Grand Prix of Boston out of money, ticket holders still not refunded

The IndyCar name continues to get tarnished from the failed Boston GP
The IndyCar name continues to get tarnished from the failed Boston GP. Race organizers are bankrupt and ticketholders can kiss that money goodbye

Ticket holders to the now-cancelled Grand Prix of Boston race have been promised a full refund, but many are still waiting, and the attorney for the race organizers tells 5 Investigates the organization is out of money.

The attorney for Grand Prix of Boston told 5 Investigates' Karen Anderson they have returned more than $400,000 to ticket holders, but that is not enough.

"The amount of money that the company had at the time the race was cancelled was not sufficient to refund all tickets," said Attorney Michael Goldberg.

When asked how much is still owed, he described it as being "not a small amount."

At one point, organizers said 22,000 tickets had been sold. That could have been revenue of as much as $2 million.

Ticket holders like Carmen Picillo, who bought two tickets for the Labor Day Weekend race, are outraged.

"I feel like someone just stole $217 from me. Out of my pocket," Picillo said.

5 Investigates obtained an email that the city of Boston sent organizers in October asking that they refrain from ticket sales until all hurdles were cleared with property owners along the track.

But tickets still went on sale a few months later.

Attorney Goldberg told 5 Investigates they're trying to recoup a fee paid to the national Indy Car organization. A spokesperson wouldn't say how large the fee was or whether it would return money to pay ticket holders, but did say it was of "paramount importance" that fans receive ticket refunds.

The national group filed a sealed lawsuit two weeks ago against the former CEOs of Boston Indy Car. The lawsuit is for damages and breach of contract.

Former Grand Prix of Boston CEO Mark Perrone had no comment when we tried to speak with him at his home today. His past financial problems came to light when he tried organizing the race, including a federal court conviction in 1999 for failing to file federal taxes. He resigned from the CEO job in December and left the Boston organization completely Feb. 1.

His attorney, Jim Henderson, said Perrone has no comment on the ticket refunds because Perrone left before the tickets were sold.
In response to the lawsuit, he said, "Mr. Perrone doesn't have a quarrel with Indy Car."

Perrone’s successor as CEO, John Casey, told 5 Investigates, "everyone will get their money back." He said he is working on another type of race for Boston that he claims will help pay the refunds.

Ticket holders like Carmen Picollo said their money never should have been spent in the first place.

"I would just like the people of Boston who purchased tickets to get their refund back like the Indy Car said they would refund their customers," he said.

We reached out to the state Attorney General's Office, which said it is aware of the problem and looking forward to a resolution for the refunds. WCVB TV

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