AURORA, Colo. — The Summit Event Center in Aurora sent one customer three $1,000 Visa gift cards as a deposit refund following the center's sudden closure in August.
A sign posted on the doors says "Available," much to the surprise of some of the customers who booked the event center for fall.
"The answer is simple. We're screwed," said Leonard Grimes, who booked the Summit Event Center for a mineral and crystal show that was supposed to happen this week.
Grimes put down a $10,000 deposit to reserve the space. But three weeks ago, he learned the owners had been "evicted from the property in two hours," according to a Facebook post.
"So in three weeks' time, I had to find a new location for our show and rearrange everything," said Grimes. "It's been a hectic three weeks."
Couple's wedding deposit refunded after event center suddenly shuts down
In the last three weeks, Contact Denver7 has reached out to owner Michael Schaefer several times after multiple customers asked for help in getting their deposits back. Not everyone has received a refund. But some, including Grimes, are getting an unexpected delivery.
After Contact Denver7 reached out on his behalf, Grimes received an unsigned letter in the mail with three $1,000 Visa debit cards. He is is still out $7,000 of his deposit.
"It's been really weird," said Grimes. "And I think the fact that these are totally anonymous cards, just like the totally anonymous letter — somebody's trying to hide from creditors, and this is their way to do it."
In an email to Contact Denver7, Shaefer wrote, "I'm afraid the well is dry. The company has been dissolved, and the bank account has been closed."
When a company officially dissolves, it can typically wind down its affairs, collect and liquidate its assets and pay the creditors of the company.
"A company that has been dissolved can still sue and be sued, but it’s usually a sign that the company has no money. Or sometimes it’s a sign that the owners want to tell everyone they don’t have money and don’t want to be sued," said Dan Vedra, a consumer protection attorney. "Either way, there is no stopping anyone from suing a dissolved company, but the results may not be great."
Grimes has no plans to take anyone to court.
"To go to court to try to collect $7,000 would probably cost you $10,000 to do it. That's not viable," he said. "Some is better than none. It's been really helpful."
Editor's note: Denver7 seeks out audience tips and feedback to help people in need, resolve problems and hold the powerful accountable. If you know of a community need we can address or have a story idea for our consumer investigates team to pursue, please email us at firstname.lastname@example.org or or call (303) 832-7777. Find more Contact Denver7 stories here. You can also use the form below to request help from Jaclyn Allen and the Contact Denver7 Team.