AN expat wedding planner has left a holy man out of pocket after taking thousands for an alleged fictional ceremony.
The Benahavis church hand is now taking legal action after event organiser Jeff Gurner, failed to repay €5,000 he borrowed ‘to pay up front for wedding musicians’.
After months of trying to reclaim his money, Bernard Gallagher, 75, discovered that the claimed nuptials never actually took place.
Gallagher claims he was led to believe that the wedding was to take place at the Andalucia Plaza H10 on July 10.
However, the Olive Press has confirmed that no such event took place at the Puerto Banus hotel on that weekend.
And even Gurner, who runs Love Weddings Marbella, himself was unable to confirm that it took place, when confronted last night.
“I can’t believe that these men of the cloth are ganging up on me. I’m going to sort this all out and get the money back as soon as possible,” Gurner said, from his home in Estepona.
He refused to comment on whether the wedding had taken place or not.
Gallagher, who has lived in Spain since 1981, believed he was helping ‘a true friend’ when he coughed up €5,000 in two equal instalments – but failed to take a written receipt of the loan.
The holy man, who works at Benahavis church, insists he was promised full repayment plus €750 (15%) in interest within three weeks.
In an email seen by the Olive Press and dated July 7 the agreement is clearly laid out, with plans to meet the following day.
However, after making the payments Gallagher has lost contact with expat Gurner, whom he says has left him in the lurch after several unanswered pleas.
“He has taken advantage of me, and must be laughing at my stupidity,” Gallagher told the Olive Press.
“I made a serious error of judgement – he signed nothing at all because I trusted him… but the agreement is clear and the deadline is well up.”
He continued: “I just want to know if I will get my money or not as I am well out of pocket.”
It emerges however, that he is not the only one, with Catholic priest Kevin O’Boyle also owed €750 for officiating two weddings on the Costa del Sol in May and July.
Despite confirming the lack of payment, he insisted on turning the other cheek.
“Let’s just say let bygones be bygones,” O’Boyle told the Olive Press.