Bankruptcy costs sports leagues thousands of dollars

February 3, 2009

By Staff

Issaquah Youth Lacrosse and Sammamish Little League are among those sports leagues who are out thousands of dollars collected by Count Me In, a business that handled registration fees for leagues. 

In a mass e-mail Jan. 28, the Count Me In Corp. told its customers not to count on them anymore, because they have been forced into bankruptcy. “A trustee will be appointed tomorrow to liquidate the assets of Count Me In Corporation. It is now out of our hands,” company officials said in an e-mail to their customers.

Count Me In made local and national headlines for its involvement in a U.S. District Court lawsuit when a New Jersey-based soccer league sued the company for $142,000 in registration payments Nov. 10. 

The company provided a Web site where people could register for sports leagues. Count Me In charged a processing fee of about $3 per registration. In 15-day increments, it paid leagues, like Issaquah Youth Lacrosse and the Sammamish Little League, the rest of the money.

Count Me In owed local sports leagues thousands of dollars. The company owes about $5 million to more than 200 sports leagues, according to news reports. 

After hearing that other leagues weren’t receiving their semi-monthly payments, Issaquah Youth Lacrosse officials contacted the company, and learned they had lost about $65,000. The Sammamish Little League reported a loss of $27,000.

In the e-mail to customers, company officials explained that three customers petitioned to force Count Me In into involuntary bankruptcy. 

Matthew Balkman, co-president of Issaquah Youth Lacrosse, said he wasn’t surprised to hear about the bankruptcy. While the news was unfortunate, his customers had been successful in recouping most of their registration fees, he said. 

Local coaches have advised all of their customers to dispute credit card charges made as a result of Count Me In registrations. 

“Fortunately, they did not fight us too bad on having all our members reverse all their charges on their cards,” Balkman said. 

While most coaches aren’t sure exactly how successful those credit card disputes will be, early signs indicate that leagues might actually earn back most of the lost money. 

Jim Dimlow, president of Sammamish Little League, said his customers were able to recoup about $11,000 of the $27,000. 

“We’re looking better than we were,” he said.

Little league registrations have closed for the spring 2009 season and coaches won’t need an online registration Web site until fall, Dimlow said. In the meantime, he and other coaches are back to counting checks by hand.

Reach Reporter J.B. Wogan at 392-6434, ext. 247, or jbwogan@isspress.com. Reach Reporter Christopher Huber at ext. 242, or chuber@isspress.com. Comment on this story at www.issaquahpress.com.

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