Company’s bankruptcy creates wedding nightmare for Virginia couples – WWBT

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RICHMOND, Va. (WWBT) – Dream weddings are being turned into nightmares after a company that leases venues across the country just filed for bankruptcy.

One of those sites is in Powhatan County. Local couples are reaching out to the On Your Side Investigators because they said they can’t get answers or their money back.

Many soon-to-be brides and grooms planned to marry at a beautiful estate in Powhatan County. However, the Florida-based company leasing that property filed for bankruptcy, leaving people scrambling for a new location and a refund.

“It’s just devastating to all brides in Richmond,” Cindy Paxton said.

Paxton looked forward to watching her daughter Emily walk down the aisle at the Farm’s Lakeside Pool Estate in Powhatan.

She booked the venue nearly 10 months ago and paid more than $12,000 upfront. Fast-forward to three weeks, and she got an email from the property’s managers, The Farm LLC, notifying her of their Chapter 11 bankruptcy filing in Florida.

“I’m angry because I felt very swindled that the pressure was to pay the money up-front and then were not getting any services at all,” Paxton said.

Kelsey Lee and her fiancé Jim Givens booked the same venue in August 2022 and said The Farm LLC double booked her weekend.

“When we had reached out, they couldn’t give us confirmation that those dates were ours,” Givens said. “We asked them several times that those dates are still ours. Can you send us a contract? If not, we want our money back.”

Lee said they had difficulty contacting the company, but when they did, they eventually got a refund.

“They have several LLCs, and it looks like they are paying money out to each other but aren’t able to pay back these couples who are being canceled,” Lee said.

Families across the country are also affected. The Farm LLC leases venues in multiple states.

“It’s a standard lease where they have full access to hold events. When they filed the Chapter 11 bankruptcy, though, it gave them the automatic stay, meaning we have to go through the court system, which is what we are doing at this time,” Ashley Welch said.

Welch purchased Lakeside in 2017 and leased it to The Farm LLC in November 2022 to hold events. She says her hands are tied, while The Farm LLC uses her property to operate their own business.

“Because they did stop paying us as well, so not only are they using our property, but you know payment has been an issue,” Welch said. “Therefore, that’s the concern with them continuing to take money from couples is not being able to uphold those weddings.”

The President of The Farm LLC, Jacob Martin, told 12 On Your Side he’s wired half of what they owe to Welch as part of their leasing agreement.

Meanwhile, Martin said the bankruptcy affects fewer than 200 customers and that they’re doing their best to work with all of them.

He also released this statement:

“In January 2024, we entered Chapter 11 Reorganization to stabilize our family’s business. This Reorganization affected less than 200 of our guests.

We have notified affected guests and proposed alternate accommodations or refund options to them.

If you feel you are affected by this issue and you have not heard from us, please email us at [email protected] so that we can help.”

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