JEFFERSON CITY, Mo. (Legal Newsline) - Missouri Attorney General Chris Koster announced a judgment on Wednesday against a Kansas City wedding venue for failing to provide wedding services or refunds to 73 couples.
Ryan Ronney Crowell and West Bottoms Hospitality LLC allegedly contracted with 73 couples between at least September 2010 and April 2011 to rent out the historic Stowe Building for wedding ceremonies and related services. The services were allegedly never provided, which was a violation of the Missouri Merchandising Practices Act.
Koster filed a lawsuit against Crowell and West Bottoms Hospitality in February. Crowell allegedly promised the 73 couples that the Stowe building would be renovated in time for scheduled weddings and receptions, but allegedly failed to apply for required construction permits, failed to take steps necessary to get the building up to code, failed to inform consumers of the permitting issues and failed to refund the consumers the $43,463.80 in collected deposits and other payments when the ceremonies were cancelled. Couples were left scrambling to find alternate accommodations for their wedding services, Koster claims.
"The actions of Mr. Crowell and his business not only cost many Kansas City area brides and grooms their money, but also the expense and stress of making new plans," Koster said. "His actions marred the wedding days of 73 couples. I am pleased the Missouri attorney general's office was able to step in to protect consumers and stop this scam."
Under the terms of the judgment, Crowell and West Bottoms Hospitality must pay $43,463.80 in restitution and $87,346.38 in penalties. The defendants are also permanently enjoined from taking payment for and/or providing event services in Missouri, including reception and wedding venue services.