I-Team: Travel agent dashes Girl Scouts' dreams of Disney

I-Team: Travel agent dashes Girl Scouts' dreams of Disney

Posted: Updated:
ATLANTA -

It's many a child's dream: to visit Disney World.  But, it's even more memorable when you've saved your own money for the trip. In this case, though, the trip to Orlando is memorable for all of the wrong reasons.

The I-Team's Dana Fowle has the story of a travel agent who let a Girl Scout Troop down. The scouts saved money for a year to pay for the trip to the magic kingdom. They got to Florida, but never got in the gate.

Girl Scout Leader Adrienne Mays said, "Last September, we decided as a group, after our fundraisers for cookies and other products, we were going to take the girls to Disney."

For a year, this Forsyth, Ga., Girl Scout troop sold the world famous Girl Scout cookies and other fundraisers to make it to another well-known favorite -- Disney World.  Because they were going to a world-class place, they picked Decatur's Benton Travel Group to plan their trip. It claims "top-notch" service.  

The kids were beside themselves over this once-in-a-lifetime adventure, looking forward to the rides, roller coasters, Mickey, Minnie and, of course, Goofy.

And, e-mails show the parents -- for months -- sending along payments for the $5,800 ($5,790) trip.  

But, the August trip started with a hiccup. The chartered bus booked by Benton Travel was late.

Adrienne said, "He had to pick up other people in Decatur." She said she didn't know about the other people being on the same bus.

This Scout leader says their group of 30 hit the road with Lee Benton, the travel agency's owner, and 20 strangers.  That should have been an omen.  Adrienne Mays says the bus broke down -- the brakes started to smoke -- so they were delayed.

"We were supposed to get there around 1:30 and leave to go to Sea World at 2:30 or so," Adrienne said.

They couldn't go. With a broken down bus, they had no ride; but, at least they were finally at their Kissimmee hotel.  They took at dip in the pool and got a good night's sleep. It turns out they needed it.  Lee Benton had bad news.

Adrienne said, "He was like, ‘Uh, I forgot the tickets.' He forgot the tickets. At home. In Atlanta."

Two days in Florida -- $5,800 later -- and they never made it to Disney World.

The kids said the trip left them feeling "sad"  and "disappointed."

But, this Scout leader and mother says she was angry.  Police were called, who told them to file a lawsuit. So, they did.  It claims Lee Benton "didn't deliver the trip and (even) refuses to refund the money."  

It's not the first time Benton has been sued for taking and keeping money for trips that never happen. But, the clerk says deputies have never been unable to serve any of them.  

The I-Team tried to talk to Lee Benton. He didn't answer.  The Georgia's Consumer Protection Office and the Attorney General's Office both have ordered him to stop violating the Fair Business Practices Act.  The State of Georgia says Benton has ignored them; while still collecting money from these hardworking Scouts.

The Scout leader says they've now realized there is more money that is owed to them by Benton Group Travel, so they'll amend their lawsuit. They're pushing that total up to almost $7,000.

CLICK ON THE VIDEO ABOVE TO SEE DANA'S FULL REPORT!

  • I-Team Story ArchiveMore>>

  • FOX 5 I-Team Investigates

    Child traumatically injured in beach house elevator

    Child traumatically injured in beach house elevator

    Monday, July 21 2014 8:09 AM EDT2014-07-21 12:09:54 GMT
    Another child has been seriously injured in a residential elevator accident. This is a warning for any family renting a beach house.
    Another child has been seriously injured in a residential elevator accident. This is a warning for any family renting a beach house.
  • Governor reacts to Ethics allegations

    Governor reacts to Ethics allegations

    Friday, July 18 2014 6:40 PM EDT2014-07-18 22:40:07 GMT
    The Governor sat down with Senior Fox 5 I-Team Reporter Dale Russell for his first television interview following allegations of strong-arming by a member of his staff.
    The Governor sat down with Senior Fox 5 I-Team Reporter Dale Russell for his first television interview following allegations of strong-arming by a member of his staff.
  • I-Team: Doctor guilty of Medicaid Fraud

    I-Team: Doctor guilty of Medicaid Fraud

    Friday, July 18 2014 3:39 PM EDT2014-07-18 19:39:09 GMT
    Six years after the I-Team first raised questions about Dr. Nathaniel Johnson's medical practices, the noted OB/GYN and cosmetic surgeon pled guilty to Medicaid Fraud and aiding the unlicensed practice of medicine.
    Six years after the I-Team first raised questions about Dr. Nathaniel Johnson's medical practices, the noted OB/GYN and cosmetic surgeon pled guilty to Medicaid Fraud and aiding the unlicensed practice of medicine.
  • Contact the FOX 5 I-Team

    * denotes required fields

    We're sorry, but only one entry is allowed per person.
    Thank you for your continued interest.

    Thanks for contacting FOX 5.  To reach our newsroom by phone, please call (404) 898-0100.

  • Good Day ArchiveMore>>

  • Back to School Jamboree with Hosea Feed The Hungry

    Back to School Jamboree with Hosea Feed The Hungry

    Hosea Feed the Hungry will host their annual Back to School Jamboree on Sunday, July 13, 2014 from 10:00 a.m. until 3:00 p.m. at Turner Field. Children will receive a backpack filled with school supplies.

    Hosea Feed the Hungry will host their annual Back to School Jamboree on Sunday, July 13, 2014 from 10:00 a.m. until 3:00 p.m. at Turner Field. Children will receive a backpack filled with school supplies.

  • RECIPES: Exploring Fig & Flower

    RECIPES: Exploring Fig & Flower

    Tuesday, July 22 2014 9:21 AM EDT2014-07-22 13:21:33 GMT
    Fig Flower Atlanta natives Blair Wagoner and Sara Lamond are excited to announce the opening of their new eco-beauty bar and natural skincare boutique in Virginia Highland called “Fig Flower.”
    Fig Flower Atlanta natives Blair Wagoner and Sara Lamond are excited to announce the opening of their new eco-beauty bar and natural skincare boutique in Virginia Highland called “Fig Flower.”
  • Lab demonstrates hurricane impact test

    Lab demonstrates hurricane impact test

    Tuesday, July 22 2014 8:50 AM EDT2014-07-22 12:50:24 GMT
    Just more than a month into the Atlanta Hurricane Season, we've already seen one storm make landfall in the United States. And right now, work is happening in North Georgia to keep people safe from the next storm.
    Just more than a month into the Atlanta Hurricane Season, we've already seen one storm make landfall in the United States. And right now, work is happening in North Georgia to keep people safe from the next storm.
Powered by WorldNow

4739 NW 53rd Avenue, Sutie B
Gainesville, FL 32653

Phone: (352) 371-0051

Didn't find what you were looking for?
All content © Copyright 2000 - 2014 Fox Television Stations, Inc. and Worldnow. All Rights Reserved.
Privacy Policy | Terms of Service | Ad Choices