a home in New York.

The company’s landlord is suing them for millions in unpaid rent.

Employees tell us their checks frequently bounced.

The company’s most recent U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission filing shows it lost nearly $8 million in the first six months of 2015.

Action News Jax asked Brown if the money his company made wasn’t going to pay rent, taxes, vendors or employees, where was it going?

“If that’s your story, that a startup needs funding to take care of its obligations, if you think that that’s a great story, then so be it. You’re the professional,” said Brown.

Action News Jax asked Brown whether he’ll be able to pay back the people and companies who lost money on his company.

“Just to say, ‘Can you pay it back?’ Well, I don’t even know what that means. I can’t control the stock market,” said Brown.

“It sucks when you get stiffed. No one likes that and I know I’m not the only person. There’s a lot. A very long line of people that they’ve been screwing over for years, as far as I know,” said Libman.

A man who said he invested in Latitude 360 said the company is currently asking for more money on the heels of the closings.

When Action News Jax asked Brown to confirm, this was his response:

“If you’re a public company, you’re always out there accessing funds,” said Brown.

“I haven’t gotten a single dollar, nor have I been permitted to sell any of my stock,” said a man who says he invested in Latitude 360.

He said he doesn’t think he’ll see a penny of the six-figure amount he invested in the company.

“It makes me angry to give somebody money based on false pretenses,” said the investor. “It’s just not something that’s salvageable.”