Hotel disputes Discovery Tours claims, several districts now looking into status of school trips with company

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MENTOR, Ohio -- A spokesperson from Hyatt Regency-Dulles says accommodations for hundreds of Mentor students were canceled after a tour company "failed to provide sufficient payment" prior to the school trip to Washington, D.C.

Mentor Public Schools Tuesday informed more than 500 8th graders that the trip, which was to leave Wednesday morning, was canceled after Discovery Tours claimed it was unable to receive final confirmation for the hotel rooms.

Each student paid $455 to go on the trip.

In a statement released Wednesday morning, Discovery Tours said:

"Discovery Tours was told late yesterday afternoon by the Hyatt Regency Dulles Hotel that it would not honor its contract with Discovery Tours to provide rooms on May 1st and May 2nd.  Discovery Tours believes that Hyatt’s behavior is unreasonable and inappropriate because it was paid 100% of the money that was invoiced by Hyatt for the Mentor Schools Trip as of April 24, 2018.  Hyatt then sent an amended bill demanding additional funds on April 27th which Discovery Tours paid by credit card on April 30th.  Hyatt then refused to accept that credit card payment and insisted that it was entitled to keep over $34,000.00 of Discovery Tour funds as liquidated damages.

Discovery Tours is consulting with an attorney to determine whether litigation should be initiated to address this situation."

FOX 8's Roosevelt Leftwich found the doors locked and no lights on at the Discovery Tours office in Mayfield Village on Wednesday.

Wednesday afternoon, Hyatt released the following statement in response:

"Hyatt Regency Dulles is disappointed that Discovery Tours has been unable to provide sufficient payment owed under its contracts, despite the numerous options the hotel provided to Discovery Tours on several occasions  over an extended period of time. As a result, the hotel was forced to unfortunately cancel accommodations for Discovery Tours student groups booked at the hotel. The statements from Discovery Tours about this situation are not accurate.

We understand and appreciate how important these kinds of learning experiences are to the students, parents and schools involved. To that end, we have been in touch with Mentor Public Schools directly to offer coordination of alternative arrangements that would allow the students to visit our nation’s capital as soon as possible."

Chardon Supt. Michael Hanlon said his district uses Discovery Tours for their educational trips and currently have a trip to D.C. and Chicago planned with the company before the end of the school year. Hanlon said after hearing the news about the Mentor schools trip Chardon Schools immediately began looking into the status of their trips. Hanlon said they have had limited contact with Discovery Tours and are still trying to confirm the details of their trip.

Chardon will be holding  a meeting for parents on Saturday. Parents can contact the district for more information.

An official with Hudson City schools told FOX 8 they also have a trip planned with Discovery Tours, and after hearing about the cancellation of the Mentor eighth grade trip they contacted the company. So far Discovery Tours has not returned their calls.

Rocky River Schools also confirmed they have a trip with Discovery Tours and are working to see if their eighth grade trip planned for June can still happen.

FOX 8 has also reached out to several other NE Ohio school districts that use Discovery Tours to confirm if their trips are still scheduled.

Continuing coverage here. 

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