Lawsuit filed over unpaid $40,000 hole-in-one award

Nick Rees Jan. 15, 2009, 1:19pm

Richard Blumenthal (D)

HARTFORD, Conn. (Legal Newsline) -- A $40,000 unpaid hole-in-one prize from a charity golf tournament in Connecticut sponsored by the Marine Corps League's Lock City Department has lead to a lawsuit against the insurer of the event and its owner.

Hole-In-Won, LLC and Hole-In-Won Worldwide, both of Hoboken, N.J., and owner Kevin Kolenda of Norwalk are alleged to have knowingly broken state law by failing to pay the prize, operated without a state insurance license and defied a 2001 cease-and-desist order.

State Attorney General Richard Blumenthal filed the lawsuit on behalf of Insurance Commissioner Thomas Sullivan and Department of Consumer Protection Commissioner Jerry Farrell Jr.

"The Marine Corps League's mission and money was to aid wounded troops -- who deserve this fight to keep the faith," Blumenthal, a member of the Marine Corps League and an honorary member of the Lock City Detachment, said. "If Hole-In-Won's illegality is allowed to stand, the losers will be wounded warriors -- whom the Marine Corps League sought to benefit through its golf tournament. We seek full restitution -- $40,000 owed the Marine Corps League's Lock City Detachment -- so this profoundly worthwhile cause won't suffer."

"Hole-In-Won made the worst possible choice in victims by scamming the Marines. This company betrayed its promise and dropped the ball when a hole in one happened. The company is an alleged chronic lawbreaker," Blumenthal added.

Kolenda and Hole-In-Won are alleged to have agreed to pay any golfer who made a hole-in-one on the 15th hole during the Lock City Detachment's charity golf tournament $40,000. One golfer made a hole-in-one during the event, which was then to have paid the golfer $20,000 and the Lock City Detachment $20,000. Hole-In-Won never paid or responded to the league's claim.

The Insurance Commission had previously filed a cease-and-desist order against Kolenda and Hole-In-Won in September 2001 requiring them to stop doing business in the state. Kolenda and Hole-In-Won are alleged to have defied the order and continued to operate in the state, repeatedly failing to pay other hole-in-one prizes.

Blumenthal is seeking an order to require Hole-In-Won to obey state law, a contempt finding for the Hole-In-Won's violation of the cease-and-desist order, fines for contempt, civil penalties and restitution.

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