Sweet 16 turns sour

Seven On Your Side
May 22, 2009 10:02:06 PM PDT
The catering hall went bust. like so many other businesses these days it was an apparent casualty of the recession. Left in it's wake? Sweet 16 parties down the drain and a June bride's wedding wasted. Plus, hundreds in deposits left in limbo. "This was going to be my dream" 15 year old Samantha Piazza was going to turn into a real life Cinderella at her own sweet 16 party.

Her mom spent months preparing. She found the glass slipper, paid hundreds to print up special invitations, even made Cinderella-themed centerpieces.

She also had the perfect venue, the Rigatti Terrace. Mom put down a deposit of $500.

"I was so excited. I couldn't wait for the sweet 16," beamed Samantha.

But a few weeks ago, the clock struck midnight for Cinderella.

"I was hysterical crying. I'm like I don't know what to do now." Last month, Samantha's mom got a letter from Rigatti Terrace. The owner wrote he had lost his lease and promised to refund deposits, even scheduled a meeting with the Piazza's.

"(But) he wasn't there," said Anna Maria Piazza, Samantha's mom.

The Piazza's aren't alone.

"I was upset, I was very emotional. I didn't know what to do, I felt very lost." Yajaira Pichardo is also out a $500 deposit. She was forced to cancel her June wedding when Rigatti Terrace went belly up. Before 7 On Your Side got involved Yajaira hadn't received any refund.

When 7 On Your Side visited Rigatti Terrace we found the doors locked and a Marshall's eviction notice hanging from the door.

Luckily, we contacted the owner, Dennis Rigatti, by phone. He said he never intended to keep anyone's deposit and that only a few parties were affected by his business closing. He also said all have been made whole.

And after we spoke to Mr. Rigatti Yajaira got $700 back. That was the $500 deposit and $200 extra she paid for invitations.

Anna Maria also got the same refund. So, now their super sweet 16 party's back on. And that made one 15 year old very excited. "(I'm) so happy, I can't wait." ----

Produced by: Steve Livingstone ---


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