Birthday girl left without a party takes legal action

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by MONIKA DIAZ

WFAA

Posted on January 2, 2012 at 9:11 AM

Updated Monday, Jan 2 at 10:10 AM

Theresa Hambrick's 50th birthday is one she would like to forget — but she can't. 

Her celebration, planned to take place at Hanging Gardens in Duncanville, was canceled on Thanksgiving, one day before the event. 

Hambrick lost $1,500 and hundreds of dollars more in planning the party, but she's now fighting back.

"I want my money, and I'm going to take you to court to get my money," she declared.

Hambrick filed a lawsuit in small claims court in Dallas County against Hanging Gardens owner Bruce Valdez a couple of weeks ago.

"It's important for me, because it was my 50th birthday," she said. "Plus my kids sacrificed their money, and I want to give them their money back."

News 8 sat down with Valdez last month after the venue temporarily closed its doors. Hambrick was one of a handful of clients who complained to us about the sudden shutdown. 

Valdez admitted in the December 4 interview that he failed his clients, but said all of them — including Hambrick — would get their money back.

"We plan on meeting this week, refunding her [Hambrick's] money and to offer her a personal apology," said Valdez in the interview.

According to Hambrick, both sides met days later. She mentioned Valdez offered an apology and a payment plan for the refund. She asked him to write a letter, detailing the deal.

"He said he would write it and he mailed it to me, and I haven't' got it," Hambrick said.

Hambrick told us she waited a few more days for the letter.  When she didn't get it, she went to court to file her claim.

"That just makes me see that I can't take him for his word," she said.  "I want my money back.  I feel like he hurt me, and I wish no bad luck for anybody — but he was wrong."

We reached Valdez early Sunday evening.  He did not know about the lawsuit, but claims all the other Hanging Gardens clients got a refund.  He assured us that Hambrick will get hers in the next few days.

E-mail mdiaz@wfaa.com

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