ST JOHN’S, Antigua – Customers of the legally embattled businessman Dante Tagliaventi gathered outside his Heritage Quay business a fourth day on Monday hoping for word from his sons about the status of their monies entrusted to the company.
Hundreds of customers mainly from Cuba and the Dominican Republic said they were hoping to recover hundreds of thousands of dollars from Tagliaventi, who was Wednesday arrested on cocaine charges in the Dominican Republic.
The businessman runs a jewellery and leather shop but customers told OBSERVER Media that the company held cash savings and lay-away payments for jewellery items.
One woman who did not want her identity revealed, said she made an EC $2,000 payment on a gold necklace priced at EC $3,000.
“I almost finished paying for it and now where my money?” the woman said in a Spanish accent.
A couple who is to wed this weekend said they have completed payments amounting to $3,000 for wedding bands.
“We just came to collect it and now we are hearing that the place is closed,” the groom-to-be said.
Other customers said they would visit the home of Tagliaventi if they could not find answers and some vowed to return to the closed Heritage Quay shop until someone answered their questions.
They said the company benefited them because as non-nationals, they found it difficult to obtain financing from commercial financial institutions.
“He gives us good loan, four per cent,” said a customer who had been waiting outside the business since 6 am.
For Monday alone, in excess of 100 customers waited outside the business for answers from the Tagliaventi family.
News of Tagliaventi’s demise surfaced last Wednesday after he was arrested in the Dominican Republic on alleged drug possession charges.
The businessman operated two businesses in Heritage Quay, Timeless Treasures and Millennium, which were closed last year after several years of operation. In December 2011 he announced a third business, Luxury Brands, would close in May, at the end of the tourist season.
(More in today’s Daily OBSERVER)