Light Up Left is a charitable organization that raises money for pediatric cancer research. It was founded by Jenny Dinelli, a suburban schoolteacher who lost one of her students to the disease.
The group raises money in part through annual outings to Cubs games.
But when this year’s event was cancelled due to COVID, that’s when Dinelli’s troubles began.
“We were supposed to get a refund within thirty days of the game date,” she said.
But more than two months later, group members are still waiting.
Dinelli said the Cubs told her Light Up Left supporters should buy tickets through an online platform called Groupmatics.
Using the system meant Dinelli didn’t have to collect cash or hand out tickets to the July 21 game versus the White Sox.
It also helped streamline her fundraising process.
“There was $10 built into every ticket price that was going to go for our donation, our fundraiser, which was for childhood cancer research,” she said.
In all, Light Up Left supporters bought more than 100 tickets through Groupmatics at a total cost of more than $11,000, Dinelli said.
The company though, has not returned the ticket money or the cash collected for the donation.
Matt Mastrangelo, CEO of Cleveland-based Groupmatics, declined an interview request. In an email, he said the pandemic has had a severe financial impact on his business.
According to media reports, Groupmatics has had partnerships with numerous professional sports teams including those in the MLB and NBA, neither of which allowed fans during the pandemic.
“Unfortunately, we are now in a position where our debts far exceed our limited liquid assets and, as such, we have halted all payments and refunds to all of our creditors for the foreseeable future,” Mastrangelo said in his email.
Dinelli said the Cubs initially gave her two options: Wait for Groupmatics’ financial situation to improve or dispute the charge with her credit card.
But after WGN Investigates reached out, the team took a different tact.
“It’s certainly not the fans’ fault,” a Cubs spokesman said and added the team will refund the cash in the event Groupmatics is unable to do so.
He could not, however, provide a timetable for when that could occur.