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ConsumerWatch: SJ Couple Burned After Using Caterer From City-Approved List

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San Jose City Hall

San Jose City Hall (City of San Jose)

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SAN JOSE (KPIX 5) – A newlywed couple is taking the city of San Jose to court, accusing the City of turning their wedding into a near disaster. Tim Hott and Lopa Sengupta expected their October wedding at the San Jose City Hall Rotunda to be the best day of their lives.

But two weeks before the event, the couple discovered the caterer that the city required they use, was no longer in business. Now the pair says they’re out over $4,000 in deposit fees and other costs.

“I was in a panic mode. I didn’t know what to do,” said Lopa Sengupta. “We thought we wouldn’t have any food at the wedding.”

The couple was required to select a caterer from San Jose’s list of mandatory, preapproved, insured caterers. They picked Taj Palace.

“There were 3 Indian caterers on this list, and the one that we contacted was the only one that was available to do a wedding of our size”, said Lopa Sengupta.

Ten days before the wedding, the couple was informed by the City that Taj Palace no longer carried the required insurance policies to operate at the Rotunda, and that the restaurant could not serve the Sengupta’s 300 guests. Worse yet, the couple then paid a visit to Taj Palace and discovered the restaurant had had gone out of business, taking the couple’s cash with it.

The City of San Jose’s Director of Communications said that while the couple was required to choose a caterer from the City’s preapproved list, San Jose provided no guarantees.

“That list was accurate at the time that we discussed it,” said San Jose Communications Director David Vossbrink. “We don’t go through and check all the people on that list on a regular basis.”

The City declined to reimburse Hott and Sengupta citing an indemnity clause. The couple sued the City in Small Claims Court stating they would be eligible for reimbursement through the restaurant’s insurance, if The City had ensured that the restaurant’s on its list of approved insured caterers were actually insured .

The court expects to issue a decision by the end of the month.

Taj Palace remains closed. The newlyweds have not been able to locate Taj Palace’s owner but have filed criminal charges.

 

(Copyright 2013 by CBS San Francisco. All Rights Reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten, or redistributed.)

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