Bride, others left hanging after Duncanville hall packs up

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by DAVID SCHECHTER and MONIKA DIAZ

Bio | Email | Follow: @davidschechter

WFAA

Posted on December 1, 2011 at 8:12 PM

Updated Friday, Dec 2 at 10:03 AM

DUNCANVILLE - From wedding bliss to wedding blues.

An engaged couple says their Saturday wedding is in jeopardy now that their reception hall, Hanging Gardens, is in disrepair and appears closed for business.

Kela McDonald and Micah Brown spent a year saving $1,500 to rent the space. Now they fear their money is gone and their wedding ruined.

When did they first hear of this?

"Monday, this week," Brown said. "This week. About five days from the wedding, they tell me that.”

"They got upset with me and hung up in my face,” McDonald said.

They are not the only ones.

Teresa Hambrick got a similar call from Hanging Gardens on Thanksgiving, a day before her 50th birthday celebration at the facility.

"They don't understand what they did to me," Hambrick said. "They really hurt me. They hurt me bad."

Hambrick spent $1,522 renting the hall and thousands on supplies, catering and music. She told News 8 she found another location last minute for her party, but couldn't get her money back.

"The owners have not called me back," she said. "No one has called me back and it has been a week."

When News 8 went to Hanging Gardens to ask questions, we found the doors unlocked, the power shut off and a hostile welcome from a man who appeared to be loading property from Hanging Gardens into a pickup truck.

News 8 called Duncanville police to ensure the location was secure.

Police later confirmed that man is the stepfather of the owner, Bruce Valdez. Dallas County court records show Valdez and his ex-wife, Tina, owe $60,000 in back taxes.

McDonald and Brown say they were told the event was canceled because a fallen tree had knocked out power to Hanging Gardens.

News 8 called Oncor and was told the power had been cut off, for non-payment.
Hambrick told us, she's getting ready to take the owners to court. "They owe a lot of people an apology," she said. "They need to give us our money back."

E-mail schechter@wfaa.com

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