'We can't afford to get married,' says upset bride who lost £2,000 when Doncaster venue went bust

A devastated couple who say they have lost nearly £2,000 after a Doncaster wedding venue went bust say they can no longer afford to get married.

By Darren Burke
Sunday, 29th August 2021, 9:36 am
Updated Sunday, 29th August 2021, 9:37 am
Dominic Gibbs is facing growing accusations and allegations about his business dealings.
Dominic Gibbs is facing growing accusations and allegations about his business dealings.

The pair are among a growing number of wedding couples as well as contract workers and former employees chasing cash following the shutdown of Doncaster’s Diamond Live Lounge earlier this year.

Controversial and colourful local businessman Dominic Gibbs, who was behind the Wood Street venue, has repeatedly refused to answer questions or offer explanations to those who say they have been left out of pocket after the venue went bust in January. Details of the venue’s closure have only just come to light.

It comes as accusations and allegations continue to pour in about Mr Gibbs’ business dealings with another saying he was ‘ripped off’ for £4,000 while another says he is owed more than £1,000.

People have also said they are scared to be named publicly because of Mr Gibbs’ ‘reputation.’

Others have also come forward with accusations describing him as a ‘bully’ with one saying: “People are scared to go public because of the things he says and how he operates.”

The couple had planned to celebrate their wedding with a nine hour wedding reception and evening bash at the venue - better known to generations of Doncaster clubbers as Camelots - and forked out £1,800 for a party for more than 100 people last Spring.

The venue was forced to shut during lockdown and the pair decided to put their big day on hold – and asked bosses for a refund.

The bride said: “We were told repeatedly it wouldn’t be a problem and we’d get our cash back.

"But every time we asked, there was always some reason why they couldn’t refund us and we were constantly being fobbed off with excuses.”

The couple say they were informed of the venue’s closedown in January and were told they would still get their money back – but since May, emails have been ignored or have bounced back while phone calls have gone unanswered.

The woman says she has also messaged Mr Gibbs on Facebook – but has not received a response.

She said: “We’ve had to put our wedding completely on hold, we can’t afford it.

"It’s absolutely disgusting they are preying on people like this. They must have known in advance there was no money but they kept taking bookings.

"People are struggling enough as it is during Covid times.

"To be honest, I don’t know where we go from here. We can’t afford to go to court and until we get that money back, we can’t afford to get married. It’s absolutely devastating.

"We are back at square one. We just want answers and our money back.”

Another woman has revealed it took ‘11 weeks of constant every day harassment’ to get her money back, adding: “I feel sorry for those that don’t.”

Posting on Facebook, another angry customer wrote: “Absolutely awful guy! Ripped my company off for just over 4K in June 2014, as he did with many other companies. He was fully aware of what he was doing, literally within days of the works being completed, the company was sent under and then bought back.”

Mr Gibbs, who touts himself as a ‘clean up Doncaster’ campaigner, has repeatedly refused to comment, apart from a single tweet denying he was in charge of the Wood Street venue when it went bust and claiming that he had been helping people to get their money back.

His only statement since the allegations began was to say he was ‘on a high’ after using Twitter to plug Caged Steel, the martial arts firm he now runs.

The Diamond Live business closed its doors without announcement and quietly closed its website and social media channels without fanfare.

Several years ago, Mr Gibbs was the figurehead of a drive to clean up Doncaster town centre, saying crime and anti-social behaviour was impacting on businesses, setting up a Clean Up Doncaster Town Centre Facebook page which attracted hundreds of members.

It has also been revealed that controversial Doncaster sticker seller Phillip Anthony Hartley has worked and been paid by Mr Gibbs for a number of years, helping to erect and dismantle equipment for the cage fighting business he now runs.

Numerous people have also accused Mr Gibbs of ‘bullying’ and one said: “He has done this to loads of people and businesses but gets away with it because people are scared. He has got a reputation.”

The Diamond Live Lounge business was declared insolvent on January 12 this year with no announcement made at the time.

A previous incarnation of the company folded in 2018 with just £345 in the bank.

Documents filed with Companies House show a firm called Diamond Live Lounge Ltd folded on January 10, 2018 with a handful of cash in its accounts.

A newly formed company, Diamond Doncaster, founded in January 2019, was the one declared insolvent in January this year.

The Free Press has made a number of attempts to contact Mr Gibbs for a full statement in response to the allegations.

His only response so far has been a reply to a tweet last weekend prior to a Caged Steel show in which he said: “I have a show this weekend, however, I wasn't a shareholder or director when the business's (sic) went into administration. I have been helping people get money back. Get all details and I will call them all next week.”

Documents listed on Companies House show his former or ongoing involvement in a number of companies with similar names, registered to a number of different addresses.

These include a firm called Freedom Events and Entertainment Ltd, whose address is listed as 34-46 Wood Street – the address of Diamond Live Lounge, Diamond Safety Management Ltd, Diamond Promotions Ltd and Diamond Business Centre Ltd.