Georgia-Atlanta

Anthony's turned Yacht & Polo Debacle!!! Please read!

The summary of the following story is that one or more unscrupulous businessmen have stolen thousands of dollars from the parents of a young stroke victim, who was marrying her childhood sweetheart. I am  an angry aunt and maid of honor.

 

One year ago, on Memorial Day, 2010, my 21 year old niece, Jennifer, suffered a stroke. She had no prior history of drinking, smoking or genetic predisposition, so the doctors found the cause to be birth control pills. At the time, she was engaged to the boy she first started dating in 6th grade, Dan. Her and her fiancé struggled, yet persevered, to get through this life threatening illness and have since made a full recovery. To give you some perspective of the kind of people they are, she would not entertain the idea of suing or joining a well known class action lawsuit due to the required caution warning label. She feels as though she was warned. I am still pretty protective of her and her health.

The following fall, we began looking for places to have their wedding and I suggested Anthony’s on Piedmont. I had attended weddings there before, and it was just enough "old southern", mixed with "big city", for a girl raised on a cow farm in Yatesville, GA. She loved the place and so her parents reluctantly signed a contract for the wedding to be held on Memorial Day, May 29th 2011, one year removed from her stroke. Her parents wanted Jennifer to come home and get married in a one room chapel in Yatesville, but the bride and groom wanted to start their life together in Atlanta, where they now live, while attending Georgia State. The total amount for the wedding, venue and dinner was $5100.00.

The deposit was made to Anthony’s Fine Dining in December in the amount of $1200, and then the remaining balance of $3600 was paid in January. The due date was two weeks before the wedding, but her parents wanted to make sure it was paid in full so Jennifer did not have to worry about it, so they paid far in advance.

All was fine until May 19th, 10 days before the wedding, Jen and Dan went to Anthony’s to finalize plans and pay the bar fee that was separate ($1200). At that meeting, they were informed by the wedding planner that Anthony’s had been sold and they no longer had a liquor license. They told us we could pay a bartender, purchase the liquor ourselves and pay them an amount equal to the liquor purchase amount to house the liquor overnight or there would be no cocktails as we announced in the invitation. They also removed the Victorian staircases in front, where traditionally, wedding pictures are staged, as well as other changes that we were not told about. Needless to say we were OUTRAGED, but unable to do anything but comply. They assured Jennifer and Dan there would be no more surprises and the wedding would go on as planned.

Then on May 25th, the Wednesday before the Sunday wedding, I received a phone call from Alex Suarez, at 5:11P.M., the new owner of Anthony’s (now called "The Yacht and Polo Club") telling me on voicemail we had a big problem with the wedding. I returned his phone call 10 minutes later and he did not answer. I called again, no answer. I immediately got in my car, drove to the venue and talked to him face to face. He said that the previous owner, Asif Edrish, took all of the money we paid for our wedding and we would have to cancel the wedding unless we paid him 80% of the original cost. He said he had no funds to perform the services and because Edrish owned "Anthony’s" and not the "Yacht and Polo Club" he had no responsibility to fulfill the contract. He also encouraged us to file a police report against Asif Edrish for theft. We could not believe this! 4 days before the wedding! I almost had a stroke! My husband and I talked to Jennifer’s parents, Wendi and Keith and explained the best we could. We had people flying in from California and Wisconsin. We could not cancel the wedding. Additionally, we could not let Jennifer become aware of what was going on, because we were concerned for her health. The next morning, my brother-in-law and sister took $3900 out of their savings (he is a truck driver for Frit-o-lay and she a kindergarten teacher) and took it to Alex Suarez. He made us pay cash because he had to pay the staff and my sister signed a new contract. We had the wedding on Sunday the 29th and Jennifer and Dan had a great day all because of the employees and wedding coordinator, despite the management. Coincidentally, the staff was not paid. Jen and Dan are on their honeymoon now, and still do not know what happened.

Now, I need to get my sister and brother-in-law’s money back. I have made several phone calls to Mr. Edrish, trying to appeal to his compassionate side and he will not return my calls. I did hear from some of the staff at the now "Yacht and Polo Club" that this all stems from a problem between the two men, and not much to do with a poor farm family from Yatesville. Regardless my family is out the additional $3900 plus the $5100. 

