Chicago (CBS) — The lights inside Planet Fun in Oswego have been off for a while. There are two signs on the door: one said the business is temporarily closed and the other from the village saying it’s not approved for occupancy.
An official said there are numerous violations inside the business, and it will remain closed until that’s changed.
For one child whose family planned his fourth birthday party at Planet Fun, the experience proved to be a disappointment.
Tony Bell said he spent $143 for a party for his son Antonio to celebrate his big day at Planet Fun, where a themed party featuring Paw Patrol and Disney characters was planned.
Planet Fun also promoted “Aurora Strong” as one of the charities that would benefit from the event.
The business also advertised a magician, DJ, face painting and a bounce room.
But the family was disappointed to discover Planet Fun did not deliver on those promises.
Cell phone video shows some costumed characters trying to perform, but without the accompanying music to complete the act.
CBS 2 dug into the business. Planet Fun, LLC is registered to Ronald Beem.
According to public records, as of October 2018, a vendor, U.S. Foods, has started collection proceedings for an unpaid bill.
Bell’s wife Cherry said she thinks the event was a scam.
“I believe they knew what they were doing,” she said.
Beem claimed Planet Fun hired an outside company to provide the entertainment offered at the party.
That company, Beem said, is to blame for what he admitted was a “huge mess,” and in an email to CBS 2 said he planned to “take legal action against them as they greatly damaged our company by not providing what they promised.”
Beem also denied the allegation the party lacked entertainment. He said they had magicians, a balloon artist, face painting and a DJ, but admitted there was a snafu with the bounce house.
Another parent said she was also disappointed in the experience, however. Shelly Benson paid about $94 for her daughter to have a good time at Planet Fun. She drove an hour from Elgin. She says the experience was not as billed.
“My first thought about the place was how dirty it was,” Benson said. “They made the announcement that Paw Patrol was in the building. He’s going to be coming, and it was literally a dirty old dalmatian dog costume with a fire hat on.”
Planet Fun apologized for difficulties Monday in a Facebook that read, in part, “We are sorry for any disappointments with our ‘Kids Day of Fun'”.
In an statement Beem emailed to CBS 2 on Tuesday, he said, “This event was intended to be lots of fun for everyone, we never once were trying to scam people or rip anyone off. We feel if the character company had done what they were supposed to do and hired for, then we wouldn’t even be having to answer these questions.”
The Bells don’t accept the apology.
“They only doing that now because it seem like it’s getting attention that they don’t want,” Cherry Bell said.
Beem’s DJ company was sued back in 2011, and he’s linked to several businesses with bad online reviews. He’s also associated with a bankruptcy filing in 2003.
As for the ‘Aurora Strong’ donation promise, Beem said he plans to make good on that claim and will provide the charity with a portion of the proceeds from the event.