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November 1, 2014

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Goretorium closure leaves couples stranded at the altar and left to foot the bill

Image

Steve Marcus

Anthony Gallegos and Rosie Grasso of Las Vegas pose for photos in a wedding reception area after getting married at Eli Roth’s Goretorium on Sunday, Jan. 27, 2013.

Goretorium Wedding

Anthony Gallegos and Rosie Grasso of Las Vegas pose in the lobby at Eli Roths Goretorium before getting married Sunday, Jan. 27, 2013. Launch slideshow »

When Lindsay Nield and Brian Moon booked their Halloween wedding at Eli Roth’s Goretorium in February, the horror enthusiasts eagerly anticipated their one-of-a-kind macabre nuptials.

However, their gory dream wedding soon became the stuff of nightmares when the Goretorium announced that it was closing last week, one month before the British couple and their families were scheduled to fly to Las Vegas for the ceremony.

“We’re just in shock,” Nield said, explaining that it’s too late for the couple to cancel their flight and hotel arrangements. “We couldn’t afford a honeymoon, so we thought this would be a perfect way to combine the two. My dream wedding just fell apart around me.”

The couple, who live in Preston, Lancashire, England, contacted the Goretorium repeatedly after learning that the haunted attraction had filed for Chapter 11 bankruptcy in July but were met with no response.

They received a notice from a bankruptcy attorney on Sept. 27 stating that the business was going through bankruptcy proceedings and would likely shutter. The Goretorium announced its closure three days later, about a year after the haunted attraction opened at Harmon Square on the Strip.

Nield, 25, and Moon, 32, are among at least a dozen customers who booked weddings at or purchased tickets for a date after the Goretorium's closure, none of whom know if they will get their money back.

The September attorney’s notice stated that customers who paid with a credit card should try contacting their card processors or insurers to get a refund. Moon paid the $1,500 booking fee with a debit card and says their insurers denied the refund.

Due to the short notice, the couple is unable to cancel or reschedule the flights and hotel bookings for their seven-person wedding and say they cannot afford to pay for another venue and ceremony, as Nield lost her job managing a tattoo shop two months ago.

“I was devastated,” Nield said. Moon and she estimate the cost of the wedding at $9,650. “We’d saved up for so long, and now we have nothing to show for it.”

Other couples left in the lurch say they should’ve seen the bad news coming. Adrienne Santiago, 25, of Orlando, Fla., said she began to grow suspicious after her fiance noticed that nothing had been charged to his credit card after he booked their 2014 wedding date in April.

2012 Halloween: Eli Roth's Goretorium

Eli Roth gets into the Halloween spirit hosting a bash at Eli Roth's Goretorium on Wednesday, Oct. 31, 2012. Launch slideshow »

VIP Blood Red Carpet for Goretorium

Eli Roth arrives on the VIP blood red carpet for his Goretorium on the Strip on Thursday, Sept. 27, 2012. Launch slideshow »

Santiago said that after several exchanges, Goretorium representatives assured them they would accept the payment — which was necessary to secure the wedding date — and while the charge remained pending, Santiago continued to plan their wedding. She said they were finally told to book another venue when the Goretorium closed last Wednesday.

“I think they had an idea back then because they were so hesitant about it. But I just wish they would’ve told us they were having some problems,” she said. “Now I have to look for another venue and plan an entirely new wedding somewhere else. There’s nowhere else in Vegas I care to go to.”

Legally, individuals who cannot be reimbursed through a second party like credit-card processors can be added to the bankruptcy case’s list of unsecured creditors and file a priority consumer deposit claim for as much as $2,775.

However, such claims legally take low priority in the order a bankrupt company must pay back its creditors, and whether a consumer gets reimbursed depends on whether there is any money left after others have been paid.

“The reason people file for bankruptcy is in part to get out of some of their obligation, and some of their obligations are discharged, meaning that they’re under no more legal liability to pay the money,” UNLV law professor Nancy Rapoport said.

Nield and Moon say they’ll attempt to get their $1,500 back through bankruptcy court, though they remain skeptical that their claim will be reimbursed. Despite the financial circumstances, the couple will see a happy ending to their story — after getting word of their situation, numerous local wedding businesses have reached out to Nield and Moon and offered to help put on their horror-themed Halloween wedding free of charge, including a venue, an officiant, a Halloween makeup artist, a cake and tickets to “Evil Dead: The Musical” at Planet Hollywood.

However, the couple isn't alone in their luck: The new Sin City Scare Fair at Las Vegas Sports Center is offering to host weddings for those in similar circumstances at no cost, and will also honor any unused Goretorium admission tickets. Interested parties can contact them through the Sin City Scare Fair website.

“We’re so grateful to everyone who’s shown an interest,” Nield said. “It’s really going to be our dream wedding — even better than the one we had planned.”

Representatives for the Goretorium did not return repeated requests for comment.

Follow Andrea Domanick on Twitter at @AndreaDomanick and fan her on Facebook at Facebook.com/AndreaDomanick.

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