SCHAUMBURG, Ill. — After a benefit concert for veterans featuring Toby Keith was cancelled, a suburban charity said it's out hundreds of thousands of dollars after the promoter that took the money is nowhere to be found.
It was supposed to be a big night of country music at the Boomers Stadium.
The Freedom and Dignity Festival included a lineup with Clay Walker and Toby Keith. Proceeds from the concert were to benefit a Wheaton foundation supporting our veterans.
"The day they went on sale, I was at my computer and bought my tickets," Sean Kelly, ticket holder, said. "I bought 3 VIP tickets for $450. We had a group of friends who were going to go. We were super excited."
However, earlier this week, Sean Kelly and all ticket holders found out the concert was cancelled.
"There's a lot of people out there who bought tickets to come to the show and they would like to know that too 'where's the money where's my refund?' I don't know," Dan Gibbons, President of Turkey Trot Foundation and Café Liberty, said.
Back in January, Dan Gibbons was approached by Imagn Media & Events, a promoter out of Winfield, Illinois, about putting on the show.
"We trusted them, veterans helping veterans working with veterans," Gibbons said.
Gibbons, who runs the Turkey Trot Foundation and Café Liberty, a program that provides culinary training for vets, agreed to lend his group's name and brand.
Imagn said they would be in charge of ticket sales and all other financial obligations, but required a $250,000 loan to secure the talent.
Gibbons said he wired that money to an entertainment group in Nashville on March 1st, money that Imagn was supposed to pay him back five months later.
Come August 1st, Gibbons said Imagn defaulted on that loan and a few days later, asked Gibbons for $400,000 more in order to move forward with the event. Gibbons said no way and cancelled.
"We're heartbroken, especially for the people we were going to help," Gibbons said.
Ticket holders said they got no email from Imagn about the cancellation. They, along with Toby Keith, said they found out on social media.
Imagn's office in Winfield now says it's permanently closed. Its website, Facebook and Twitter pages were all taken down.
According to Gibbons. as of August 7, ticket sales through EventSprout had exceeded $287,000, which is now unaccounted for. He said his organization is out $340,000.
Note: Headline updated on Oct. 15, 2019