Oklahoma family fights for venue reimbursement after bride-to-be dies months before wedding
EL RENO, Okla. (KFOR) – A daughter’s wedding can be one of the happiest times in a mother’s life. But a local mother is still in shock after her daughter’s untimely death and conflicted over where the wedding was to take place.
Michaela Grundy’s wedding plans were well underway and the bride-to-be was exploding with joy.
“She wanted it to be comfortable,” her mother, Lisa Busch, explained. “She wanted everyone to celebrate them.”
She and her husband Josh were due to get married in El Reno at the Palace Event Center in October.
But in May, Michaela started to feel bad.
“She said, ‘Mom, I’m not feeling very well. And then on Tuesday they went to urgent care,’ Lisa said.
Michaela’s condition changed throughout the week.
Early Monday morning, Lisa received a phone call she will never forget.
“Josh called us at 4 a.m. Monday morning,” she said. “I heard my husband say, ‘What do you mean, she hasn’t breathed for 10 minutes?’ And so as soon as I heard that, we started getting ready and we went to the hospital. By the time I got there they couldn’t revive her and she was gone.
Michaela was 28 and it’s still unclear exactly what happened. The family say she tested positive for COVID-19 after her death.
Her family was left in mourning and called off the wedding. They called sellers one by one and said they received immediate refunds from all but one, The Palace.
Michaela had paid around $4,000 instead so far. After speaking with Lisa, the venue only offered a half-return in a text.
“All that was done was his name was put on the date. So I didn’t think half was really fair,” Lisa said. “So I said, ‘Can you ask the owner to call me so I can talk to him? “”
Lisa says her conversations with the landlord have been heated on both sides. Palace management claimed they were unable to simply return the money, as Michaela was the only person to sign the contract.
But Michaela used a card and Lisa says the card is in a joint bank account with Michaela’s fiancé, Josh.
This account is still active and Lisa says everyone agrees that it should be Josh who receives the funds.
“[Josh is] having to pick up and start his life, and move his house. Everything is going to be fine for him,” Lisa said. “You know, we haven’t closed anything yet because it was on the recommendation of the bank. So it could just go back to paying the original form.
In the almost 3 months that have passed, no resolution has been found.
Before long, a slew of bad reviews were left against the venue online. The Palace responded to most of them with a uniform statement that reads:
“The management of the Palace Event Center would like to offer its sincere condolences to Michaela’s family at this difficult time. We cannot imagine the sadness they feel because of this loss. The refund request was not refused: our lawyer informed us that the refund must be paid to her legal heir, so we requested information regarding Michaela’s estate. We look forward to working with the family to resolve this issue.
But at 28, without a will, how do you find Michaela’s heir?
KFOR caught up with local property lawyer David McBride, of McBride & Associates, to find out more.
“Typically, [families] present their documents to the court,” he explained. “They initiate a legal process called probate, declaring that they have the right to step in and be the person who will receive the distribution of the estate.”
But without a will or trust, these procedures can be costly. Keep in mind that the refund would be just under $4,000.
McBride says even the simplest, simplest probate procedure can cost between $2,500 and $5,000.
“[Sometimes] you’re going to spend more on attorney fees and court fees and all those other expenses, than they’ll eventually get back,” he said. “It unfortunately happens far too often.”
But there might be a resolution in sight. The Palace responded to News 4’s request for comment with a lengthy statement.
Management said they were “very sorry to learn of Michaela’s passing” and that their lawyer had advised them to receive an “affidavit of inheritance”.
But they later said their attorney was drafting the document to help solve the case.
They also called for bad reviews to be removed from Facebook, adding: “It pains us greatly to see the negative and defamatory posts. We have been unjustly defamed and we are unable to defend ourselves.
However, it has been more than a week since News 4 received this statement, and Lisa says she has heard nothing from Palace management and has not received the affidavit.
She now hopes others will follow her family’s advice regarding such contracts.
“Make sure they ask the question, ‘What if, under any circumstances or through no fault of ours, this marriage cannot take place? “, Did she say. “What am I entitled to? I wish we had known that.
We will return.
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