ATLANTA - Organizers of a popular festival in Atlanta are threatening to sue the city.
Thousands were expected to gather for the 32nd annual Atlanta Caribbean Carnival. Organizers told Channel 2's Michael Seiden that tickets cost anywhere from $15 to $25. They also paid big money for vendors and musicians from all over the Caribbean.
But tonight, the party is over.
Atlanta police shut down the event around 4 p.m. They told Seiden that they had no choice because because of the terms of the permit.
The organizers are required to hire at least 10 off-duty police officers, but according to police, organizers were unable to pay the off-duty officers they had hired. Without them, they are in violation of the permit requirements.
Organizers told Seiden the allegations are false. In fact, one organizer said that she was ready to pay $4,800 to the off-duty officers but they refused to accept the payment unless it was cash.
"Why would you threaten to shut us down? I'm so upset," said Patricia Henry.
Henry told Seiden that she tried to pay the off-duty officers with a check and even a money transfer app.
“We have money. The money is not the problem. The problem is they want the cash on hand," she said.
Henry believes the decision to shut down the festival is based on politics.
“I have no words. We’re all devastated. We all lost so much," she said.
Police insist it's all about public safety.
“We lost a lot of money behind this . A lot of customers and a lot of good people ," said Lisa Wright, with Spice Island restaurant.
Dozens of vendors and musicians are frustrated. They spent their own hard-earned money to get to the event.
T.W. Williams traveled from California.
“I feel very frustrated. Really sad. More sad for my members, because we traveled 3,000 miles," he said.
© 2019 Cox Media Group.