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AG files suit against Penn Township photographer

| Wednesday, Jan. 9, 2013, 8:57 p.m.

The state Attorney General is suing a Penn Township photographer accused of failing to refund payments to some couples for missing their weddings or not delivering images from others.

But the photographer, Eric Porado, said he was baffled that Linda Kelly's Bureau of Consumer Protection filed the complaint in Westmoreland County last week because he told state attorneys he was willing to reimburse the customers through a payment plan.

Porado disputed some of the details in the suit, which was filed Jan. 4. He said the suit stems from the theft of about $10,000 worth of his camera equipment and memory cards filled with photos from ceremonies. He said he twice met last spring with state attorneys and indicated a willingness to work with them to repay the newlyweds.

Porado said he closed the photography business that he ran for about seven years after his car was broken into at a Robinson Township parking lot.

“I told (a state attorney), ‘I know I'm at fault here. I'm not a thief. I'm not trying to take anyone's money by any means.' I just didn't have it to be able to immediately give back,'” Porado said. “I feel horrible about all of it, and I was just kind of at a loss of what I can do.”

The state's filing, which accuses Porado of unfair and deceptive practices, states that Porado failed to appear at four weddings and failed to submit the photographs from two others.

Porado said there are only two weddings he didn't attend, though he informed the customers and attempted to find a fill-in photographer or acquire temporary equipment to document them.

“It just didn't end up being able to work out quick enough,” he said.

In some cases, Porado said, he couldn't provide the images because the only copies of them were on 15 memory cards that were stolen.

Attempts to interview the customers identified in the lawsuit were unsuccessful.

Porado's website advertised wedding packages for between $950 and $1,500, the lawsuit states. Customers paid 50 percent of the cost upon signing a contract and the other half one month before the wedding day.

Porado said he actually was relieved when the state attorneys got involved because he thought they would be able to arrange a payment plan. After hearing nothing from the state for months, Porado said, he was “totally shocked” to learn that a lawsuit was filed last week.

“I was agreeable and easy-going as to what they wanted, and I never heard back from them,” he said.

The case was assigned to Common Pleas Judge Anthony Marsili.

Chris Foreman is a staff writer for Trib Total Media. He can be reached at 412-856-7400, ext. 8671, or cforeman@tribweb.com.

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