Restaurateur Imana has announced the upcoming closure of her natural wine bar, Sluts, following allegations of sexual harassment and wage mismanagement that shrouded the shuttering of her first restaurant, Oakland’s Hi Felicia. Just shy of Sluts’ first anniversary, owner Imana, who goes by her first name only, let followers know via Instagram that she is closing the natural wine bar as of Sunday, December 31, and that she will be filing for bankruptcy. “I do not have the finances or resources to go on,” the statement reads, in part. “I have been evicted from my apartment and will need to declare bankruptcy.”
In a series of posts to Instagram, Imana addressed many of the controversies surrounding her restaurant that have unfolded since the summer. Hi Felicia experienced a high-profile burglary and subsequent closure in late May, and in June, former employees alleged to the San Francisco Standard that the restaurant was bouncing paychecks and plagued by high turnover due to poor working conditions. A San Francisco Chronicle report, in which former employees painted a picture of a toxic workplace rife with sexual harassment, followed. Imana denied and further responded to the allegations in posts to her personal Instagram account on Wednesday afternoon.
The Chronicle reported in October that Imana was ordered to pay a dozen former employees $105,555.36 in restitution checks for violating Oakland’s minimum wage law. In a separate Instagram statement posted in October ahead of the Chronicle’s report, Imana defended how the restaurant’s service fees were divided and announced plans to appeal the decision.
In her most recent series of Instagram posts, Imana responded to a number of the allegations leveled against her by former employees and stated that she is behind on both taxes and vendor payments. According to her posts, several vendors have sent her to collections and put liens on her businesses. While she intends to file for bankruptcy, Imana has launched a $55,000 GoFundMe with the express goal of paying back her vendors.
In a statement to Eater SF, Imana writes, “This whole process has been so unbelievably traumatic and difficult to process, and I’m just trying to accept all of the loss. Hi Felicia was wild, messy, and unorthodox by design. To have a group of adults be a part of that, and then rip me and everything we built to pieces, breaks my heart. It was a very important lesson for me, I am sorry to those I have negatively impacted, and I wish everyone well.”