Excalibur Event Center operators blame each other for closure, missing deposits

Other event centers step forward to help brides

The operators of an Aurora event center that closed its doors without warning blame each other for what happened, and don't know when or if thousands of dollars in event deposits will be returned.

"We worked hard for that money," said David Velasquez. "Nobody just handed it to us to give to them."

More than 500 people are coming from all over the country to see him finally marry his high school sweetheart, Jennifer Alamillo on July 27.

The couple thought Excalibur Event Center, 10801 E. Mississippi Ave., seemed like a perfect fit.

"It was just what we were looking for," said Velasquez. "When we did this contract, the manager seemed like a friendly, honorable person."

But yesterday, they found out from watching 7NEWS that their wedding venue is closed and their $1,500 deposit seems to be gone, too.

"I started crying right away," said Alamillo. 

They have not been able to reach anyone involved with Excalibur because all of the previous numbers have been disconnected.

But 7NEWS managed to track down Excalibur's manager, David Mendez, on the phone. He said he shut down his old phone numbers because he has been getting threats.

Mendez said he has spent the deposit money on building repairs and blamed Excalibur's owner, Jaime Cueva, for raising the rent and forcing him out.

"I'm real sorry about this, but it's not on my hands right now. I'm not the owner of the place," said Mendez.
 
But Cueva pointed the finger of blame back at Mendez, saying Mendez backed out of a verbal agreement to buy the business and damaged the building before he left.
 
Cueva said he did not know if he would honor the contracts and refund the money from clients.
 
"I've got to talk to my lawyer because I didn't even know they were doing those contracts.  They did them on their own," said Cueva. "I’m trying to contact these people myself because I got defrauded by them."
 
Both Mendez and Cueva said they plan to take each other to court.
 
Meanwhile, other event centers are offering their services to help out people jilted by Excalibur.
 
Sherman Street Event Center, 1770 Sherman St., has gotten calls from four brides looking for venues after what happened.
 
"After we heard the story and found out what was going on we decided we would offer a substantial discount for those brides so that we could help these people out," said Michael Sudak.
 
Finally, some good news for Velasques and his fiancé, who plan to look there tomorrow.
 
"It's stressful enough just having a wedding," said Velasques. "And it's stressful now 4 months away finding another venue for 500 people."
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