Oakland couple renews vows, loses deposit


Dawn Paser and her mother Sheila enjoyed looking at pictures of Dawn's recommitment ceremony with her husband Richard.

"Just remembering the day, how beautiful it was, how happy I was," Dawn recalled.

Nearly one year after renewing her marriage vows, Dawn still chokes up thinking about it.

"I have a beautiful marriage," she said.

The couple rented out the city-operated Willie Keys Center in Oakland for the ceremony. The $300 deposit they paid was supposed to be returned to them once they left the place in good shape.

"Once that was done, we were supposed to wait six weeks to get the deposit returned," Richard said. "It turned into six months. So, we started wondering you know, where was our deposit."

They called several people in Oakland's Parks and Recreation Department including its fiscal manager.

"I called his number first. No reply. No reply. No reply. No reply," Richard said.

More time passed. Then, 11 months after the recommitment ceremony, Dawn had an idea.

"Flashes of 7 On Your Side commercials kept coming to me," she said.

The couple contacted us and we contacted the Recreation Department. One city employee who asked not to be identified blamed the delay on an accounting software glitch. The city promised to refund the money within ten days.

"I was amazed," Richard said. "We received it in two days."

"I said, 'Hallelujah. Thank you Jesus,'" Dawn said.

The couple said the money will pay for their donation to missionaries in Africa.

Since this story was filed, the city of Oakland released an official statement. Fiscal Manager Jason Mitchell described the incident "as a glitch that hardly ever happens, but it did." He apologized for the inconvenience.

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