Fla. Expo Refunds Missing

A Florida promoter that collected thousands from vendors earlier this year for an Outdoor Sporting Adventure Expo that never was has left some in the community irked over refunds.

Eddie Suarez Jr. put down a $2,000 deposit with the city of Cape Coral to hold an event that would feature a headlining band at Sun Splash Family Waterpark, according to the local News-Press, and forfeited that deposit when he canceled the event a week out.

But he also reportedly collected as much as $20,000 from vendors for booth space, and an investigation by the paper’s consumer watchdog Melanie Payne found that, at press time, only one in 10 vendors had received a refund.

“He flat out told me he wasn’t paying me and I have to take him to court,” a vendor told the paper.

Payne has a theory about Suarez Jr.’s “neat little operation.”

“Suarez told people he was holding an event,” she wrote. “He collected, as far as I can figure, between $15,000 and $20,000. He sacrifices $2,000 to the city so he doesn’t appear criminal, just incompetent. And then he pockets the money that’s left over.

“I just hope people remember this sleight-of-hand trick if he tries it again.”