DANCE STU­DIO OWNER FLEE­ING?

Par­ents out­raged stu­dio owner is mov­ing while ow­ing money and can­celling kids’ recital

The Covington News - - FRONT PAGE - KAYLA ROBINS krobins@cov­news.com

About 50 lo­cal par­ents are owed money by a lo­cal dance stu­dio and had to tell their kids their dance recital was in jeop­ardy af­ter the stu­dio’s owner shut down the stu­dio, stopped re­spond­ing to calls and planned to move out of town.

Va­lerie Odom, owner of Star­bound Dance Com­pany, lo­cated at 2124 Main Street, Por­terdale, opened the stu­dio last sum­mer, ac­cord­ing to Michelle Stephens, whose 7-yearold daugh­ter at­tends the stu­dio. Odom reg­is­tered her busi­ness with the state July 28, 2013, ac­cord­ing to the Ge­or­gia Sec­re­tary of State’s of­fice.

The first recital was planned for Satur­day, May 31 at Porter Hall, but the venue was never of­fi­cially booked.

Stephens said plan­ning for the recital had not been go­ing smoothly when all par­ents re­ceived an email

People are out­raged. Most of us are just up­set be­cause we have to tell our kids they’re not hav­ing a recital. I’m plan­ning on do­ing what­ever I can.

— Chris Glover Par­ent

Wed­nes­day, May 28, from Odom say­ing the stu­dio was clos­ing, ef­fec­tive im­me­di­ately, be­cause she was mov­ing out of town.

She did not tell any of the par­ents where she was mov­ing. Odom and her hus­band own a home in the Lau­rel Ridge sub­di­vi­sion off Ga. High­way 81, ac­cord­ing to the New­ton County Tax As­ses­sor’s web­site.

The show went on

Af­ter Odom’s cur­tain call, the par­ents got to­gether Fri­day at Romp N Roll Skat­ing Cen­ter in Cony­ers to come up with a plan to let their chil­dren per­form; owner Donna Maloof let the kids skate for free dur­ing the meet­ing.

The par­ents’ plan came to fruition Satur­day.

The skat­ing cen­ter, lo­cated at 3174 Salem Road in Cony­ers, agreed to let the kids per­form their recital at its fa­cil­ity Satur­day af­ter­noon.

Miss­ing money

Some par­ents said their ma­jor con­cern was al­low­ing the stu­dents to have their recital, but the fam­i­lies are still out the fees they paid Odom.

Recital fees cost $50 per fam­ily plus costs for cos­tumes per child that Odom col­lected from par­ents. Stephens said she paid the $50 fee and about $65 for cos­tumes. Reg­u­lar lessons cost $50 a month. Stephens said she has been send­ing her daugh­ter to Star­bound for six months.

Stephens said Odom told par­ents she would re­fund their money, but so far no one has re­ported re­ceiv­ing their re­fund.

The stu­dio is closed, Odom’s Face­book page has been taken down, the stu­dio web­site no longer ex­ists and Odom can­not be reached on her stu­dio num­ber or cell phone. Par­ents and The News have tried con­tact­ing Odom with no suc­cess.

Chris Glover also has a 7-year-old daugh­ter in­volved with the stu­dio. He said all par­ents have been cor­re­spond­ing af­ter Odom sent the mass email no­ti­fy­ing them the stu­dio closed and recital would not hap­pen.

“People are out­raged. Most of us are just up­set be­cause we have to tell our kids they’re not hav­ing a recital,” Glover said prior to the recital be­ing held at the Romp N Roll. “I’m plan­ning on do­ing what­ever I can.”

Par­ents have dis­cussed pos­si­bly fil­ing charges against Odom, talk­ing with the Por­terdale Po­lice Depart­ment and other law en­force­ment agencies, but no of­fi­cial ac­tion had been taken as of Fri­day.

Glover said he paid about $170 to Odom for the recital and cos­tume fees but that some par­ents with mul­ti­ple chil­dren at the stu­dio may have paid any­where from $100-$500.

Odom and her hus­band filed for Chap­ter 13 bankruptcy Oct. 2, 2006 and they had their debts dis­charged Aug. 11, 2010, ac­cord­ing to U.S. Bankruptcy Court documents.

Cov­News.com: see the video of chil­dren per­form­ing at the Star­bound Dance Com­pany.

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