TAMPA, Fla. (WFLA) – A Tampa Bay party venue is writing refund checks to at least 27 customers following an 8 On Your Side investigation earlier this month.
Clients said they never got the party they planned and paid for. Now they’re finally starting to get their money back.
“I’m just frustrated with the situation,” said Geidy Intriago, the new owner of Crystal Ballroom Brandon.
Intriago took over Crystal Ballroom Brandon in November of last year.
Now, she says, she’s going on camera to save her reputation and new business.
“I need to somehow be able to regain the trust of the community,” said Intriago. “If I don’t regain that trust, there’s no way that I can pull this off.”
Starting in 2017, customers shelled out thousands of dollars to have a party at the venue, according to Intriago.
“The construction was a monster that lasted like two years instead of…the year that was supposed to be,” said Intriago.
At the time, Mrs. Intriago was just an employee of the business and not the owner.
In August, Intriago left the company. But, she says she came back after the old owners went out of business.
“I was contacted by home office to see if I wanted the opportunity to come in and basically, as a new owner, take over and bring their venue up,” she said.
Customers were promised refunds. When they didn’t receive the refunds, they turned to 8 On Your Side.
We called Intriago and even stopped by the venue to get answers earlier this month. At the time, she declined to go on camera or answer most of our questions.
Intriago says, as the new owner, she believes she isn’t responsible for the business’ old debts.
“I come in as a new owner, I take liability moving forward not for things that are in the past,” she said.
Regardless, Intriago says she wants to make this situation right.
“You do agree you should give money back to these people?” asked investigative reporter Mahsa Saeidi.
“Absolutely and I am doing that,” Intriago told us.
Mrs. Intriago showed 8 On Your Side about 27 refund checks. The checks are the first of 6 to 12 payments intended for each customer.
“This will go in the mail today?” asked Investigative Reporter Mahsa Saeidi.
“Yes,” said Intriago.
Crystal Ballroom Brandon has customers booked until 2022.
Intriago wants to regain trust so her business can continue to prosper. She plans on repaying back all customers in full in the next 12 months.
“But can people trust you?” asked investigative reporter Mahsa Saeidi.
“Absolutely,” said Intriago. “I am a hundred percent sure that the business can survive if I’m able to gain the trust of the community.”
“I love this place. I want to see it prosper and it has every potential,” she added.
Intriago also says customers can be comforted by extra insurance.
“We’re going to start offering what’s called an unforseen event insurance,” said Intriago.
The owners of different Crystal Ballroom Tampa Bay area locations tell 8 On Your Side, they are not affiliated with the Brandon location.
LATEST 8 ON YOUR SIDE HEADLINES:
- When will Florida’s statewide COVID-19 vaccine registration system launch?
- Gov. DeSantis: 97% of people receiving vaccine are full-time Florida residents
- Crooks capitalize on fears surrounding pandemic, rope people in vaccine schemes
- Plant City man stuck paying tolls for Kansas vehicle with same tag number
- ‘Big mistake’: DeSantis criticizes Biden’s plan for vaccine distribution but can he stop it?