Jazz judgment granted

Published 9:16 pm Wednesday, October 8, 2014

A man who bought tickets to last year’s canceled Suffolk Riverfront Jazz Festival finally got a judgment against the festival’s organizer on Wednesday for the $274 he paid for the tickets.

Judge James A. Moore waxed philosophical after awarding the judgment to John Marshall of Newport News.

“You pay your money, you take your chances, huh?” Moore said. “Such is life; such is business. It’s just the fickle finger of fate.”

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The festival, scheduled at Constant’s Wharf for July 26-28, 2013, was canceled because of slow ticket sales, according to an email message that was sent out the day before the festival was to begin.

It would have benefited the Gladys Gatlin Foundation, which says it provides assistance to female veterans. Aubrey Wilson, the registered agent for the foundation, did not show up in court Wednesday morning.

No ticketholders the News-Herald has spoken to have received refunds. Several, including Marshall, said they could not obtain a refund through Paypal, because the cancellation was announced more than 45 days after they had bought their tickets.

Marshall’s bank would not refund the payment, since he had authorized the transaction. So, he decided to try to get the money back from the foundation.

Marshall said he spent more trying to get the money back than he did on the tickets, though the judged awarded $215 in court costs as well.

“I stuck to this only on principle,” Marshall wrote in an email. “That was the driving force.”

At least one artist who was scheduled to perform at the festival, James Racine, who goes by the name “Maestro J,” said last year that his travel arrangements had not been reimbursed, and he had been unable to get in contact with the organizers.

Confronted by the News-Herald last year at his construction company’s office in Norfolk, Wilson signaled nobody would get money from him.

“Nobody sent me any money,” he said, suggesting people should seek refunds from whomever they paid. Asked where the money went when people paid, he dodged the question and then closed and locked the door.