Nov. 2007

More scrapbookers adding to Olde Geneva Dairy complaints
The Shelbyville News
November 7, 2007
By Bettina Puckett
Staff Reporter

The Indiana Attorney General’s Office has received 17 complaints about an illegal scrapbooking retreat based in Shelby County, but the Web site advertising the business is still up and running, and reservations are still being taken despite numerous allegations that the retreat is a scam.

Eight women who booked last weekend at the Olde Geneva Dairy wound up calling the police on the owner, Craig Bridgers, and said they were shaken up by their experience.

“I’m a social worker by trade, and I’m pretty adept a reading people,” said one disgruntled customer, who asked to remain anonymous, but will be called “Karen” for this story. “My concern is how (Bridgers) reacted to us. We were afraid that he might come back on the premises. It was frightening. My goal is that no one else should be subjected to that kind of scariness.”

Karen said she has enjoyed her hobby of scrapbooking for nearly 10 years and never has run into a dishonest person in the business – until now.

“It’s a mom and pop type of industry,” she said. “Repeat customers and word-of-mouth are a big part of it.” She booked the Geneva retreat back in July.

“I have a friend who lives in the Indianapolis area,” Karen said. “We try to get together once or twice a year to scrapbook.”

Karen had found the Olde Geneva Dairy website a couple of years and listed it as a “favorite” on her computer. She did not “Google” the site, so she had not seen any of the negative comments on the internet from recent customers.

The three-day retreat is advertised to include unlimited scrapbooking, all meals, endless snacks, clean fresh lines and spa choices, according to the website.

Most of the eight women who came for the retreat last weekend had driven several hours from other states. But instead of staying at the quaint Olde Geneva Dairy that was advertised on the website, they were directed by Bridgers to the Fairfield Inn in Greensburg.

Bridgers had emailed them saying the alternate location was necessary because the Dairy was in the middle of a remodeling project.

When the women arrived in various groups at the hotel around 2 p.m., Bridgers was there with an unidentified man.

“(Bridgers) never introduced himself,” Karen said. “He led us to believe a woman was in charge.”

She said Bridgers told them the hotel accidentally double-booked the banquet room where the woman would be doing their scrapbooking. The problem was supposed to be resolved in a half-hour. The women left and returned in an hour, but it still wasn’t cleared up.

Some of the women decided they would just scrapbook in their rooms. By that time, it was about 7 p.m. and a woman and her 15-year old daughter said they were getting hungry and decided to go get something to eat on their own instead of waiting for the supper mean which was supposed to be included in the weekend deal.

“About that time, things start going to hell in a hand basket,” Karen said.


Bridgers told the women that he was just the cook in the operation but couldn’t cook because he had to deal with the situation at hand.

“He said, “We’ll start with a clean slate tomorrow,” Karen said. “Then, he expected us to give him $150 more each to continue the weekend. “We’d already (each) given him our $75 deposit.”

Although the three-day weekend was advertised at $275 plus the $75 deposit, one of the women said she did not think the $150 price tag was a fair compensation for the inconvenience the women already had gone through.

“He started yelling at her and asking how dare she question his customer service skills,” Karen said. “He started making comments saying “How much money do you want me to lose?” Finally, Bridgers told them that if they didn’t like the retreat they could just leave.

“We all met together and decided to fire him,” Karen said. Since she’d already paid her $75, she kept the scrapbooking tools that Bridgers had dropped by the hotel. “It’s part of the deal,” she said. “You have toys to play with so you don’t have to bring your own.”

By Saturday morning, Bridgers came to pick up his equipment, accusing the women of stealing his lamps. “He never even gave us his name the whole time,” she said.

On Tuesday, The Shelbyville News reached Bridgers’ attorney Katie Mofield who works for David Murphy & Associates, in Greenfield. Despite being told about recent allegations against her client, Mofield declined to respond. “I don’t think our office will make any comment at this time,” Mofield said.

Calling the police

Greensburg Police Chief Bill Meyerrose said the scrapbooking women called and asked for extra patrols near the hotel around 7:25 p.m. Friday when Bridgers threatened to come back to the hotel.

“(Bridgers) didn’t show up, but he kept calling them and harassing them,” Meyerrose said. “During one phone call he said he was watching them at the hotel.”

Karen said the Greensburg police officers assisted the women in moving their cars to a better lighted parking lot that had a surveillance camera.

Besides wanting her money back Karen and the other women who feel they were ripped off by Bridgers, are trying to spread the word on the internet and by word of mouth.

“I also contacted the Better Business Bureau,” Karen said. “I would like to get my money back, but I don’t expect it. But I would like to have his site shut down. He’s still taking money from people.”

Another scrapbooker called Bridgers’ tactics a “bait and switch.”

Meanwhile a spokeswoman for Indiana Attorney General Steve Carter said Monday there are 17 open complaints into the Bridgers’ case the most recent of which was field on November 1, 2007.

“These are all active investigations,” said Staci Schneider. “They are being looked into.”

Schneider said all of the cases are different, so she could not put a time frame on when the office will complete its investigation or how soon the office will be able to get documentation from the consumers. Bridgers could be sued eventually.

“You try to make the consumer whole again.” Schneider said. “While that discussion is going on, you look at other potential violations that have occurred to see fi there has been a deceptive practice.”

Until there has been some sort of formal resolution. Bridgers’ website likely will remain up.

