Jordan Asher is performing triage on the University of Washington's nursing school graduation party. The party with more than 100 guests was supposed to be held at EM Fine Art on Dexter Avenue North in Seattle. But the venue closed last Friday with the owners, Roland and Amanda Crane, saying they will not provide any refunds.
“I don't understand how they could feel OK at the end of the day, knowing they are putting so many people out thousands of dollars,” said Asher.
Making matters worse, the owners said a fire last Monday caused $100,000 worth of damage, prompted their exit. Seattle Fire has no documentation of a fire taking place at the venue.
“Hearing that it didn't actually happen has been very, very frustrating ... even angry,” said Asher.
The owner's move burned Lacey Roberts and close to 40 other couples who placed payments for weddings. According to a Facebook page set up by the victims, $60,000 has been lost so far.
“I think it's terrible that this happens to people. You see stuff like this and you think, eh, this would never happen to me and here I am in a situation where I just got scammed,” said Roberts.
A source tells us the owners contacted Yelp, asking to list their business as closed at least two weeks ago, well before the Crane's claim of a fire. The city says the business was not permitted so they couldn't have held weddings there in the first place.
I stopped by Amanda Crane's last known address at this home in Woodinville but no one answered the door. Our calls have not been returned either. So with all this going on, what can the cops do?
“It's terrible that these people are going through this process right now, that someone took advantage of them,” said Detective Patrick Micheud of Seattle PD.
Micheud said this is a civil case, not criminal. But what about the owner’s debunked claim there was a fire and the call to Yelp? Couldn't that be called motives to a crime?
“It doesn't matter why he violated the contract,” explained Micheud. “It's the fact that he violated the contract that's what makes it civil. It's not criminal.”
In a bit of good news, viewers have stepped up for Chanell Williams, a future bride out $1,600. Three venues have come forward to put on her wedding at a substantial discount or for free.
“It's so amazing the support, we are seeing and receiving and the calls it's beautiful, I can't believe it,” said Williams.
Asher was fortunate because the Elks Lodge in Lower Queen Anne stepped up for the Nursing grads.