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Charity Ally Says It Was Bamboozled

NEW HAVEN (CN) - Charity Buzz, which helps charities run online auctions, claims Memorabilia Magic defrauded it of more than $109,000 by selling it tickets and event packages that were "completely bogus" - including $89,500 in bogus tickets to President Obama's inaugural balls. It claims Memorabilia Magic and its corporate parent JWO Entertainment cost it another $164,000 in customer refunds, $19,620 in service fees, $14,500 in useless ads, and $500,000 in damage to its reputation.

Charity Buzz says it auctioned off JWO's phony inaugural ball tickets to benefit cancer research, a private school and the Robert F. Kennedy Charity. "CB even arranged for Mrs. Robert F. Kennedy to call Osterweil to thank him personally for arranging for the sale of the presidential inauguration packages because it raised so much money for her husband's charity," the complaint states.

Charity Buzz demands more than $800,000 in damages for "deliberate breach of contract and unconscionable fraud."

It claims, "JWO sold tickets and event packages to CB for auction on CB's Web site for the benefit of its charitable organization clients. JWO charged and received payment from CB totaling $109,000 for these packages, which ultimately were revealed to be completely bogus and entirely misrepresented."

Charity Buzz is based in Westport, Ct., JWO in Tampa, Fla.

Charity Buzz claims JWO president John Osterweil "represented that he had unique access to entertainment and political events and could sell to CB rare VIP packages that CB could then resell, at a higher price, for its charity auctions. ... Despite JWO's unqualified representations of quality, JWO and Osterweil routinely failed to deliver what JWO had committed to provide to CB. While CB frequently inquired as to how Osterweil was able to obtain his packages, Osterweil repeatedly refused to explain how he secured his experiences and preyed upon CB's honest business practices by stating only, 'Trust me.'"

Charity Buzz says it auctioned off the four phony inauguration packages for a total of $269,000, and that "nearly every event and opportunity on the description by JWO was a complete and total exaggeration, misrepresentation and fraud."

Other alleged frauds described in the complaint include tickets and a "package" involving the Oprah Winfrey Show - to benefit figure skating in Harlem - and a package involving soccer star David Beckham and the premier of the movie "The Dark Knight."

Charity Buzz is represented by David Wallman of Stamford.

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