While much of the blame in that filing falls on Spina, he claims that he's been banned from the store since November. The Feb. 21 complaint, brought by Spina against Cartagena in the District Court of New Jersey, tells the story of the store's genesis. In it, Spina says that he worked for months without pay to open the store and put up $480,000 to make Up NYC happen, despite being told initially that Cartagena would fund the operation.
Spina is suing for the money he invested in the store and profits owed, which he says he never received. He claims he was unlawfully ejected from the store on Nov. 25, 2016—just 20 days after its opening—and has been banned from returning since.
The lawsuit describes a takeover orchestrated by Cartagena in which Spina was cut out of the business that he put up so much of his own money to start. He alleges that Cartagena had the store's manager open a new bank account, to which money from store sales was diverted without his knowledge. Spina says that Cartagena's close friends were hired to run the store and then disconnected its cameras, locked him out of his Nike account, and effectively pushed him out of the business. In the lawsuit, Spina says that Cartagena incorporated a new LLC, Up NYC, and diverted all the property from their co-founded LLC, All the Way Up, to it. Spina says Cartagena still operates both of the similarly named companies.
Spina's lawsuit touches briefly on the store's debts owed to Cayan, mentioning them alongside outstanding debts owed to ADT and the City of New York.