Dozens of women have contracted The Shelbyville News since the story broke in August. The Shelby County Plan Commission hired special counsel to handle the case, after dealing with Bridgers since April. County officials ordered Bridgers to cease operation of the retreat after they say they tried – without success – to get Bridgers to comply with zoning inspection and health laws.

The plan commission will pursue its case against Bridgers at a hearing now set for 1:30 p.m. on January 30, 2008, in Shelby Superior Court No. 2 said Brady Rife, an attorney who works for McNeely, Stephenson, Thopy & Harrold, a Shelbyville law firm hired to handle the county’s case.

A hardcopy of this article can be found at the Shelbyville, Indiana Library’s Genealogy Services located at 58 W Hendricks Street, Shelbyville, IN 46176 or you can call 317.398.8144

Bridgers arrested and jailer fired after weekend incident
The Shelbyville News
November 7, 2007
By Bettina Puckett
Staff Reporter

A Shelby County jailer has been dismissed from her job after she and Craig Bridgers – the owner of the Olde Geneva Dairy – were arrested following a confrontation with some of their Waldron neighbors last weekend.

Pamela A. Monroe, 56 has been working as a jail officer since December 4, 2000, but was dismissed by Sheriff Mike Bowlby following the arrest. Lt. David Fisher, a spokesman for the Shelby County Sheriff’s Department confirmed Tuesday.

“She did work for us in the jail, but she was dismissed, effective Monday morning,” Fisher said.

“Because Monroe was a civilian employee – rather than a merit officer, such as a deputy – her firing did not have to be approved by the Shelby County Merit Board,” Fisher said. “As a law enforcement agency, if we have an employee who gets charged with a crime, there’s always the possibility that she could get dismissed by the sheriff or the merit board,” Fisher said.

According to a police report the episode involved Monroe and Bridgers started at 12:07 a.m. Sunday when Bridgers, 43, of Geneva, arrived with Monroe at the home of Christopher Runnebohm, 24, who lives in the 100 block of West Pearl Street in Waldron, Fisher said. Bridgers and Monroe are neighbors who live on East Vandalia Road. Runnebohm and some friends were outside near a hot tub when they observed Monroe and Bridgers drive up in a silver truck.

“(Bridgers) came to the door, looking for someone’s daughter,” Fisher said. “Runnebohm informed them that the person they were looking for was not there.”

According to police, they asked to use the phone and Runnebohm let them in the house to use it, although they appeared to be drunk. After they got inside the house, Monroe and Bridgers began to make statements like, “You don’t know who you are messing with” and “You don’t know who she is and what she can do,” according to the report by deputy Larry Lacy of the Shelby County Sheriff’s Department.

After Bridgers and Monroe used the intimidating language, Runnebohm asked them to leave and then called the sheriff’s department according to the report. “(Runnebohm) ended up telling Monroe and Bridgers that the person they were looking for was at a fake address he made up down the road, in order to get them to leave the house,” Lacy said in his report. “Only then was he able to get them out of the house.”

While waiting for Lacy to arrive. Runnebohm saw Bridgers and Monroe get in the truck and drive down the road. Moments before Lacy arrived, the two returned to Runnebohm’s house and were on their way to his door when Lacy approached them. Lacy observed the silver truck sitting in the road at the intersection of Pearl and Mulberry and recognized Monroe as a jail officer.

“At this time, Runnebohm and several other individuals came outside and informed me that (Monroe and Bridgers) were the ones they called about.” Lacy wrote. When Bridgers started walking away. Lacy told him to stop and come back over to him, but Bridgers ignored him. Monroe denied even knowing Bridgers and told Lacy that Bridgers was not with her.

“I could tell she was very intoxicated,” Lacy wrote. “She smelled strongly of alcoholic beverages and was slurring her words together.”

Lacy who is a canine officer, wrote that he got his dog “Santo” out of his patrol car and tried to catch up with Bridgers. Eventually, Santo and Lacy found Bridgers trying to hide underneath an old car that was sitting in a yard in the 300 block of South Main Street.

“He was ordered to show his hands and he ignored the command,” Fisher said.

“I then allowed the dog to engage him,” Lacy wrote. “Santo dragged him out from under the car until Bridgers complied with my commands. I removed the dog after I secured Bridgers in handcuffs.”

According to the report, Bridgers suffered minor scratches on his upper and lower leg.

“His pants were ripped,” Fisher said. “He was able to walk from the scene unassisted.”

Bridgers was taken to Major Hospital’s emergency room, where his wound was cleaned.

“No stitches or closing of the wounds was needed,” Lacy wrote. “He was given a prescription for antibiotics as a preventive measure. He was then cleared by the doctor for incarceration.”

Lacy said he could tell Bridgers also was intoxicated.

“He smelled strongly of alcoholic beverage, talked with slurred speech and had an uncooperative attitude,” Lacy wrote.

Both Bridgers and Monroe refused to take a portable breath test.

Two Shelbyville police officers assist Lacy in locating Monroe, who was hiding behind some cars a bock west on Pearl Street.

“Monroe is a jail officer, and I have talked to and seen her many times while at work” Lacy wrote. While Lacy was trying to figure out why she had showed up at the Pearl Street house that night Monroe insulted Lacy. Bridgers was charged with feeing, interfering with law enforcement and public intoxication. Monroe was charged with public intoxication and released from the Shelby County jail on $50 bond. As of Tuesday night Bridgers remained in jail without bond for a probation violation.

A hardcopy of this article can be found at the Shelbyville, Indiana Library’s Genealogy Services located at 58 W Hendricks Street, Shelbyville, IN 46176 or you can call 317.398.8144