Couples refute wedding photographer's story
In the days before his wedding, Shane Hutton called the contracted photographer to double-check that he had the address for the church.
After the first couple of calls to Eric Porado went unanswered, Hutton said he spoke with the photographer on the eve of the wedding and relayed directions to Pittsburgh's Beechview neighborhood.
So when Porado told the Penn-Trafford Star for a story published last week that he informed some couples he would have to miss their weddings because his camera equipment was stolen, Hutton says Porado is “full of crap.”
Not only did Porado fail to show up for the Sept. 24, 2011, wedding, but Hutton said he's been trying to recover the $1,500 he and his family paid the Penn Township man for a wedding package ever since.
Hutton's wedding is one of four that Porado missed after accepting partial or full payments, outgoing state Attorney General Linda Kelly alleged in a lawsuit filed in Westmoreland County on Jan. 4. Kelly's complaint also said Porado failed to deliver some photos for two other ceremonies.
Hutton and his wife, Shana, relied on relatives for photos of their big day.
“You can't get (the moments) back, and we trusted him. It's frustrating,” said Hutton, of South Park.
Porado says that his camera equipment and some memory cards containing wedding images were stolen when his car was broken into in a Robinson Township parking lot. He said he is willing to reimburse the clients through a payment plan.
Chad Crespy of Penn Hills and Joe Rush of Peters Township said they had to hire another photographer to shoot their weddings because of problems with Porado.
Crespy said he gave Porado a downpayment several months before his Dec. 31, 2011, wedding but never heard back from him after leaving messages leading up to the event.
Rush and his wife, Tabatha, said they received a text message about three weeks before their Oct. 22, 2011, wedding, stating that Porado was ill. They said they were concerned about his health, but Porado's family wouldn't give any details.
The Rushes said they paid Porado about $1,000.
Another customer, Emily Sapienza, said she pestered Porado for months to deliver photos from her July 2011 wedding in Pittsburgh's South Hills.
She said Porado arrived late and left the reception early. In the end, she said, she received fewer photos than she was expecting and never got the photo album she ordered.
Porado's case will be taken over by the staff of the new attorney general, Kathleen Kane, who was sworn in on Jan. 15. Porado is required to respond to the complaint by Jan. 24.
Though the state filed a civil case against Porado's photography business, he is free on $5,000 unsecured bond while awaiting the disposition of criminal charges from an incident that happened four days after Hutton's wedding.
Police in Washington Township accuse Porado, 30, and two others of selling $37,000 worth of stolen jewelry to a Monroeville coin store. Court records show that Porado was charged with receiving stolen property and conspiracy and is scheduled to enter a guilty plea before Westmoreland County Judge John Blahovec on Jan. 24.
Chris Foreman is a staff writer for Trib Total Media. He can be reached at 412-856-7400 ext. 8671 or firstname.lastname@example.org.