City of Tempe won't give woman refund

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By Jim Carr By Jim Carr

PHOENIX -- Vicki Oania mixes some pretty good cocktails so she thought she might put her talent to good use. 

"I had been laid off from work and decided to change my career and we had always wanted to open a business and so we found a bar to open," Oania said.
 
Other businesses in the city of Tempe seemed to be doing well, so Oania said, "Why not give it a try?" They did and found the perfect place.
 
"Great location in a prime area and we were really excited," Oania said.
 
After nailing down a location, Oania and her husband went to Tempe city offices and began the process of paying for permits, fees and, of course, a liquor license.
 
"[It was] $1,900 just for the liquor license and then your tax license and starting up an LLC and then you have to go and get fingerprinted,” Oania explained.
 
Unfortunately, after paying for pretty much everything, Oania said their business venture didn't pan out and they tried to get some of their money back from the city of Tempe. Some fees were refundable, including $216 that they paid -- money that Tempe acknowledges they owe.
 
"I keep getting a statement of credit balance in the mail for over a year that shows that they owe me money," Oania told 3 On Your Side.
 
However, she says getting Tempe to cough up her refund has been next to impossible.
 
"Every time I try to get the credit back they keep referring me to someone or say someone is going to call me," Oania explained.
 
3 On Your Side contacted city officials and asked them about Oania's money. When we did, they immediately cut her a check and Oania said they even offered to hand-deliver it.
 
"It was a lot of calling and not getting return calls and after 3 On Your Side got involved I got the check within a day," Oania said.

The city of Tempe never did tell me exactly why it took close to a year to return Oania’s money. They simply referred to it as a staff error. Oania, however, says she’s just glad to get it back.