3 On Your Side

Phoenix family says venue kept their quinceanera security deposit

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(Source: 3TV/CBS 5) (Source: 3TV/CBS 5)
(Source: 3TV/CBS 5) (Source: 3TV/CBS 5)

Sylvia Jimenez says she just loves the dress that she bought for her daughter, Aireanna.

“It was the last one on the rack, at the store," she said as she showed 3 On Your Side the colorful dress.

Her daughter is getting ready to celebrate her quinceanera, a very popular event in the Hispanic culture.

"It's a coming of age ceremony when you introduced your daughter not as a child anymore, but as a young lady," Jimenez explained.

So, way back in June, Jimenez says she looked around the Valley for a place to have the ceremony and came across a venue called Mr. Lucky's in Phoenix.

"It's perfect. It's right down the street from our home,” she said. “It's centrally located for our family from around the Valley to travel to so it was just right."

And, if you look at pictures on Mr. Lucky's website, Jimenez says you can see why she liked it.

"This is the big open dance floor and this is the stage where the deejay was going to be,” she said as she showed us the online photos.

So, Jimenez met with a guy named Brett Kniess who runs Mr. Lucky's. According to the contract he drew up, Kniess agreed to rent out Mr. Lucky's to Jimenez and her family on Nov. 18 for $1,500. However, he needed $1,000 up front.

"What was the $1,000 for?” 3 On Your Side’s Gary Harper asked.

“What was that supposed to do?” Jimenez replied, “It was a down payment and to lock in the day, and lock in a time."

But, with her daughter's approaching quinceanera, Jimenez found out recently that Mr. Lucky's abruptly closed. And, her $1,000 has disappeared with Brett Kniess.

Jimenez says she's called Kniess countless times trying to get her money returned, but she hears nothing.

"You've written emails and left all kinds of voicemails?” Harper asked. “And he has never called you back at all?”  

Jimenez replied, "No."

3 On Your Side got involved but when we went to Mr. Lucky's, we discovered the landlord had put up a security fence and placed five German shepherd security dogs inside to keep people off the property.

So, we did a little digging and found out Brett Kniess rents a home in Phoenix. We went to the house, but after knocking for several minutes, no one came to the door.

Before leaving, I left my business card and Brett Kniess called me a little later saying he was forced to shut down Mr. Lucky's for a number of reasons. When asked if he owed any consumers their security deposits back, he replied yes and confirmed one of those people was Sylvia Jimenez.

After asking Kniess to issue a check to Jimenez, he agreed. In fact, he met up with her face-to-face and delivered the check which she promptly cashed.

Jimenez says the refund only happened after 3 On Your Side got involved. And, although she's grateful to have her money back, she says the emotional ordeal never should have happened.

"I'm heartbroken for my daughter because she's such a great kid and she dreamed of this day."

One final note, the Jimenez family says they were fortunate enough to find another venue at this late date to celebrate the quinceanera and will use the money they got back to help pay for it.

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Copyright 2017 KPHO/KTVK (KPHO Broadcasting Corporation). All rights reserved.

Gary HarperGary Harper is the senior consumer and investigative reporter for 3 On Your Side at KTVK-TV.

Click to learn more about Gary.

Gary Harper
3 On Your Side

With more than 20 years of television experience, Gary has established himself as a leader in the industry when it comes to assisting viewers and resolving their consumer-related issues. His passion and enthusiasm have helped him earn an Emmy for Best Consumer Reporter from the National Academy of Television Arts and Sciences. He’s also garnered several Emmy nominations

He has negotiated resolutions with companies of all sizes, including some of the biggest corporations in the nation.

Gary has successfully recouped more than $1 million for viewers around the state, making 3 On Your Side one of the most popular segments on KTVK and the station's Web site.

He's best known for investigating and confronting unscrupulous contractors. In fact, many of his news reports have led to police investigations and jail time for those who were caught. Viewers, as well as the companies and people he investigates, regard him as consistently being thorough and fair.

Gary has been with KTVK-TV since 1997. Prior to his arrival in Phoenix, he worked for WZZM-TV in Grand Rapids, Michigan, where he was as an anchor and reporter.

Gary is from Chicago, but launched his television career in Lubbock, Texas, after earning a broadcast journalism degree from Texas Tech University. Following his graduation, he was quickly hired by KLBK-TV in Lubbock, where he enterprised and broke numerous exclusive reports. His aggressive reporting in Texas helped garner him Best Reporter by the Associated Press.

Gary has been married since 1994 and is the proud father of two sons. When he's not helping viewers, Gary is busy catching up on his favorite college and professional football teams as well as cheering on his beloved Texas Tech Red Raiders.

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