By Alexander Dworkowitz
The closing of a College Point taekwondo school has upset many of its customers, who said its owners have disappeared without giving them their money back.
Sun & Moon’s Taekwondo, which was located at 15-04 College Point Blvd., shut down in April.
The school’s master, Hye Ok Jung, told her students she needed surgery for her leg, and the school would reopen in June, customers said.
The owner of the school, Moon Sun Hwang, had already left for Korea to mourn the death of a relative, customers said.
But instead of reopening, those who patronized the school discovered a “For Rent” sign on the business in May.
“We haven’t heard anything since,” said Helen Rambazis, whose 5-year-old daughter, Kimberly, attended the school.
The store has since been replaced by Joe’s Used & New Household Goods, which sells electronics, furniture and other items and is expected to open this week.
Joe Sonen, the owner of the discount store, said parents have periodically come by his store in the last month, shocked to find out the taekwondo school was no longer there.
“We had two ladies crying,” Sonen said.
Rambazis said her daughter had only a month left in a six-month contract, putting her out about $100.
“(My daughter) loved it,” Rambazis said. “She was very upset. She is asking when she’s going to another place.”
Rambazis said she was concerned, not so much for herself, but for other customers who had signed onto much larger contracts.
“Some people paid in advance and now they are going to be out a lot of money,” she said.
One of those customers is Warren King, who gave the school $1,400 for an 18-month contract for his 5-year-old son, Terrence.
Terrence had only attended the school for six months, King said.
“We did pay in full, and we had a lot of time left, and they’re gone,” he said.
But King said he was willing to give Sun & Moon’s the benefit of the doubt.
“I got the impression that they weren’t being dishonest, that they were trying to make something work.” he said. “They probably don’t have the money to repay people. I am sure if they had the money, they would have stayed.”
Both Rambazis and King said they had no problems with the school before it shut down.
It was unclear how many customers were owed money.
Neither Hwang nor Jung could be reached for comment.
The business, evidently, had struggled financially for a while, according to Fred Mazzarello, president of the College Point Board of Trade. He said Hwang twice bounced checks when he tried to donate to the board’s holiday lighting.
The school once was a member of the board of trade, but later left the organization.
“He never paid his dues,” Mazzarello said.
The wife of the owner of the property, who did not want her name to be used, said Sun & Moon’s had not paid rent since December.
“He didn’t give us the keys. We had to get a court order for him to leave,” she said. “We went to a lawyer. The lawyer said there’s nothing you can do.”
Reach reporter Alexander Dworkowitz by e-mail at Timesledger@aol.com or call 718-229-0300 Ext. 141.