Credit: Laura Hayes

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Dacha Beer Garden, still reeling from a month of bad press related to a lawsuit and a heated debate about how the business pays its employees, is launching an influencer campaign called #TheNewDacha.

In an email obtained by City Paper, Dacha co-owners Dmitri Chekaldin and Ilya Alter, together with Designing The District founder Timur Tugberk, invite a select group of people to participate in a launch campaign set to go live on Monday.

“In addition to our VIP membership, we would like to offer each of you $250 in Dacha credit toward your next visit(s) in exchange for 1 static Instagram post and adjacent account shares (Facebook & Twitter),” the email reads. “The story is not required but recommended to further articulate your opinion of #TheNewDacha, as introduced by the static post.”

Those who agree to participate before the deadline—the end of day today—will receive further requirements about the posts along with “copy suggestions.” In other words, they’ll tell you what they want you to say about their restaurant on your social media channels. The email came with an attachment (below) that contains a few more details but redacts Tugberk’s personal contact information.

City Paper reached out to both Tugberk and Chekaldin to learn more about the perks of the VIP membership program and the influencer campaign but did not immediately hear back. This story will be updated should one or both of them respond.

The pending lawsuit deals with expenses related to supplies for Dacha’s sprawling new Navy Yard location that opened earlier this spring, everything from heavy duty kitchen equipment to plates and glasses. The complaint alleges that Dacha owes restaurant supply company TriMark Adams-Burch $277,453 in outstanding bills. It also accuses the restaurateurs of “fraud, ill-will, recklessness, wantonness, oppressiveness, and willful disregard of Adams-Burch’s rights with evil motive or actual malice.”

In response to Washingtonian’s initial article about the lawsuit, Dacha Beer Garden provided a statement. This excerpt addresses the lawsuit:

“This suit includes a frivolous claim of fraud, that arises out of nothing more than a contractual dispute concerning amounts allegedly due for kitchen equipment. The supplier has over-charged Dacha for what was provided, and when Dacha simply requested support for the charges, the supplier hired a national law firm to sue Dacha and its owners for fraud. Dacha expects it will prevail on the unfounded fraud claim and will vigorously defend the underlying breach of contract action which seeks recovery of amounts not due.”

It’s unclear whether the #TheNewDacha influencer campaign will target only the new Navy Yard location at 79 Potomac Ave. SE. The original Dacha Beer Garden, which opened in 2013, is located at 1600 7th St. NW in Shaw.