A couple things I know:

  1. Alex Suarez knew WAY before telling us so he could have leverage over us with only four days until the wedding. He filed a police report against Mr. Edrish on May 11th.
  2. He was also aware of the special circumstances with Jennifer’s health, which would propel all of us to do anything to keep this from Jennifer.
  3. The previous owner, Asif Edrish, lives in Powder Springs, has filed for bankruptcy and is in foreclosure on his house all in the last couple of days, now he is protected. 
  4. Alex Suarez’ background is in Latin American banking and would have to understand this finicial impact it made on this family. 
  5. They all say that because teh wedding was paid in January, the money is long gone and that the reason we can not get our money back. WHAT?
  6. Neither the previous owener or the current owner accepts responsibility for the money owed.
  7. This has happened to several of their weddings in May and more are planned for June, July and August that have no idea. They may drop something on you at the last minute as well.

 

My sister and brother-in-law have spoken to a lawyer that essentially said they could not afford the legal fees to get $3900 back. I don’t know what to do other than turn to yall for help. My neice and her new husband will be home on Sunday, and I dread having to tell her this story, because I don’t want the wedding to be ruined for her in retrospect. I know she will feel guilty about the money her parents spent and lost. This is my fault for suggesting this place and now I HAVE TO FIX THIS.

Re: Anthony's turned Yacht & Polo Debacle!!! Please read!

  • em01092em01092 member
    1000 Comments
    edited December 2011
    Wow, that really sucks. I can't believe that happened. Definitely report this to the BBB, if you have not already. 

    I don't know what to tell you in terms of getting things settled. If the legal fees are too high, then it's just not worth it to pursue. 

    Another idea? Take this to the local news. They LOVE stuff like this. The publicity you might get could help. At the very least, you can help assure this does not happen to others. 

    Lurkers and anyone else worried about this: great reason to buy wedding insurance. You can get it through Travlers for less than $200 and covers you if your venue goes out of business. 
    April Siggy Challenge-Wedding Escape: Reading HG/dreaming about Peeta.... Image and video hosting by TinyPic Wedding Countdown Ticker Bio-Updated 4/22**
  • edited December 2011
    Oh they probably knew way before your date. It was already well on its way into being turned into a Polo Club on May 12th. The staff, from what we could discern, were under orders not to tell anyone (but knew about it). Notice the wedding coordianter, for example, chose not to have her recent wedding there for reasons she hemmed and hawed about. She likely knew about the mess and didn't want to be caught up in it. The legal documents on when exactly ownership changed and bankruptcy was filed would be interesting, to say the least.

    Alex claims one bride has been succesfull in getting her money back. Who knows if there's any truth to that. I understand Mr. Edrish's phone number has been cancelled now, however. Message me for more details.
  • edited December 2011
    I suggest you do a search for "Anthony's" here in this forum.  There has been a huge discussion about it, the change in ownership, the change in decor, and very VERY furious and upset brides. 

    I highly recommend posting a review on Yelp, Kudzu, WeddingWire, and reporting them to the BBB.  I also recommend contacting 11Alive, Fox, and anyone else.  They need to know about this!

    I suggest you also call whomever they have their business license with.  Why?  Because they don't have a liquor license, I'm pretty sure they cannot house liquor (regardless of who bought it) and sure as heck can't allow it to be SERVED on their premises!

    I'M furious, and it's not even my wedding!

    If the legal fees are too much, why not consider small claims court? I believe you can sue for up to $5000, but I'm not sure.
  • TheCranberryTheCranberry member
    1000 Comments
    edited December 2011
    Speaking of local news... you should contact Clark Howard on WSB (Channel 2).  He also has a radio show in newstalk 750 (FM 95.5) and a website.  You should call his radio or have the bride's parents call in.  I think he's on weekdays 1-4 or something like that.  This is the kind of thing he specializes in, and since this is a popular Atlanta venue/establishment it may be something the local media would be interested in.

    I hope you guys are able to get your money back.  It's really horrible.

    ETA:  This story is really getting around town within the wedding industry.  I met with one of my vendors recently and mentioned that I'd heard this was going on.  They did not have good things to say about the situation at Anthony's.




  • chrissyinatlchrissyinatl member
    100 Comments
    edited December 2011
    Ugh I am so sorry.  Keeping my fingers crossed for you!
  • edited December 2011
    Yes Clark Howard! I love him!

    That is horrible! Some people just have no scruples!

