NEW YORK (CBSNewYork) — Angry couples on Staten Island have accused a video production company of holding their wedding videos and pictures hostage for years.
As CBS 2’s Alice Gainer reported Thursday, the company’s website shows couples smiling on their big day, but for some who used VIP Video Productions in Staten Island, they’re anything but happy.
“I contacted him, and still no answers,” Michelle Secchini said.
Secchini was married in January. Right now, pictures from the day are all she has, CBS 2’s Jessica Schneider reported.
“Two weeks ago is when I actually found out that he subcontracted the job out to another company in New Jersey, and he told my husband that this man had my raw video,” she said.
Secchini, who booked VIP Video after recommendations from friends, had a contract and paid in full. But after she couldn’t get in contact with the owner for the unedited raw video, she posted about it on Facebook and started hearing from other couples, some of which had been waiting since 2010 for their unedited videos and pictures.
“There’s a girl that I met who lost her father last year, and he (VIP’s owner) has her personal pictures,” Secchini said.
There have been several complaints lodged with the Better Business Bureau, Gainer reported.
In speaking with other couples by phone, CBS 2 learned they, too, were unable to reach owner Tommy Falcone.
The owner of the building was busy taking down the VIP storefront letters Thursday. He told Gainer that Falcone hasn’t been to the office since October.
CBS 2 was able to reach Falcone by phone.
“I answer all my calls. I try to accommodate everybody in any way that I can,” Falcone said.
The business owner said he’s been going through a divorce with his wife, who was also the video editor.
Falcone vowed to return everything.
“I’m looking to edit every one of the videos that we have in our possession,” he said. “If there are couples that want their pictures back and they want to go somewhere else to do it that’s totally fine.”
But what does this mean for Secchini and her husband, whose video is in the hands of another company?
“He’s going to edit and give me my video for free,” Secchini said. “So it works out for me, but now there’s still so many other people who are waiting,” Secchini said.
Falcone said his company will close for good after the videos are returned to his customers.
The Staten Island District Attorney’s Office said it is looking into the matter.
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