Did anyone ever get a refund from ASCN last year?

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Did anyone ever get a refund from ASCN last year?

Post by Matt Weiner »

It was mentioned during the debacle surrounding the collapse of the ASCN tournament that many teams (at least five) sent in their registration fees and never got anything back after the tournament was cancelled. Some people used the organization's contact info to try to make inquiries, but received no response.

I have found what I believe to be Gary Lipshutz's home address and phone number and I want to know who has a legal interest in pursuing the matter so that I can contact them.
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Post by DumbJaques »

MCGRUFF THE CRIME DOG IS AT IT AGAIN!

Seriously, they still have the money? Forget legal action, just force him to read that sectionals thread about how knowing science != science over and over again until he begs to pay the teams back.
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Post by Mike Bentley »

DumbJaques wrote:MCGRUFF THE CRIME DOG IS AT IT AGAIN!
McGruff was handing out flyers at the Faragut North metro stop this morning. Seriously.
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Post by First Chairman »

As long as it's not his nephew Scruff. Annoying like Scrappy Doo.
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Re: Did anyone ever get a refund from ASCN last year?

Post by STPickrell »

Matt Weiner wrote:It was mentioned during the debacle surrounding the collapse of the ASCN tournament that many teams (at least five) sent in their registration fees and never got anything back after the tournament was cancelled. Some people used the organization's contact info to try to make inquiries, but received no response.

I have found what I believe to be Gary Lipshutz's home address and phone number and I want to know who has a legal interest in pursuing the matter so that I can contact them.
Do you have a list of teams that attended 2006 ASCN? I suspect most of the field does not read this board.

Some of these teams may well be pursuing action on their own, and to this untrained eye, wouldn't we have a class actionable item here (multiple victims)?
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Post by Sen. Estes Kefauver (D-TN) »

McGruff, we had to do stuff with him in elementary school.

Take a bite out of crime!
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Post by dschneid »

Hello,

After reading your post, I was excited to finally find someone in the same boat as us regarding the ASCN scandal last year.

Gary Lipshutz has thousands of dollars from our team and he has been unwilling to even communicate with me. All of my other resources have been unable to get any information from him either. And this is the first I've heard of any other schools involved.

Any information you can give us regarding Gary Lipshutz would be greatly appreciated. In addition, I'd be happy to assist you in pursuing this legally. Our school district's lawyers have been uncooperative, as they say it would cost us more to pursue it. However, if we could get more schools involved...

Thanks,
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Post by brownboy79 »

We never signed up for ASCN or anything, but taking people's money like that is wrong. Just wrong. I'm all for discarding any mitigating factors and voting for immediate castration.
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Post by First Chairman »

Where are those pro bono law student quiz-bowl players?
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Post by jbarnes112358 »

E.T. Chuck wrote:Where are those pro bono law student quiz-bowl players?
Small Claims Court? No Lawyer needed.
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Post by First Chairman »

Of course, the school system is a plaintiff, so their lawyers would make the call to take it to small claims.
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Post by quizbowllee »

dschneid wrote:
Our school district's lawyers have been uncooperative, as they say it would cost us more to pursue it. However, if we could get more schools involved...
Go ahead and let me know exactly what schools are in your district so I can try to rip them off for a few grand. :wink:
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Post by AKKOLADE »

Please sue their faces off.

My legal opinion? Taking someone's money in exchange for a service, then not providing that service, then not giving the money back is illegal.
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Post by STPickrell »

leftsaidfred wrote:Please sue their faces off.

My legal opinion? Taking someone's money in exchange for a service, then not providing that service, then not giving the money back is illegal.
IANAL

(1) If there was something in the tournament paperwork that said in so many words, "We reserve the right to cancel the tournament and not provide a refund," we are all out of luck, probably.
(2) Minden HS (the one that never got notified) may be able to sue in small claims court for airfare, etc., depending on the phrasing of the tournament paperwork, as would other schools. OTOH, good luck collecting on an out of state defendant that isn't terribly responsive; I'm not sure where in the line a small claims judgment would be if ASCN went belly up, was out of business, etc.
(3) We'd need to research under what legal personage ASCN did business so we sue the right people.
(4) Multiplying $1,500 or so by 20 teams gives us $30,000, and we're talking felonious levels of fraud here, correct?
(5) Interstate transfers of $$$ would fall under FBI jurisdiction, IIRC.
(6) We can also threaten to release stories to the media. Hmm, robbing a couple dozen small, mostly rural schools who just want to compete on the national level?

But yes, this is the sort of case that a QB real lawyer type could use as their "pro bono" work.

Also please let me know if any VHSL schools come forward.
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Post by First Chairman »

What do the school accountants who look over your budget think?
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Post by AKKOLADE »

StPickrell wrote:(1) If there was something in the tournament paperwork that said in so many words, "We reserve the right to cancel the tournament and not provide a refund," we are all out of luck, probably.
I am also not a lawyer, but the idea that there is a clause in a contract doesn't make it legal. If I remember anything from playing the People's Court board game, it's that giving someone money means you have to get something!
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Post by colonial »

Does anyone have a list of all the teams that were scheduled to compete in the 2006 ASCN? It may not hurt to cold call or e-mail a team or school official and ask if they are owed money from the cancelled tournament. As mentioned previously, several teams do not subscribe to or read this and similar message boards, so a phone call or e-mail would be worth the risk.

As a "fourth estater," I would recommend contacting the local media now, and provide their news director and/or reporters with the allegations and documented evidence, as well as contacts. By "local media," I would first target the market where Mr. Lipshutz presides so reporters there can hound him.

Just my .02 euro.

