Published: Thu, September 14, 2017
World | By Paul Elliott

This Brooklyn pizza fest was so bad it's under state investigation

This Brooklyn pizza fest was so bad it's under state investigation

The organizer of a disastrous $75-a-head Brooklyn pizza festival announced Wednesday it would refund customers after the state's top cop began investigating Saturday's gathering in a Bushwick parking lot.

Hungry pizza lovers, some of whom spent $75 each to attend the New York City Pizza Festival, are demanding refunds for what they're calling a "total scam" that had them waiting over an hour to enter a "shady parking lot" for empty tents and barely any food. The group's admin wrote, "This was a rotten scam, they promoted this as a pizza festival and a hamburger festival".

Now that victims of the fraudulent event have come together, the New York Attorney General is looking into the organizer, Ishmael Osekre, who also threw together an ill-fated African Food Festival last summer.

"It was like the people from Fyre Festival chose to throw a pizza party", Connell Burke told Gothamist of his experience. "There's three pop-up tents to my left, one where they're taking cold pizzas out of delivery boxes and cutting them". People who arrived early said there were about 5 pies cut into micro slices of really bad pizza.

The food festival in Brooklyn on Saturday promised to give people "an eclectic tasting of the best pizza in NYC".

It said a "make-up tasting" will be done shortly.

"Thanks for your patience in helping us get to the buttom (sic) of this", Pizza Festival wrote on Facebook Wednesday.

"[It was] very, very clearly a scam once we walked in", Burke said.

A spokesman for the office said they were "concerned about the online complaints" they saw following the event and asked attendees to submit complaints on the Schneiderman's website.

It seems, though, that Osekre's latest statement implies that the event was a failure on all fronts, citing "issues" with "hardworking pizzerias in Brooklyn" and "supporting partners" - which according to him, were unfairly reported by the press.

The NYC Pizza Festival sounded like it'd be a pretty solid event.

In a statement, the company said it was "not involved in any aspect of the production of this event" and there is "a dedicated team in place to protect our community of attendees and organizers against misuse of our platform and take action when necessary". On the day of the event, festival organizers still hadn't paid Hangry Garden - and that's when the event producers pulled out.

"We were hired as a vendor for our furniture and games".

"We couldn't be part of it, of course, because we're not going to do an event for free. They were supposed to have 30 plus vendors, this is a nightmare".

Others compared the event to Ja Rule's failed Fyre Festival in the Bahamas, where concert-goers were served "literally bread, cheese, and salad" instead of the "uniquely authentic island cuisine experience" with "local seafood, Bahamian-style sushi and even a pig roast" as advertised.

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