MADISON, Wis. - Investigators at the Department of Agriculture, Trade and Consumer Protection have recommended criminal charges be filed against an Iowa promoter for allegedly scamming dozens of local vendors and the Alliant Energy Center in connection with a proposed holiday show.
A DATCP spokesman said that the case against Teri Hardy, her husband Donald Hatland and their company, Street Repeats LLC, was referred to the Dane County District Attorney's Office on March 27.
The investigation stems from a "Madison Holiday Market" that was scheduled Dec. 10-11, 2016, at the Alliant Energy Center. Hardy solicited vendors at costs ranging from $100-$500 and placed a $900 down payment to reserve exhibition space at the Alliant Energy Center before violating her contract with the facility and sending an email to roughly 150 local merchants on Nov. 20 stating that Street Repeats was canceling all its future events and filing for bankruptcy.
"I think justice needs to be brought to this person," said Mark Clarke, executive director of the Alliant Energy Center, which lost $9,000 when it decided not to harm the local vendors any further by canceling the event. "We decided we couldn't just let it rest. We know it's going to be a slow process, and that's OK. We're willing to accept that as long as the outcome is what we all want at the end of the day."
Dozens of individuals have filed as creditors on Hardy and Hatland's federal bankruptcy case in an effort to get their money back. Street Repeats also canceled events late last year in Kansas City and Sioux City without refunding vendors or compensating the facilities set to host them. They filed for Chapter 7 bankruptcy in January.
"The important thing here is we just can't let people take advantage of vulnerable people in this situation," Clarke said. "Alliant Energy Center takes this seriously and (they're) not going to get away with that. I think that's what's really important for other shows down the road and other show promoters who might be thinking about trying to do something like this in the future."
An internet search late last year found numerous consumers claiming they'd been defrauded by Hardy over the last couple of years. In those cases, she operated a business under a different name and used varying forms of her name (i.e. Teri Hardy-Hatland, Teri Hatland or Teri Hardy). None of the vendors or the Alliant Energy Center thought to Google her name, but instead searched her company's name.
Clarke said his staff has changed how new shows and new promoters are being vetted going forward. They are now subject to tighter credit ratings, more reference checks and more background checks in general.
Emails to six separate addresses owned by Hardy were unanswered at the time of publication. Also, an email to her bankruptcy lawyer seeking comment was not returned.
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