The Gathering Spot is still “Black-owned and operated,” according to a recent statement the organization sent to its members. The establishment, however, seems to have a larger issue to focus on.
On July 15, Hip Hop Enquirer reported TGS co-founder and former owner Ryan Wilson has sued Greenwood, Inc. CEOs Ryan Glover and Paul Judge, alleging fraud and deception. The lawsuit, filed in Fulton County Superior Court, accuses Greenwood of failing to fulfill their sales agreement, specifically post payments.
Greenwood acquired TGS, a popular networking hub for Black professionals established in 2016, in May 2022.
Wilson is seeking millions of dollars in damages and the return of his business to him and fellow co-founder TK Petersen, according to Hip Hop Enquirer. The outlet also reported Petersen was abruptly fired from his position at TGS, with circumstances surrounding his termination unclear.
The most recent report comes at the height of TGS cleaning up another social media claim.
On July 13, independent media outlet ATL Uncensored reported TGS co-founder Petersen was fired from the business and was set to be replaced with Mike McCloskey. Petersen is Black, and McCloskey is White. Many TGS members were upset with the initial report Petersen was being replaced by a White man because co-founders Wilson and Petersen have branded the establishment as a safe space for Black professionals to network.
The report appeared to have stemmed from an unauthorized email sent from a TGS email account that “provided incorrect information.”
“We apologize for any inconvenience caused by this incident and are working on improving our security and controls to ensure this does not occur in the future,” TGS’ message, obtained by rolling out on July 15, to its members read.
Petersen is leaving his position as the Chief Operating Officer of TGS on July 31 to move “on to other endeavors.” He still remains a TGS co-founder and shareholder of the digitally-based bank Greenwood.
McCloskey is filling the open role of Chief Financial Officer at Greenwood, Inc. The position has not been filled at Greenwood since 2021, a year before Greenwood acquired TGS in May 2022.
“There have been inaccurate reports on social media that Mike is a replacement for TK,” TGS’ message read. “This is absolutely false … these are two different roles, within two different companies in our family, with two different sets of responsibilities.
“Mike joining Greenwood, and TK departing The Gathering Spot is unaffiliated and is not a matter of replacement. We hope this helps provide additional context and clarification.”
The email also included headshots of TGS’ leadership team, which featured all but two Black faces: Regan Bercher, TGS’ Chief of Staff, and the recently-hired McCloskey. The message pointed out how 75 percent of the TGS leadership team is Black, and so are 97 percent of the company’s employees.
“These numbers reflect our commitment to expanding and embracing opportunities to work together towards a shared vision in moving the culture forward,” the email read.