Reporting Dave Savini
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CHICAGO (CBS) – A sports agent from a prominent family is accused of selling seats to some of the hottest games in town, but never turning over the tickets.
CBS 2′s Dave Savini talked to a number of Chicago sports fans, and the owner of a ticket company, who – combined – say they gave more than $200,000 to sports agent Herbie Zucker, then had to fight to get any money back.
Doug Van Witzenburg said he paid Zucker about $14,000 for Chicago Blackhawks tickets that he never received.
“My reaction was more or less shock,” Van Witzenburg said. He said he’d been friends with Zucker for years, and they’d had seats next to each other at White Sox games.
Van Witzenburg also felt terrible about the other people he brought in to buy tickets from Zucker, who reportedly offered to sell tickets for Blackhawks, Bulls, Bears and White Sox games.
His friends were out thousands of dollars.
Augie Cavero and Tom Powell lost $50,000 and $7,000, respectively.
That group is not alone in their experiences with Zucker. Doug Strosberg, a serious Sox fan with a house covered in memorabilia, said he thought he was buying 80 tickets behind the dugout, but ended up empty-handed.
“He gave me an invoice from the White Sox, showing that he was the owner of tickets in this location that he promised,” Strosberg said.
Then there is Max Waisvisz, owner of Gold Coast tickets, who said he paid Zucker about $136,000 for tickets. Waisvisz said, when he did not receive the tickets, he went to Zucker’s father, Stephen Zucker, a well-known agent and lawyer who represented star athletes including Jim McMahon.
Waisvisz said the elder Zucker worked out an agreement Herbie Zucker signed, in 2010, promising to repay the money.
“They said, ‘We’ll pay you back, we’ll pay you back’ and they still haven’t,” said Waisvisz. “I haven’t gotten one cent back.”
Others said months of fighting led to agreements too.
“It was a promissory note, saying that we’ll pay 50 percent now and 50 percent down the road if we sign this agreement,” said Tom Powell.
But Powell, Van Witzenburg and Cavero said they were only repaid half of their money and they want the rest.
“My goal is now to basically put out a warning that Herbie Zucker is not to be trusted,” said Van Witzenburg.
The three also have filed police reports, but Herbie Zucker has not been charged with any crimes.
“When I see people being victimized over and over and over again, it reopens those wounds and it makes me mad that the system doesn’t do anything about it,” said Cavero.
David Strosberg was recently repaid his more than $4,400 in full.
These folks all said they are frustrated by the legal system’s Catch 22. They wanted their money back, so they signed the agreements. But, by signing, that makes it a civil matter and not criminal – even if they never receive all of the promised money.
Calls to Herbie Zucker and his parents resulted in a “no comment,” “contracts are signed,” and “the case is over.”
The Cook County State’s Attorney’s office is investigating the matter.