Families looking for money back after dance studio suddenly shuts down

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PHOENIX - Parents showed 3 On Your Side home video of a dance recital for a group of girls in Ahwatukee.

But, the recital almost didn't happen for Demi, Gabrielle and Kristiana because the dance studio they were attending, Bodies in Motion, unexpectedly shut down.

“My girls came home and they were very upset,” mother Laura Guerrero said. “They heard about it at school too and they were really upset, it was heartbreaking because they grew up there, they loved their teachers.”

Laura and parent Kim Johnson say when it shut down, the owner of Bodies in Motion never gave them back their money.

Between them, Laura and Kim paid about $2,000 for spring recital costumes, competition fees and dance lessons, but say there are many more parents who lost money too, money that was paid just days before Bodies in Motion closed its doors.

“Chronologically it doesn't make sense that they're taking payments in mid-December, then they shut down two weeks later,” Laura said.

They tried contacting the owner Jerome Joseph, but say he stopped returning their calls and e-mails.

So, more than a year later, they called 3 On Your Side for answers.

“If we had a response and knew what was going on we would know, can we write this off our taxes, are we going to get the money back, but with no response and it being this long, it's just very frustrating,” Laura said.

We were able to track down Jerome Joseph and he tells 3 On Your Side shutting down his business of 10 years was a last minute decision he blames on the downturn in the economy.

He admits he should have communicated better with parents, but after 3 On Your Side got involved, Jerome tells us he's now financially able to begin paying people back and that the first payment will happen between now and May 15th.

Laura and Kim's daughters did wind up dancing in the spring recital with a different studio, but say all along, Jerome could've at least given them the explanation he gave us.