ALBUQUERQUE (KRQE) - KRQE News 13 has learned new details about the woman who disappeared along with thousands of dollars from New Mexico artists involved in Balloon Fiesta.
Amalie Dorn planned to set up shop this year at Balloon Fiesta, renting booths to several art vendors, but for weeks no one's been able to reach her.
In a month, hundreds of thousands of people will swarm Albuquerque for the annual International Balloon Fiesta. Local artists say they still have not been able to reach Dorn, who took thousands in fees for artists' booth rentals in a tent at fiesta.
"This is very unlike her, I've never seen her do anybody wrong," said Bambi Cordova, Dorn's former partner with Artists of New Mexico.
Cordova told KRQE News 13, she and Dorn opened the Artists of New Mexico Galleria in Albuquerque's Old Town, but said they had to close in April because they couldn't afford to keep it open.
Within the last few weeks, vendors have contacted Cordova and Balloon Fiesta saying they can't reach Dorn.
Cordova told News 13 she's heard from Dorn once about three weeks ago. "I don't know if this is true or not, but she told me that she had fallen down a cliff and broken her leg severely and that she had surgery and was now in a wheelchair," said Cordova.
The next day, Cordova said she noticed a post on Artists of New Mexico website, stating "we regret to announce the Artists of New Mexico Balloon Fiesta tent is canceled for 2013."
Cordova said Dorn is in Hawaii, where she's lived for the past few years, and has no idea why she won't return messages. "I called her, messaged her, I tried calling family members that I know, I haven't received a response," said Cordova.
One of the places News 13 looked for Dorn was LaJunta Galleria in Bernalillo, which Cordova said was a local address Dorn used to take payments for Artists of New Mexico, and has nothing to do with Dorn's business.
Cordova said she's just as puzzled as others, and never saw this coming. "Everybody saw me as the face here in New Mexico that helped Amalie, so from the bottom of my heart I'm sorry for the way that things are being handled, but I'm trying to figure it out," said Cordova.
"For the ones that paid Amalie directly I have no idea who paid what, I have no record, I'm not sure what to do," explained Cordova.
Cordova told News 13 she's working to repay those vendors that she accepted payments from for the fiesta, out of her own pocket. But as for the others who paid in cash or credit card, Cordova said she's not sure how to get their money back.
Balloon Fiesta has taken over the arts and crafts tent for this year. Artisans and crafters can call Jennifer Garcia at the Albuquerque International Balloon Fiesta at (505) 821-1000 to see if space is available.
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