Shuttered wedding venue says no refunds for couples

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by Kristine Harrington

Video report by Kristine Harrington and Gary Harper

Posted on April 24, 2013 at 8:11 AM

Updated Friday, Apr 26 at 12:39 PM

Map: Inspirador

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CHANDLER, Ariz. -- Dozens of Valley brides are feeling abandoned after their wedding venue closed its doors without any warning.

“My wedding is in February next year and I’m out $8,000 for this venue. So, how am I supposed to plan a new wedding?" Amy Landuyt said.

Landuyt is like so many brides who planned and paid to be married at the Inspirador Chandler.

But on Sunday she received a letter announcing the wedding venue was in foreclosure.

"I've had tears and anger, I’m just trying to find the right person to talk to and I can't get answers,"  Landuyt said.

“They have $14,000 of our money. How do we do a wedding with no money?” bride-to-be Theresa Taylor asked. She was all set to marry her fiancé here next month.  “I was just here last week for the tasting for my wedding.”

Mat Meyer is in the same boat, hoping for answers. He and several other frustrated couples were on hand when the owner's husband, Scott Roberts, came crashing in.

“We put several thousand down on Friday just find out Sunday the doors are shut," Meyer said.

"At some point you gotta shut it down," Roberts responded.

It turns out that Inspirador chandler has been tangled in litigation for nearly three years now, fighting with Southwestern Business Financing Corporation in Scottsdale and BBVA Compass bank over its outstanding loans.

Southwestern declined to comment but Compass bank tells us Inspirador was made aware of the pending foreclosure last June, went into foreclosure in September, and the bank took control of the property Wednesday.

“Knowing they willingly took the money knowing this was going to happen, it's infuriating,” Meyer said.

“I mean if you wanted to get a refund, we can't do it,” Roberts said. But he insists his wife, Dilia Wood, is trying to fix this.

“Just like these weddings are your dreams she takes that personal and takes it to heart," he said. "I’m here to let you know she's a good person.”

A good person in foreclosure with 60 weddings pending.

Meyer says he is determined to figure this out and help his bride find another dream.

“I just want the day to be perfect.  I want to marry my best friend and move forward in life," he said.

Inspirador has created a customer-care e-mail and phone number for clients -- 480-980-9328 and inspiradorcustomercare@gmail.com.

Some other venues/vendors willing to help:
McCormick Ranch Golf Club
IronOaks Country Club
The Venue Scottsdale
Fraternal Order of Eagles in Mesa
Y-Knot Party & Rentals
Country Inn & Suites Deer Valley, Kathaleen Behr, 623-879-9000
Embassy Suites Phoenix North, 602-375-1777  
Event Services of America, 480-315-9783
Moon Valley Country Club
Pioneer Living History Museum, www.pioneeraz.org, contact Dave Siebert

BBVA Compass statement

BBVA Compass is sympathetic to the plight of the brides and grooms and their families who have been left in limbo by Inspirador’s decision to close its doors.
 
Because this matter relates to pending litigation, BBVA Compass is limited in what it can say; however, as it previously attempted to do, the bank is in the process of offering the company a short-term lease to complete operations at least through the end of 2013.  Beginning before Inspirador initiated litigation in 2011, BBVA Compass attempted to work with Inspirador to find a resolution.  Sadly, a resolution did not occur.
 
BBVA Compass has not foreclosed on or seized any security deposits paid by Inspirador customers, nor has BBVA Compass made any efforts to interfere with Inspirador’s business operations, terminated its current lease or asked Inspirador to cease its operations or vacate the property. In other words, Inspirador is free to continue to operate and service its customers.  
 
BBVA Compass became the owner of the building occupied by Inspirador on April 17, 2013, as the result of a foreclosure sale. Inspirador’s affiliate and landlord initially filed a voluntary bankruptcy case in September 2012 to protect itself from a foreclosure sale, but later voluntarily dismissed that bankruptcy in March 2013. This opened the door for last week’s sale.
 
We intend to do our part to resolve the situation and look forward to working with others who have the same goal.

 

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