The first, and so far only, debate for Everett’s mayoral candidates fell apart Saturday, with a series of miscommunications leaving everyone discontented, and the city’s voters still without a way to directly compare the candidates.

Contenders were set to debate in front of an audience at the city’s Skyplex Venue on Aug. 7, hosted by the Everett Haitian Community Center and broadcast on multiple radio stations, WhatsApp and RokuTV. But in the end, two candidates stood outside locked doors Saturday night talking to community members in clusters, with no stage and no debate.

Invitations had been sent out July 26 via email, and City Councilors Gerly Adrien and Fred Capone RSVPed early, but incumbent Mayor Carlo DeMaria announced Friday that he couldn’t attend. Everyone, including the host organization, had a story about why the debate didn’t move forward in the end.

Rev. Myrlande DesRosiers, director of EHCC, said Capone and Adrien had confirmed, and DeMaria said he wasn’t attending the day before the event in a Facebook post.

“We were still going to do it because we had positive answers from Capone and Adrien,” she said, but then Capone’s campaign, “last minute, very late in the process, told us they would not participate because the venue is not handicap accessible.”

Because the debate couldn’t be “unilateral,” she said it had to be cancelled.

“I think it was just a simple misunderstanding,” said Capone. He said he inquired several times before Saturday if the group would consider holding the debate elsewhere, even at a park, because of his accessibility concerns, and never heard back. The venue, he said, was up multiple flights of stairs.

“The cancellation said only one candidate was interested in debating, and I responded immediately saying, ‘I’m going, I know another candidate is going. Please reconsider,’” he said in a phone interview. He asked if they would consider postponing the mayoral portion of the debate — as candidates for the School Committee were also going to debate — if a better location couldn’t be found. “I think it was misunderstood that I said I wasn’t going.”

Right after the cancellation, he headed to the venue, and found the doors locked.

“I think it would have been more beneficial for everyone if all three candidates were there, but clearly I would have debated. I don’t know that the value of two challengers debating each other about an incumbent — but I showed up,” he said.

Adrien showed up, too. “I had four debate prep sessions prior to the debate, so we were ready,” she said. “I think it was disappointing that our mayor, the day before the debate, realized he had a conflict, when we’ve known about it — it was in the local newspapers that same week.”

DeMaria’s campaign did not make him available for an interview but instead sent the same statement from his campaign Facebook page through campaign director Philip Melki.

“The debate proposed for Saturday evening directly conflicts with another obligation that my team and I have already committed to and therefore will not be able to attend,” it said. “As I have communicated to the host organization, I look forward to the opportunity to engage with those Everett residents who planned to attend or view the forum in the near future at a time that works for all.”

His campaign didn’t note what other event he had to attend before deadline, nor did it mention why he took 11 days to bow out of the debate.

The race for Everett mayor has been particularly contentious between Adrien and DeMaria. In January, the mayor accused the councilwoman of behaving rudely during a City Council meeting, including raising her voice and pointing her finger at other members. Adrien told Boston Public Radio that she feels the weight of being deemed an “aggressive Black woman” by other councilors and the mayor when she expresses an opinion. Video of the meeting reviewed by GBH News did not show Adrien pointing her finger or raising her voice.

The Haitian nonprofit said it will attempt to reschedule the debate.

EHCC director DesRosiers stressed that she has “positive relationships” with all of the candidates. She added that the organization decided to host the debate when it discovered only a few forums would be held, but no actual interactive debate, calling it a “critical election at a critical time.”

Haitians, DesRosiers said, are the largest ethnic voting bloc in the city. “The point of the debate was to see who among the candidates could lead Everett to a better tomorrow, something better than what it has been,” she said.

All of the candidates expressed interest in attending if the debate is rescheduled. As of press time, one candidate forum is planned for August 31, but no debates before the Sept. 21 election.