By danny restivo
Tammi Shadd, of Youngstown, was hoping for a festive atmosphere when she started planning a New Year’s Eve party at the MetroPlex Hotel and Conference Center in early December.
The Belmont Avenue site would have all the ingredients for a lively evening; a ballroom with a dance floor, a disc jockey, a full service bar and scores of party-goers looking to close out one year and begin another.
Unfortunately for Shadd and her hopeful attendees, the party never made it to 2013.
Shortly before midnight on Dec. 31, township police shut down the party because the MetroPlex could not show proof of a liquor license.
“I didn’t know what to do,” said Shadd. “I had to call my mom who told me to just stay calm.”
Shadd said about 50 to 60 people were at the party during that time, with an expectation of 500. Shadd said she charged $50 at the door but gave those attendees a full refund. Shadd did not disclose the full amount she paid the MetroPlex, but she did say it was more than $2,000, along with a $500 security deposit.
When Shadd went to the front desk to get her refund and deposit, she was told to call back in the morning.
She said she still hasn’t received her money.
“I have not got one red cent, not a dime and I’m very upset,” she said.
According to police reports, officers went to the MetroPlex shortly after 10 p.m. on Dec. 31 to do a security walk through before the party. When they checked the bar, they did not see a liquor license displayed. Township police spoke with Dr. Indira Sammy, MetroPlex manager, who produced a temporary liquor permit that was issued in October and expired after 30 days. Officers said they waited an hour and a half for Sammy to provide a license before police told her she would be cited if there were any liquor sales. Sammy responded by closing the bar down, while Shadd put a halt to the party.
“She told me that she was going to provide the cash bar,” said Shadd.
Shadd said she did not see a liquor license prior to the party, but was told by Sammy the hotel had one.
Sammy did not respond to a request for an interview on Wednesday, but Molly Smith, MetroPlex assistant manager, said the hotel did have a valid liquor license, though she could not provide it when asked by The Vindicator. She said the hotel is speaking with an attorney and investigating the matter before a decision to refund Shadd is made.
“We are not a typical bar, but we have our stuff posted where it needs to be,” said Smith. “We believe we did everything proper.”
Smith said she had only been working at the hotel for a few months and was unaware of any other ballroom parties at the MetroPlex.
Neither Shadd nor Smith could provide a copy of the contract between the two groups.
Shadd said the contract between her and the MetroPlex was not notarized, but she would seek legal action if she was not refunded. She said it was her first time planning a party, but her last one with the MetroPlex.
“I just wanted to have a place where people could go to have a good time, but it turned out to be a total disaster,” she said.