    I hope they pay for treating people like this!
    image
  • laxgardner29laxgardner29 member
    First Comment
    edited December 2011
    Thanks everyone for the support. Just an update, had a meeting with Suarez because he called me and left a message "give me a call, I think I know how we can get your money back". Well I set up a meeting and all he wanted to do was feel us out and see where we were going with this. He was condescending and arrogant. We came to no resolution, with the exception that he has no remorse or ownership in this situation.
    The one funny thing that happened...As we were leaving the lady in the office, maybe his wife, said "Alex you should read this scoop"...So I know they read, AND they know this will affect the business. Keep talking ladies, spread it everwhere!
    Next up, I have to tell the bride. She just got home fromt he honeymoon, but I  can not lie to her. I have to get this out, and can't risk her finding out from somewhere else.
  • edited December 2011
    Oh, it's being spread. I just hope that the other fall and summer brides at Anthony's Fine Dining or the New Atlanta Polo Club hear about Alex Suarez and Asif Edrish's unethical behavor before it's too late for them.

    Anyone discussing it online would also do well to write out the full names of Anthony's Fine Dining and the New Atlanta Polo Club to maxamizes the likelihood of these things showing up on search engines. The more people find out about Alex Suarez's awful behavior as manager of the New Atlanta Polo Club the better.
  • lorifrank2003lorifrank2003 member
    10 Comments
    edited December 2011
    I know a ton of people in the wedding business and I am a new bride myself.  I will put the word out so that no other families get hit with a hard ship like this.  What a shame that Anthony's Fine Dining went down the tubes the way it did. 

    Anthony's Fine Dining and the New Atlanta Polo Club
  • TheCranberryTheCranberry member
    1000 Comments
    edited December 2011
    Some of you all should go to Clark Howard and/or the other local stations in Atlanta.  This is exactly the kind of thing consumer reports love.  A well known business name, emotional situations, shady businessmen.  Seriously.



  • laxgardner29laxgardner29 member
    First Comment
    edited December 2011
    If you have been taken advantage of and Anthony's/ Yacht and Polo owe you money, be my freind on FACEBOOK!

    Request me,  Jennifer Valimont, then you can join my group "Anthony's/Yacht and Polo Club Debacle".
     http://www.facebook.com/home.php#!/home.php?sk=group_135819676493322&ap=1
    Lets figure out how to get our money back TOGETHER!
  • edited December 2011

    A response to all past and future event customers that have or will hold events at The Yacht & Polo Club, LLC (“YPC”)…

     

     It is time to set the record straight and correct some damaging falsehoods.  First, a summary of some very relevant facts:

     

    1. YPC did not purchase Anthony’s Management, LLC (“Anthony’s”), nor any of its assets. YPC and its owner have never owned or purchased any interest in Anthony’s. Anthony’s and its owners do not and never have owned any interest in YPC.

    2. YPC did not assume or obtain any of Anthony’s liabilities including deposits paid to Anthony’s, nor any of the numerous vendor obligations left unpaid.

    3. YPC had an agreement with Anthony’s that was terminated on May 16, 2011 when Anthony’s defaulted on the agreement and also refused to return collected event deposits to all those that have paid them. Some of these deposits in question were collected after May 16, 2011 and Anthony’s seemingly collected deposits and payments for events after May 16, 2011, fraudulently.

    4. A police report (#111411037) was filed on May 21, 2011 (not May 11, 2011 as incorrectly mentioned by a blog) by me against Asif Edrish (Anthony’s co-owner) for the theft of inventory, stolen equipment, and the theft of customer deposits. Anthony’s has also failed to make payroll payments to employees owed prior to May 16, 2011. YPC was forced to close for business with these thefts and other forms of sabotage perpetrated by Mr. Edrish.

    5. All past event contracts that were executed with Anthony’s are invalid and all paid deposits must be disputed directly with Anthony’s, Mr. Edrish, or Ms. Mary Dean Aguirre.  Payments made with credit cards, should be disputed as soon as possible with a filed police report, since Anthony’s is and has been incapable of performing any of the services associated with those ill begotten cash deposits.

    6. YPC is attempting to gather evidence that payments taken by Anthony’s on May 13, 2011 (for a May 20th event) and May 18, 2011 for a June 11, 2011 event, were taken with the “intent to defraud.”  Criminalizing Mr. Edrish’s and Ms. Aguirre’s actions, at this point, would be in the best interest of all damaged parties.

    7. YPC will enter into new event agreement contracts, in good faith and on a case-by-case basis, with an awareness of lost deposits and damaged customer expectations. Certain limited discounts, upgrades or concessions may be offered by YPC in these new event contracts with the goal of gaining some measure of good will.

