LOWELL, Mich. -- Leslie Austin wants to warn others about her wedding woes and dealings with a West Michigan venue. She reached out to the FOX 17 Problem Solvers after seeing Maira Perez's similar story.
Austin, along with nearly 150 other people and organizations, is owed money by Grand Volute Ballroom in Lowell. That's according to federal court records which show the venue filed chapter 11 bankruptcy in August. The business's future is uncertain.
"Where can we go next with our budget being short a thousand dollars," Austin asked rhetorically.
On July 29th of this year, she paid a $1,000 non-refundable deposit to hold the venue for June 17, 2017. The bride-to-be said she learned about Grand Volute on theknot.com and felt encouraged to see it in person after seeing its top ranking and rave reviews.
"It was just gorgeous," Austin recalled.
Better yet, her desired date was open. Along with paying the deposit, she signed a contract for the ceremony and reception which included all the vendors. Things really couldn't get any better.
Austin said, "And then not even three weeks later, we received a letter stating that they were declaring bankruptcy."
But the letter stated her wedding date was secured and was still scheduled as planned. She said she had asked Grand Volute all the right questions before signing the contract and paying the deposit.
"I asked, what's your history? Have you been around for a long time? Where are you headed in the future. I got the spiel that 'we've been around for a long time. We're not going anywhere.' It was all rainbows and roses," she explained.
After learning the business may no longer exist in the near future and that she won't be given a refund, Austin hired an attorney. She even talked to Grand Volute's attorney, James Oppenhuizen, who the Problem Solvers interviewed on this matter.
She said Oppenhuizen told her what he told the Problem Solvers. Lender Fifth Third Bank is a secured creditor and legally gets its money first.
"I know that whatever happens I'm not going to be made whole, but I want other people to not end up in my situation," Austin said.
Austin is still looking for a venue and said it seems everywhere is taken on her date. Unlike Perez, Austin said Grand Volute did not offer to allow her to hold an event in 2016 to make use of her deposit money.
Both Perez and Austin dealt with sales director Cheryl Gatt who the Problem Solvers spoke with last week. We’re told her last day was Friday.