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Justin Montney told KRDO that they paid a $1,800 deposit to Copper Stallion Media for a wedding video – only the ceremony never happened because his fiancée, Alexis Wyatt, died.
So Montney asked for the money back, according to local reports. Copper Stallion refused, and Montney left a negative review for the company on TheKnot.com, a wedding-planning website.
Montney told KRDO that Copper Stallion threatened to sue him for defamation in response to the review.
After the threat of a lawsuit, Montney told his story to local media. He did not immediately respond to a Fox News request for comment.
But things began to escalate after the local stories.
A pair of identical websites have appeared under Montney’s name and are written as though they are the work of Copper Stallion in an effort to defend itself from criticism over the incident.
Copper Stallion Media did not immediately respond to requests for comment made to its last available phone number or through email.
The company’s website is still up, but it does not list an address, phone number or the owner’s name.
Its social media accounts have been shut down or hidden, including its presence on TheKnot.com. But Denver7 obtained a screenshot of a post that it reported appeared on Copper Stallion’s Facebook account while it was still active.
“Today would have been the day where we would have filmed Justin and Alexis’ wedding in Colorado Springs,” the text in the image begins, attached to a photograph of the couple. “After what Justin pulled with the media stunt to try and shake us down for a refund, we hope you sob and cry all day.”
The last line reads, “Sorry, not sorry.”
Both of the websites recount a version of the refund saga and refer to Montney’s TheKnot.com review and subsequent appeal to the media for help as “the smear campaign.”
But it’s unclear who exactly created them, just like it’s not immediately clear who is behind Copper Stallion. Justinmontney.com is registered through Domains By Proxy, LLC, a GoDaddy subsidiary service that allows web domain owners to keep their identities secret. An identical site at justinmontneywedding.com is registered through Wix, a popular cloud-based web development service. Neither listing reveals the name of an individual or company running the site. Copperstallionmedia.com uses the same Wix nameservers as justinmontneywedding.com and is registered through Network Solutions LLC — another web services and domain company.
“We understand a death occurred, but it’s not right for people to turn to the internet and sodomize the reputation of a company,” begins one section of the “Montney” pages. “He could have quietly filed a small claim to ‘try’ to recoup the non-refundable deposit. Instead, he chose the internet to shake us down.”
An Internet search for Copper Stallion turns up a number of mixed reviews – some recent, referencing the rush of media attention. But some are from months ago – including one from a videographer who claimed that Copper Stallion refused to pay him for work.
Denver7 said it spoke with a former Copper Stallion videographer who said the company refused to pay him.
Alex Murphy told the outlet that he eventually received his check, months late – but it wasn’t from Copper Stallion Media, it was from a company called Organized Weddings LLC, which the channel said uses an address linked to someone named Jesse Clark.
Jesse Clark is the name of a Massachusetts wedding videographer who was sued by the state’s attorney general in 2013 for allegedly ripping off 90 couples, accepting payments and failing to provide their videos, according to the Telegram Gazette. Separately, he was also sentenced to two months in jail in connection with an assault case and has suffered from documented mental health issues, according to the outlet.
Despite the state’s lawsuit, jail sentences, probation and a court injunction in January 2013, Clark was accused again of continuing to operate online wedding businesses in April of that year, according to the report.
Speaking with the Telegram about Clark in 2013, Nicholas Frye, a lawyer for several victims, claimed: “As long as he has access to Internet, he’s going to be stealing money from unsuspecting couples. It’s most definitely going into a PayPal account and going somewhere.”