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:
- 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.
- 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.
- 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.
- Alex Suarez’ background is in Latin American banking and would have to understand this finicial impact it made on this family.
- 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?
- Neither the previous owener or the current owner accepts responsibility for the money owed.
- 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.