Several business owners have raised concerns over the proposed Festival of Foam and Light planned for Bulli Showgrounds on October 7.
The event date has changed twice, a development application to Wollongong City Council is yet to be signed off after four months, while no deposit has been made to the venue or suppliers.
Early this year Tia Veech of The Oil Hut was cold-called by Jagat Deniau asking her to trade at the then proposed April event. Mrs Veech paid her stall fee on March 8 but only discovered a date change when she read a story in the Illawarra Mercury.
She has requested a refund though it is yet to be honoured.
"We're all small home business people who work hard for our money," Mrs Veech said. "It's really disappointing that people do this."
A Mudgee food producer (who asked not to be named) also paid for the initial April event. He too has asked for a refund on numerous occasions but claims the organiser "will not return calls or emails".
Sonja Moore of Moore Than Candles was approached by a Riya Deniau just last week, also soliciting for her to trade at the Bulli festival. Mrs Moore said after doing some "digging" and discovering a trail of failed events she asked for a refund - which is also yet to be honoured.
All three were given different pricing schedules to hold stalls, and all charged different rates.
Some were also promised the festival would have '10,000 attendees'.
Every time we tried to contact her we couldn't get the same name. It just got worse and worse as it went on.Cairns Show President Ian Allen
Meantime, nearly three years on and gourmet food producer Emma McCoach is still waiting for a refund from Ms Deniau over two "failed" markets held in Victoria in 2016.
Ms McCoach and a group of disgruntled businesses had tried to take legal action but eventually gave up, believing their money would never be returned.
"The last two years I've been getting messages from other people who have had shady dealings with her," she said. "I can't believe this is still happening."
Ms Deniau - a Cairns resident who goes by aliases Jagat Deniau, Riya Dewanji and Liril Dewanji - admitted to the Mercury her events had failed in the past but wanted to assure people the Bulli festival would go ahead.
"The last couple of years have been very hard on personal grounds ... because of which, seven events - especially the one in Cairns - didn't go ahead," she said. "As far as this particular event is concerned I am putting my 100 per cent into it."
She also claimed to have submitted all required documents to Wollongong Council for her DA, while her aliases were due to a "previous marriage", a "maiden name" and being forced to change her name "because of bullying".
At the time of publication, a council spokeswoman said the DA was still pending as they had requested further information from the applicant on three separate occasions (the last being on July 29).
The extra information was relating to environment management, waste management, noise/amenity considerations and event management details, she said.
The spokeswoman said DA approvals vary but usually occur "within six to eight weeks" of being submitted.
Operations manager of the Bulli Showgrounds Darren Hull said he has fielded many concerned phone calls about the festival.
Mr Hull confirmed he has been telling vendors not to pay the organiser money until the DA was approved, as it's their policy not to book an event without council consent.
Ms Deniau is also yet to pay any deposit to her main supplier, Pro Sound and Lighting.
Some stallholders have been told in writing there are "4000 subscribers for early-bird tickets" on the Festival of Foam and Light website and were also advised in writing that a marketing campaign had begun in May - with advertising on social media, radio, flyers and posters.
No advertising or promotional material can be found, other than one URL with the event name.
In April 2018, Ms Deniau had planned a Big Colour Festival at Cairns Showgrounds, which was forced to be cancelled.
"I had to step in and say 'lets can it' because she used that many different names and every time we tried to contact her we couldn't get the same name," President of the Cairns Show Society Ian Allen said.
"It just got worse and worse as it went on ... we couldn't take that risk and run an event when it was badly organised."
The Mercury understands NSW Fair Trading has also received complaints against the operator.
"Fair Trading's advice to customers who are dissatisfied in their dealings with Jagat Anusree Deniau, Riya Deniau, Liril Dewanji or their associated aliases is to contact the trader and try to resolve the matter in the first instance," a spokesman said.
"Where customers have paid by credit or debit card, they should contact their credit provider and make enquiries about applying for a credit card chargeback."