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Club Q's owner responds to employees' concerns about GoFundMe

Some employees have concerns about how the GoFundMe money is being allocated to survivors and victims.
Credit: KUSA

DENVER — The owner of Club Q raised more than $50,000 on GoFundMe after the shooting there in November, and gave employees and contractors a portion of that total in a single lump sum amount last Friday.

Some who worked at the bar before the shooting are concerned they aren't getting enough, and they believe the owner, Matthew Haynes, is setting aside too much to reopen the bar. 

On GoFundMe, the owner of Club Q said donations would be used to ensure staff doesn't suffer financial hardship, to remodel the bar and to build a memorial for the victims.  

In a statement posted on Facebook last week, Club Q said the amount given to employees and contractors was based on the average amount of money they made per month. They said the club would distribute up to three months' wages in a single payment.

"What we did was follow exactly what we said we would do," Haynes said over the phone on Monday.

Haynes said his objective was to make sure employees didn't lose an income because the bar had to close. He said every contracted employee received three months of pay, while W-2 employees may have received less because they're eligible for unemployment.

He could not say how much of the more than $50,000 raised had been distributed to employees on Friday.

Ashtin Gamblin worked part-time at Club Q. That night in November, she was shot nine times. She received $981 on Friday. 

She said she received workers' compensation because of her injuries, but she believed she deserves more financial help from the club.

"It has seemed like, to a majority of people, that most of the money is going to go to the staff considering most of the staff has not been working for the three months," said Gamblin. "Or like myself, I am unable to work and I am still unable to work."

Haynes believed they came up with a fair formula to allocate money to employees. He encouraged people who were not happy with their allocation to give him a call.

"Our GoFundMe wasn't for pain and suffering," he said. "It was simply to supplement the wage."

Some employees, like Gamblin, are asking Haynes to give staff 75% of the money raised on his GoFundMe. They believe the bar's plan right now is far less than that. 

"We are not trying to be rude or mean," she said. "We are just asking what we deem fair for us and all staff and contractors. A lot of us are out of work. Some of us are afraid to leave our houses."

There are other funds to help those impacted by the tragedy. 

The Colorado Healing Fund raised money to support the victims and families of those killed. 

The Compassion Fund plans to give money to the loved ones of those killed in the shooting, those who were injured by gunshot wounds, those who suffered some other type of physical injury and those who were present at Club Q at the time of the shooting and experienced psychological trauma as a result. The deadline to file an application for that fund is March 8.

Haynes said he's received thousands of messages asking for Club Q to reopen. He plans to use money from his GoFundMe to do that. 

"That’s why we feel passionate about getting Club Q back open," he said. "We feel it is still needed. Unfortunately, there is still hate. There’s still parents that won’t talk to their children. My husband’s parents don’t speak to him because he is married to a man. There are so many of those stories."

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