Malibu Marathon entrants wait for refunds

0
238

Meanwhile, local Tony Griffin is working on a Malibu marathon proposal.

By Jonathan Friedman/Assistant Editor

More than eight months after the event was canceled, a number of people have still not received refunds for the Malibu Marathon. And one man even had to threaten legal action in order to get his money back.

The Malibu Marathon was supposed to take place last December but, after a series of setbacks, organizer Glen Steele decided to cancel the event in October. He then offered three options to those who had registered for the event—receive an immediate refund, transfer the payment to another marathon, which took place in Orange County, or wait until a new date is scheduled.

Venice resident Warren Wagner said he and his two cousins had immediately asked for refunds on the $90 entry fees, but did not receive them. His numerous attempts to contact Steele were unsuccessful.

Wagner contacted the Bureau of Fraud and Corruption Prosecutions Consumer Protection Division at the Los Angeles District Attorney’s Office in April. The bureau then forwarded a form filled out by Wagner to Steele. Wagner said he and his cousins then received their refunds.

“I would have never gotten my money if I had not contacted the district attorney’s office,” Wagner said. “I know this because he [Steele] never responded to any of my e-mails or phone calls.”

The Malibu Times obtained two phone numbers for Steele. One had been disconnected. Several messages were left at the other number, but not returned.

When Steele collected money for the marathon, he worked with Active.com, an organization that serves as a bank, holding money for marathons, triathlons and other similar events. According to a representative at the Web site, after the marathon was canceled, the money was returned to Steele. It was then up to him to refund those who had registered for the event.

“We get about one call every other day from people asking for refunds from the event,” said Petra Howe, who works in the customer service department at Active.com. “It seems like he’s real hard to get a hold of.”

Malibu resident Sarajoy Borsari said she has not received a refund for the Malibu Marathon. She realized recently that Steele was the same person who had an outstanding $700 bill for a Malibu business for which she works.

“I took it more personally because I was being understanding about him not being able to make payments,” Borsari said.

Borsari, a single mother who says she works 60 hours a week, has left the struggle to get the refund with her friend, Santa Monica resident Kendall Seyer. Seyer said she has left a large number of e-mail and phone messages for Steele, but he has rarely responded to them. When he does, he tells her the money will be coming soon. But it never has, Seyer said.

“This is beyond frustrating,” Seyer said. “Ninety dollars is a lot of money to me. I’ve thought about small claims court, but I wanted to try to do everything else before that.”

Meanwhile, Tony Griffin, son of media mogul Merv Griffin, has tried to develop a Malibu Marathon of his own. Griffin had originally worked on creating a marathon with Steele, but the two parted ways for disputed reasons. Griffin said in an interview this week that he met with city staff and Councilmembers Pamela Conley Ulich and Jeff Jennings earlier this year about a marathon concept that would generate money for charity and the city.

He said he would be turning in his proposal to the city this week.