     

    In regards to two recent weddings held and mentioned in blogs, YPC did enter into two new contracts with two wedding events that were paid in full to Anthony’s before and after May 16, 2011.  Despite many challenges, YPC opened for business, hosted two weddings, performed services admirably (even acknowledged in the maid of honor’s blog), and substantially discounted the cost of services rendered. Following all laws and operating with a newly obtained business license, YPC also allowed both parties to purchase and pour their own alcohol at the event, to realize further savings. YPC lost money reopening, hiring independent contractors, and hosting these events. However, it seemed like the right thing to do for these brides and their families.  Threatening criminal action against Mr. Edrish for taking these (full) payments worked for one bride’s father and he received 100% or more of the amount paid to YPC.  The other bride’s father was apparently less successful. Early payments made in January, became “final and full payments” when the wedding event (held over Memorial Day weekend on a Sunday) reduced the wedding quest count by about half. Minimums relating to wedding events were waived, extra payments were made to servers and others, and YPC performed all its obligations for the payments it received under an executed YPC Events Agreement. Despite the blog disparagements from the maid of honor (not the father or the bride) and attempts to damage YPC’s business and reputation, I remain committed to helping the Olive family; obtain the return of all money taken by Anthony’s.and Mr. Edrish.

     

    In conclusion, protecting and helping defrauded event customers that have been co-damaged by Anthony’s, remains my personal objective.  However, it is not YPC’s legal or ethical obligation to host events for free or host future events without customary deposits and new contracts that protect and obligate all parties appropriately.

     

    To all those that elect to book events in the future, they may be assured to receive the best service and hospitallity in a facility with a rich history and numerous recent improvements. Exceeding expectations with all our patrons is our main goal at The Yacht and Polo Club. In just three weeks and over many challenges, we have successfully hosted and performed six weddings, several rehearsal dinners, and numerous corporate events. We are well positioned to expand our capabilities and launch our new a la carte menu later this summer.  

     

    Alex E. Suarez

    Chairman

    The Yacht and Polo Club, LLC

  • laxgardner29laxgardner29 member
    First Comment
    edited December 2011
    Well ,thank you, Mr. Suarez, for letting all the brides who have contacted me know that they will also never get their deposits back. SEVEN brides have contacted me with the information that they cannot get a phone call back from your establishment. 

    In light of this new information, allow me respond to some of your claims:

    1. You say that you were aware that Mr. Edrish defaulted on the agreement between the two of you on May 16th and it was, thereofore, terminated. My niece and her fiance came into the venue on May 20th and were assured that the wedding would go on as planned. Why did you not call us on May 16th if you had no intention of providing the services promised under the original contract? At the very least, you could have told them the truth while they sat in your office, on the 20th, instead of you letting me know after business hours on May25th(four days before the wedding). 
    2. The Atlanta City Police told my husband and I that the police report was filed on May 11th. The report has not been posted on line as of today.
    3. I agree that Mr. Edrish is certainly liable for the depoits and cash paid to Anthony's Fine Dining. We will handle this complaint in court.We are currently in the process of finishing paperwork for this purpose. We will be calling you as a witness to testify to the nature of your agreement and business relationship with him in order to support our claims against him.
    4. As to your promise to help the couples that have events planned at your establishment--How about call them, Mr. Suarez. You should post your number so the brides that are FRANTIC about their upcoming wedding days can call you personally instead of finding out days before the wedding.

    Your attempt to bolster your image in words is lost in your actions. You had the opportunity to notify us of this debacle in a timely fashion and you neglected to do so. Instead, you shrewdly choose to wait until 4 days prior to the biggest day in my niece's life. GIven more of a notice we would have taken our business elsewhere. However, you backed us into a corner. You knew the circumstances surrounding my niece and her recent stroke, yet you took advantage of us. 
    Again, Mr. Edrish is responsible for the money lost, because he is the ONLY name on the business license. However, it has been and will be my personal mission to make sure others are not blind-sided days before their weddings as well. I have recieved email after email of thanks for the information I have provided because they cannot get a call back from you or your staff.
    Admittedly,  Mr. Suarez, we have no legal claim against you; our issues with you derive from a moral and ethical standpoint.  
  • Auburngal06Auburngal06 member
    First Comment
    edited December 2011
    I contacted this place last week(before I heard about this mess) to hold my Bridal Luncheon there next year!  Of course I still have not heard back from then so I am so glad this has gotten out so everyone will know what trash Anthony's Fine Dining is and Yacht/Polo Club of Atlanta is!
  • edited December 2011
    Peach Brandy Cottage, another local wedding venue, has posted on it's Facebook page that it will help any Anthony's bride move her wedding to their venue. They will give credit for money paid to Anthonys towards a wedding at Peach Brandy Cottage.  They say that you have to present a valid contract with Anthony's and proof of the payments that you have made.
  • edited December 2011
    I'm glad to hear that so many places are stepping up to help just because it's the right thing to do!
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