News 3 Investigates

Hope for balloon company customers deflated

MADISON, Wis. - Hundreds of Wisconsin residents will not receive any compensation for their unused tickets to the Great American Balloon Company.

Creditors to the Illinois-based business are officially being informed by the trustee who oversaw the balloon company's liquidation that there is no money to reimburse them for their costs of buying tickets they were never allowed to use. Tickets for the hot air balloon routinely sold for $175-$225. Some consumers paid upwards of $1,000 for multiple tickets through the company more than two years ago and never had the chance to redeem their purchase.

In September, Alex Moglia oversaw the sale of the company's six hot air balloons and related equipment which raised $30,000 at an auction. That was far less than the $350,000 of unused tickets sold by the company in the last three years. At the time, Moglia said he did not envision there would be enough raised to provide any refund to consumers. His letter to consumers confirms that fear.

"Unfortunately, due to the costs for administering the case which includes, but is not limited to, rent, maintenance and repairs, transportation, marketing and advertisements, professionals' fees and out-of-pocket expenses and other miscellaneous costs, there will be no net funds to distribute to creditors," wrote Moglia to residents holding tickets in Wisconsin, Illinois and Florida. "Should anything change we will be certain to contact you."

Moglia also informed consumers that he was sending the same information to the Consumer Fraud Bureau of the Illinois Attorney General's office. The Great American Balloon Company, which served as the parent company for Sunbird Balloons, LLC, Token Creek Hot Air Balloon Company, LLC, Windy City Balloon Port, LLC, Sky Rides, LLC and Cloud 9 Balloon Port, LLC, was based in suburban Chicago.

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