Co-owner of Former Jumpolin Property Forced Out as CEO of Status Labs
Jordan French, the landowner responsible for the Cesar Chavez piñata store teardown that rocked Austin in February, resigned Thursday as CEO of Austin-based reputation management and PR company Status Labs. The company's employees asked French to resign, according to a press release they sent out Thursday afternoon.
Their request for French's resignation appears to be a direct result of the actions he took in ordering the demolition of Jumpolin, an East Austin party supply store, with all the merchandise still inside.
Though it's since been revealed that the shop's owners, Sergio and Monica Lejarazu, were given a notice to vacate in the days leading up to the demolition, there are still conflicting stories about whether or not they were made aware their building would be demolished that particular morning. The couple have since hired an attorney, who filed a lawsuit on their behalf. In the incident's aftermath, French also made a public statement in which he appeared to compare troublesome tenants to roaches.
Status Labs calls French's actions toward Jumpolin "inexcusable."
In an open letter to the city of Austin, local Status Labs employees apologize for French's actions and attempt to distance themselves from him and this controversy. Accompanied by a photo of the current employees smiling, the letter declares outright: "We are not Jordan French."
French's actions were performed outside of his involvement in Status Labs, employees say in the letter, but still they extend apologies to the Lejarazus and to the city.
Darius Fisher is a co-owner of the Jumpolin property (the open letter refers to him as a "passive investor in F&F Real Estate," F&F being the group who owns the land), and he's also president of Status Labs. Fisher is based in New York, according to the open letter, and he was "unaware of the extreme measures" French took in evicting the owners of Jumpolin.
KUT reached out to both French and Fisher for comment, and at this time neither has responded.
This ongoing story will be updated if more information becomes available.