YONKERS, N.Y. — You’ve heard about wedding dress disasters, but this puts them all to shame.
There was a very public display of anger and outrage on the streets of Yonkers on Tuesday, as a group of disgruntled brides-to-be wanted answers from a woman they say scammed them out of thousands of dollars.
There was screaming on the sidewalk, accusations of assault and calls to police as women paraded by the Lily Fleur Wedding Dress Shop, demanding their dresses or their money back. “You should be ashamed of yourself!” a woman screamed at Michelle Mears, the owner of Lily Fleur. Neighboring businesses say the shop opened in April. On Tuesday, a number of unhappy brides confronted the owner face to face.
In fact, there were more than a dozen angry women confronting owner Michelle Mears, furious over dresses they paid thousands of dollars for – but never received.
State Sen. Jeffrey Klein said this isn’t the first time. According to him, Mears has done this several times over the past couple of years, taking the deposits of clients, then abruptly closing up shop before delivering their dresses – only to re-open in another location, under another name. Sula Lobue says she got suckered into the scam back in 2008, when she paid more than $2000 wore a dress that she called “unwearable.”
“I refused to take the dress because it wasn’t what I ordered,” Lobue said. “It was horrible, there were strings hanging from it, it looked like it was falling apart.”
Hours after this latest confrontation, Mears agreed to sit down with CBS 2 in her shop and give us her side of the story. About Lobue’s dress, she said it was simply a matter of disappointment on the part of the bride.
“She did not like it once it was done,” Mears said. “But that’s a chance you have to take.”
Of the dozens of brides outside her ship, Mears said they changed their minds at the last minute, and the orders had already been placed.
“They may not have liked the fact that they were held to their contract, they may not have liked the fact that we didn’t throw things in free,” Mears said. “I mean a lot of these girls have an unfair sense of entitlement because they’re getting married, that everything should be given to them, but this is a living for us.”
After confronting Mears in person — some of the brides were able to walk away with what they felt they deserved – but others are still fighting. In fact, several of the brides have won legal lawsuits against Mears, which she says she doesn’t know anything about. She says she is not leaving and urges any unhappy customers to walking into the shop and deal with her directly. Senator Klein has turned the case over to the Westchester County district attorney and attorney general for investigation.