• People afraid Great Chocolate Race organizers are running off with their money

    By: Jason Stoogenke

    Updated:

    CHARLOTTE, N.C. - People who signed up for a street race in Charlotte and paid money said they haven't heard anything since and the event is supposed to be held on Saturday.

    Now, the people are afraid the organizers of the Great Chocolate Race are running off with their money.

    The race was supposed to be at Romare Bearden Park in uptown, but Action 9 investigator Jason Stoogenke found the organizers never got a permit.

    Charlotte Department of Transportation officials, who issue event permits, told Stoogenke the organizers applied for a permit but canceled their request before the permit was issued.

    Connie Babore and DeAnna Ramsey ran in the race last year. They signed up early this year and paid $27.50.

    Just hours away from the race, they said they haven’t gotten race packets or any communication from the organizers.

    "At that point, I knew we were done," Babore said.

    The event's website is down. Emails have bounced back and phone calls have gone to a mailbox that is full.

     "I never in my life would have expected that it wouldn't be legit," Babore said.

    Stoogenke looked into the organizers, who are with Crucible Racing, based in Virginia.

    He found news reports and complaints saying the same thing happened in other cities, including Long Beach, San Diego and Arlington, Virginia.

    Some of those people said they were still waiting for refunds.

    "Angry,” Ramsey said.  "But it's unacceptable."

    The Better Business Bureau said it received 20 complaints about the business, tried to contact Crucible Racing twice since Christmas and still hasn't heard back.

    Stoogenke said that, if you paid with a credit card, you can contact your credit card company right away to dispute the charge.

    And, next time, if you have any doubts about any event, let Stoogenke know.  He will see if the organizers got a permit.

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