The florist billed thousands of brides, but never delivered wedding flowers
TAMPA BAY – Bride Jacqueline Ruby envisioned a fairytale wedding. Her search for the perfect floral designer led her to Jason Saunders, owner of Jason’s Creations Wedding & Event Floristry LLC.
âHis name kept popping up everywhere every bridal shop recommended it,â Ruby said.
Under her contract with Jason’s Creations, Ruby agreed to pay the floral designer nearly $ 5,000 for her wedding flowers. Ruby told ABC Action News that Saunders wanted the bill paid in full, two months before his big day.
Bank records show Ruby paid most of the money to Jason’s Creations before she started seeing complaints online from other brides about Saunders and his company.
I-Team investigator Jackie Callaway discovered that wives had filed similar complaints with the Attorney General, the Better Business Bureau and the Consumer Protection Bureaux of Hillsborough and Pinellas Counties.
A review of court records shows Jason Saunders to be a convicted felon. In 2017, he pleaded guilty to trafficking in stolen goods and providing false information to a pawnshop.
Several brides who contacted ABC Action News said Saunders used a mobile software app to request payments, even after he said he stopped answering calls about their order.
Jason’s Creations was located in downtown St. Petersburg until the end of 2020. Court documents reveal that Saunders’ former business partner Antonio Bell filed a lawsuit against him in December 2020 for fraudulent conduct and embezzlement. In August 2021, Jason Saunders filed for bankruptcy.
Bell’s attorney says he was a minority landlord who took care of administrative duties. Bell is classified as a victim in the lawsuit.
ABC Action News has confirmed that Saunders is currently working for a florist in Lynchburg, Virginia.
He responded to our messages by email. In short, Saunders claims he worked with some brides to get their money back, but did not respond when we asked for the names of those brides. He also blames his former business partner for excluding him from the business account which he says forced him to miss marriages.
Below is Jason Saunders’ statement:
âIt has come to my attention that you are investigating a story involving myself and Jasons Creations. I wanted to share a few details with you as you ask me what my side of the story is. Obviously, given that this is going on (sic) battle I had to deal with my old business partner, who was my life partner / fiancÃ©, I have to keep it to a minimum. In a nutshell, I was the creative force behind Jason’s Creations and 51 % owner and my ex was the owner of the business at 49%. He was the one who took care of the contracts, all monies received or reimbursed. All my login details have been changed, which they have to Originally denied, but it came out in court, along with his statement, that he actually changed everything so that I couldn’t (sic) access it anymore.I don’t see any contracts or information about any brides. This resulted in failed marriages, which of course caused an uproar Ã© among many brides, and rightly so! The last words I heard were, “I’m going to watch your business C Rash and Burn” and that’s exactly what they did. There is so much more to it all that I would like to scream from the rooftops, (sic) but as I have been hassled and threatened and told to watch what I say this is the extent of what I am capable of to share when it comes to this. I emailed ANY bride who contacted me, to give her banks and credit card companies to cancel the funds, and everyone thanked me and told me that it worked. If there are more brides who have (sic) hired Jasons Creations, allow them to contact you and give them my email directly, rather than sticking it on the news, so I can provide that too. letter in the hope to recover the lost money. These accusations have been made in court in every attempt to get the ex-partner to win just about anything, and have all been dismissed and judged in my favor. During this time, everything I have built and worked so hard for, any inventory I have, has been told to the judge that it is in a storage unit to which only they have the key. I made the choice to leave Florida after my life was threatened and came to visit a sister and a childhood friend. Almost a year later, the store I used to help seasonally (sic) is still hassled when I wasn’t even there. All the time and energy, as well as the money that was put into the new studio space in St Pete Fl, on which we signed a lease and paid for the renovations, which was never opened. My whole world has changed in a few months because of things that I just can’t discuss right now. I will however tell everyone that I am extremely sorry that this happened, that I trusted the wrong person in my life and that caused this business to shut down. And again, if there are any brides who have contacted you who have not received a refund, please let me know so that I can send this letter to hopefully help in any way. that is. It’s extremely sad to think of the years I spent growing my business, the passion my clients felt when I hosted their wedding, the 5 star ratings I maintained by going to- beyond for my wives, so that everything collapses. by something completely out of your controlâ¦ It was truly a nightmare and again I apologize for my part in this but I also want to thank the brides who continued to support me, to pass the garbage speaking among the same who want to keep this mess, rather than trying to help connect a lost bride to me in the hopes of getting paid back.
Veteran wedding planner Stephanie Voth, who is unrelated to Jason’s Creations, says many brides saw no signs of a problem until it was too late. Voth advises brides currently in the throes of planning their wedding to:
- Ask their wedding planner for a list of their trusted suppliers
- Pay by credit card if possible to be protected if something goes wrong
- Negotiate a smaller down payment and avoid paying full months before the event
Several brides who contracted with Jason’s Creations say they were forced to hire other vendors and pay for their flowers again after Saunders’ business closed.
Jacqueline Ruby just wants the extra $ 4,000 she had to spend on a second florist.
âYou don’t do this to a bride on the biggest day of their life,â she said.
Consumers who believe they have been defrauded can file a complaint with the Attorney General’s fraud line 866-9NOSCAM and / or with local law enforcement.