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Event center closes and customers owed money now want answers

Local Business

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IDAHO FALLS — The sale of a local event center has many customers concerned about their rental contracts.

EastIdahoNews.com reported several weeks ago Bullfrog Spas purchased the space formerly occupied by Pinecrest Event Center in Idaho Falls. Since then, several people have told us they have rental contracts for events scheduled in the building later this year and they are confused and concerned about what’s happening.

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Idaho Falls resident Beatriz Ibarra tells EastIdahoNews.com she made a $1,450 deposit to Jay Dye for her daughter’s quinceaƱera in July. Dye was the owner of Pinecrest Event Center and Ibarra says she has not heard anything from him about her reservation.

“We texted him. We called him, but he did not answer,” Ibarra says. “I don’t know what to do.”

Ibarra is not the only one.

William Thielbahr, the co-chair of the Idaho Falls Gem and Mineral Society’s member sale, says the group has had a standing arrangement with Dye to rent space in the building the last several years. He recently made a $300 down payment and Dye told him he’d worked it out with the new owner so Thielbahr could rent the room this year.

“(Jay) didn’t tell us the owner’s name, (but) a check was made out to Pinecrest … and everything was set,” says Thielbahr. “When somebody tried to get a hold of him, the phone number (no longer existed).”

Thielbahr is doubtful he will ever see his $300 again and does not think his contract will be honored. It’s not worth pressing the issue for such a small amount, he says, but he does not have a venue for his event in October that typically attracts several hundred people. At the very least, he would like to know what’s going on.

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Dye tells EastIdahoNews.com he owes money to at least a dozen clients and is working with his attorney to pay everyone back.

“We feel horrible and are sorry about this,” Dye says. “We didn’t want to leave it like this at all. Our goal was to make sure everyone could continue (with their agreement).”

Jay and Cathy Dye opened Pinecrest in Sept. 2016. He says he and his wife owned the business and the name, but they were only leasing the building.

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The owners of the property, Sky Properties, took over Jan. 1 after Dye ended his lease in December.

“When we first got into this four years ago, we spent a lot of money on the renovations of the building — almost a quarter-million dollars — and we were frustrated that we could never get ahead,” Dye says.

They worked with customers to get them the best deal possible on renting space, Dye says, but it just wasn’t enough to make ends meet and the business wasn’t profitable. He says customer deposits were used to help pay for renovations and after falling several months behind on rent, they decided to close.

“We walked out of there losing about $100,000,” says Dye.

Dye says several neighboring companies were negotiating with him to take over his lease. When Sky Properties took over business operations, he was surprised to learn Bullfrog Spas had bought it.

The change in ownership makes renting space inside the building no longer an option. Regarding Dye’s disconnected phone number and lack of response to his clients, he says he was transitioning to a new job. A high volume of calls made it necessary to get a new phone number.

“It was taking up all my time (just to resolve concerns),” he says.

Dye insists he will be paying customers back. Information about client contracts got lost in the transition, he says, which is why he hasn’t been responsive. He says his attorney will soon be sending a letter to everyone he owes explaining how the reimbursement process will work.

Customers can reach out to him directly to verify they are on his list. If you have questions or concerns, send an email to info@pinecresteventcenter.net.

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