No refund at jazz fest court date

Published 10:24 pm Wednesday, November 13, 2013

A Newport News man who is suing to get a refund for tickets he purchased to the canceled Suffolk Riverfront Jazz Festival hit a sour note in court on Wednesday.

John Marshall III was disappointed to learn that Aubrey Wilson, organizer of the jazz festival, was never served with the summons, so Judge Alfred W. Bates Jr. could not do anything with the case.

“I’m going to eat tonight, but it’s the principle,” Marshall said.


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The festival was set to take place July 26-28 and would have featured names like Dianne Reeves, Jeff Lorber and Maestro J in the Hilton Garden Inn on East Constance Road. It was advertised to benefit the Gladys Gatlin Foundation, a nonprofit organization that says it provides assistance to female veterans.

However, the festival was abruptly canceled via email the day before it was set to begin, citing slow ticket sales. Marshall was seeking the refund of $274 he paid for two tickets, plus court costs.

Norfolk officials attempted to serve Wilson at the office of Robra Construction, the company he owns at 1701 Church St. in Norfolk, an office building that is shared with a bank branch and other businesses. However, a notation on the summons said there was no such business at that address, Judge Bates said during Wednesday’s hearing.

The business’s website still lists that address on its contact page.

Wilson was at the office on Aug. 30, where he came to the door after the third knock from a Suffolk News-Herald reporter. He claimed nobody sent him any money to pay for festival tickets and wouldn’t say where the money went when people paid.

Marshall said after Wednesday’s hearing he would talk with a lawyer to determine how to move forward.