Owner of Florida mansion calls police when wedding party turns up without booking

Screengrab from Zillow shows mansion for sale where groom showed up to set up for wedding without permission.  (Keller Williams Realty/Zillow)
Screengrab from Zillow shows mansion for sale where groom showed up to set up for wedding without permission. (Keller Williams Realty/Zillow)

The owner of a 16,300-foot Florida mansion called the police after a groom showed up with another person at the property to start setting up for a wedding, despite never getting permission to host it there.

The groom, Courtney Wilson, and the bride, Shenita Jones, had sent out online invitations to “our dream home and estate," calling themselves “the Royal Couple". They called the property in suburban Fort Lauderdale “the Wilson estate" despite not owning the mansion.

The South Florida Sun Sentinel reported that the owner, Nathan Finkel, told a 911 dispatcher: “I have people trespassing on my property. And they keep harassing me, calling me. They say they’re having a wedding here and it’s God’s message. I don’t know what’s going on. All I want is [for] it to stop. And they’re sitting at my property right at the front gate right now.”

Two police officers showed up and told Mr Wilson to leave, which he did. No charges have been filed.

“I don’t want to talk about it,” Mr Wilson told The Sun Sentinel.

The mansion is listed for sale for just under $5.7m, a decrease from $7.25m when it was up for sale in 2019.

The huge estate has an elevator, four fireplaces, three offices, a library and rooms for staff. Outdoors the property is equipped with two ponds, a tennis court, a gazebo with barbecue and a pool that includes a waterfall, a water slide, and a hot tub. The property also has a deck that can hold hundreds of guests.

Mr Finkel discussed the incident with attorney Keith Poliakoff, who said that Mr Wilson previously checked out the mansion numerous times, taking photos and saying he was interested in buying the property.

“A few months later this guy asked Nathan if he could use Nathan’s backyard for his wedding. Nathan said no," Mr Poliakoff said according to The Sun Sentinel.

Mr Finkel's late father was an early adopter of the IHOP franchise, Miami TV-station WTVJ reported.

Ms Jones, the bride, wrote on the invite that she and Mr Wilson was reconnected 30 years after meeting in high school because of fate and divine intervention.

The festivities were supposed to start at 3.30pm on Saturday afternoon. After the nuptials, a “Red Carpet Cocktail Hour” was scheduled, followed by a reception planned to last until 2.30am.

The wedding crew would then return to the mansion on Sunday for a brunch.

Mr Poliakoff added: “The guy figured it was a vacant house and didn’t realize Nathan lived on the property in a different home. This guy had no idea he lived there. You know the shock that must have been on his face when he showed up at the gate and the owner was home?”

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