CHARDON- Discovery Tours, the company at the center of canceled school field trips across Ohio, has filed for bankruptcy.
Geauga County Prosecutor Jim Flaiz confirms to FOX8 his office has opened an investigation into the company. Two Chardon Local Schools overnight trips were impacted when the company suddenly shut down and canceled field trips for several Ohio school districts last week.
Flaiz said Geauga County investigators are still trying to determine if a crime has been committed. He said his investigators went to the home of the owner of Discovery Tours, Alfred Cipolletti, and no one answered the door. Investigators were able to speak with Cipolletti on the phone and Flaiz said he gave them contact information for a bankruptcy attorney to speak with on his behalf.
Parents of Chardon students paid hundreds of dollars directly to Discovery Tours for their kids to go on the trips. Flaiz says his investigation is looking into what happened to the more than $100,000 paid to the company for the trips.
Flaiz says he is in contact with the Ohio Attorney General’s Office and the Summit County Prosecutor Office, which said Friday it is currently gathering information and looking into the matter.
As of Monday afternoon, the Attorney General’s Office received more than 450 complaints against Discovery Tours. A spokesperson for the Attorney General said they are still processing additional complaints and expect the number to go up.
Chardon Local Schools Superintendent Mike Hanlon said after working non-stop for several days the district has found a way to make sure their trips to Chicago and Washington, DC will still go forward. Hanlon said some parents who have disputed charges made to Discovery Tours on their credit cards have been successful getting money back from the credit card companies.
Riverside Local Schools is also working tirelessly to still make their students’ Chicago trip happen this Wednesday. The school board promised up to $80,000 to help cover costs and the district’s PTO is raising money to pay for meals on the trip and for the chaperones to go.
Another district affected by Discovery Tours is Hudson.
Monday night, the Hudson Board of Education approved a resolution to fund the district’s upcoming school trips.
They will now pay for the 8th grade trip to Washington D.C. and 5th grade trip to Dearborn, Michigan, both contracted through Discovery Tours.