NEW YORK (CBSNewYork) — In a city filled with dollar pizza, it’s hard to believe some paid big bucks to sample slices.
Still, hundreds complain they walked away from a pizza festival hungry and disappointed.
As CBS2’s Reena Roy reported, they paid their money, showed up with tickets in hand, and waited patiently in line, all for an empty lot and a pathetic sliver of pizza.
“It was just unbelievable. There was nothing there,” one attendee said.
People claim that what was advertised as a day-long celebration of New York City’s finest slices turned out to be just a few pies delivered on the spot, then cut into scraps for the hungry masses.
“I just saw three tends and said, ‘wait a minute, something isn’t adding up,” Ben Schneider said.
“No crust. They just chopped up the pizza. Ordered it from wherever, chopped it up, served that with warm wine and warm beer, it was just ridiculous,” Ronnie Smith said.
A small slice for a big price. Ticket holders shelled out anywhere from $39 to $74 for samples plus wine and beer from 3 to 10 p.m. Saturday.
Another post by the same organizer said there would also be a burger festival at the same Flushing Avenue location. Many drove in from different states for the experience and left hungry before venting on social media and banding together to get refunds.
“It’s just not right to waste people’s time and money for something that’s supposed to be a fun experience,” Schneider said.
Even the people who were involved with the event said they feel blindsided. A business owner who rented the lot to festival organizers said he had no idea things would turn out like this.
“I don’t want people being scammed on my property,” he said. “I had no idea we were gonna rent this out to some pizza scammer.”
Attorney General Eric Schneiderman ha snow launched an investigation into a man named Ishmael Osreke who is believed to have organized the flop event.
According to Orsekes social media accounts, he’s the same man behind the African Food Fest last summer in Brooklyn which also ended in disaster. It forced him to issue an apology on Facebook, but this time he was nowhere to be found.
A spokesperson for one vendor ‘Hangry Garden’ told CBS2 they decided to back out because something felt off.
“Things didn’t add up right, things didn’t seem right especially when I asked him about vendors and so on, so we thought it was a better idea not to be involved,” Jeremy Asgari said.
That vendor hasn’t been able to reach Osreke and neither has CBS2. Multiple calls and emails have failed to elicit anything other than the automated response received by many ticket holders.
“Untimely delivery of food delayed the fun experiences we all looked forward to. A make-up tasting will be announced shortly.”
Meanwhile people just want their money back.
Attendees are reaching out to ticket vendors like Eventbrite and Goldstar in hopes of getting a refund.