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Post by jrbarry »

Steps have been taken by a coach against Mr. Lipshutz who, unbeknownst to all of us, has a history of ripping folks off in travel agent plans/trips.
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Post by Sen. Estes Kefauver (D-TN) »

Wow, and my coach seemed to suggest he was a nice guy. Although good for whoever's getting on his case, he deserves it after ripping everyone off last year.
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Post by Jeremy Gibbs Paradox »

StPickrell wrote:
leftsaidfred wrote:Please sue their faces off.

My legal opinion? Taking someone's money in exchange for a service, then not providing that service, then not giving the money back is illegal.
IANAL

(1) If there was something in the tournament paperwork that said in so many words, "We reserve the right to cancel the tournament and not provide a refund," we are all out of luck, probably.
(2) Minden HS (the one that never got notified) may be able to sue in small claims court for airfare, etc., depending on the phrasing of the tournament paperwork, as would other schools. OTOH, good luck collecting on an out of state defendant that isn't terribly responsive; I'm not sure where in the line a small claims judgment would be if ASCN went belly up, was out of business, etc.
(3) We'd need to research under what legal personage ASCN did business so we sue the right people.
(4) Multiplying $1,500 or so by 20 teams gives us $30,000, and we're talking felonious levels of fraud here, correct?
(5) Interstate transfers of $$$ would fall under FBI jurisdiction, IIRC.
(6) We can also threaten to release stories to the media. Hmm, robbing a couple dozen small, mostly rural schools who just want to compete on the national level?

But yes, this is the sort of case that a QB real lawyer type could use as their "pro bono" work.

Also please let me know if any VHSL schools come forward.
The problems I see with this situation are: 1) the amount of money in controversy and 2) the fact that if ASCN went belly-up, it's probably judgment-proof as a debtor. The fact of the matter is most of the actions the SCHOOLS can bring would be state actions, which are only actionable in a federal court if the amount in controversy exceeds $75,000. Otherwise, you'd have to pursue an action in whatever state ASCN or this guy is based in which is costly due to travel, lodging, etc. And even if you got a judgment, how are you going to get anything out of it? You can't get juice from a beet, especially a dead beat.
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Post by dschneid »

We (Linden, MI coaches) have gone to the state (Sioux City, IA) where the crime occurred to file a report. The district didn't want to pursue legal action because of the reasons you cite; however, this is not an acceptable excuse to drop the issue and cut losses.

We understand that we'll probaby never see the money. But the problem is that if no schools decide to take such action, Mr. Lipshutz runs off with tens of thousands of dollars without having to answer to anyone. This is what happened in a previous scam that he committed in 2005; no one pressed charges so he got away with it. If someone would have, we would not be in our current situation. If we let that happen again, it may happen all over again.

I will be happy to make the thirteen hour trek there again to prosecute him for a felony. I dearly wish other schools would follow suit because, as I state above, it is a moral issue that goes beyond monetary wishes.

The police are currently investigating the incident and have given us some positive feedback that they can at least accomplish something. Feel free to contact me if you are a school that has been victimized and I will give you the information you need to contact the proper authories.
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Post by Byko »

dschneid wrote:This is what happened in a previous scam that he committed in 2005; no one pressed charges so he got away with it.
Whoa. Now we're really getting serious. Any details on this that you can share (within the realm of the law, of course) would be greatly appreciated.

The sad thing is that actions like this by ASCN are a blight on every single legitimate, quality quiz bowl company in existence, plus they put the entire activity of quiz bowl in a bad light.
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Post by AKKOLADE »

Mr. Schneider, would you happen to have a list of teams signed up for the ASCN tournament in question?

Also, more details is requested on the second "scam."
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Post by First Chairman »

Byko wrote:
dschneid wrote:This is what happened in a previous scam that he committed in 2005; no one pressed charges so he got away with it.
Whoa. Now we're really getting serious. Any details on this that you can share (within the realm of the law, of course) would be greatly appreciated.
I also want to make it clear, if you can provide specific details, it would give us a better idea of what happened. I do not want implicit accusations or explicit accusations without basis be posted on the internet, lest our boards we subject to lawsuits involving slander. (Though there's not much one can do about that in an internet forum.)
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Post by dschneid »

I will be happy to share the information given to me by two Sioux City police officers regarding his past record.

In 2005, several people filed a police report because they never received a refund for a trip organized by Mr. Lipshutz. The trip was to Chicago (as was the ASCN tournament) to see a Cubs game and an overnight stay in the city. People paid him ahead of time and, like ASCN, he canceled the trip and promised a refund was never granted--that is, until the police stepped in. They brought him in and threatened jail time unless he could provide full refunds by a certain date. Lipshutz "scrambled" and refunded the money with "ten minutes to spare."

The police then told me they were disappointed because none of the victims wanted to go on and press any civil or criminal charges once they got their money back.

I have the names of some coaches that were also scammed, but I do not have a full list of schools involved. The problem is that such a list was never released by tournament organizers, so it is only a year later that I am coming in contact with some of these disgruntled organizations. I will not release their names unless they give me permission to do so. However, one such school's story is available on the internet; I encourage you all to read it: http://www.answers.com/ASCN

Again, if you were a victimized school and have not yet contacted me, please send me an email and I can give you further details and the authorities to contact.
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Post by Stained Diviner »

Mr. Schneider--
If you are already thinking of going back to Iowa on your own dime to deal with this issue, you should let people know how to donate money to your cause. You won't get a lot of money from us and people like us, but something is better than nothing.

IANAL, but you wouldn't need to set up a fund if you said you were going to Iowa, some $10 checks would help you get there, and the people writing those checks should not consider them tax-deductible.
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Post by dschneid »

Thank you for the generous advice. I will keep it in mind if I need to make another trip; however, I wouldn't want to ask for donations unless I was 100% sure they needed me to return.

In any event, I will post back to the board when I hear back from Sioux City.
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