Couples Left Scrambling After Elk Grove Wedding Venue Hit with SEC Lawsuit

ELK GROVE -- The Falls Event Center in Elk Grove is being sued by the SEC and may soon be up for a foreclosure sale, forcing dozens of couples planning their weddings to scramble to adjust.

The venue was built with millions of dollars in money from investors. The SEC lawsuit alleges investors were led to believe the venue was turning a profit when it was actually losing money, and its owner is accused of covering that up.

"It's pretty frustrating," Gina Plescia said. "Hearing that is kinda like, 'Am I still going to be able to have my wedding?'"

Plescia and her fiance booked the Falls for their wedding on May 4, 2019. The venue is scheduled for a foreclosure sale at the end of this month.

Still, the general manager of the Falls believes Plescia and her fiance Mykel Venegas will have their wedding there.

"We did not lie to our investors. We did not do what the SEC alleges we did," Falls GM John Newbauer said.

The SEC suit says CEO Steve Down opened his eight event centers with money from private investors. Down raised $120 million since 2011, claiming the centers were turning profits. The suit alleges Down said he'd have 200 venues open by 2022.

In reality, the suit claims the Elk Grove location was losing tens of thousands of dollars on a monthly basis. Records show the company still owes Sacramento County more than $79,000 in back taxes.

Still, Newbauer says couples can still count on having their weddings at the Falls.

"We're confident that in the next week we will have implemented a plan that provides them assurance of that and we’ll publicize that plan as soon as we have solidified it," he told FOX40.

Plescia isn't exactly comforted by that, after putting down a $3,500 deposit on the venue.

"I'm a teacher. That’s not something I can just hand out like that," she said.

Plescia told FOX40 later Wednesday that she has found another space for her wedding.