CLEVELAND-- The FBI and the U.S. Attorney's Office for the Northern District of Ohio are investigating Discovery Tours, the company at the center of canceled school field trips across Ohio.
The Summit County Prosecutor's Office announced the federal investigation into the Mayfield Village-based company on Thursday after spending a month reviewing Discovery Tour's records. It said it found dozens of canceled trips for school districts in 20 Ohio counties.
“Thousands of local students missed out on this annual tradition. Their families paid hundreds of dollars and got nothing in return. I directed my chief investigator to find out where the money went,” said Summit County Prosecutor Sherri Bevan Walsh in a news release.
It all started early last month when Mentor Public Schools had to cancel the eighth-grade field trip to Washington, D.C. for more than 500 students when they were unable to receive final confirmation on hotel rooms. While the tour company blamed the hotel, Hyatt Regency-Dulles said it didn't receive sufficient payment to reserve the rooms.
Soon, more school districts, including Hudson City Schools and Chardon Local Schools, learned their trips would not be happening.
“After discovering issues with multiple school districts throughout Ohio, as well as out-of-state schools, I determined we needed additional resources to conduct a thorough investigation. We have always had a good working relationship with the FBI and the U.S. Attorney’s Office and felt they would be best equipped to continue the hard work of my investigative staff," Walsh said.
In May, Discovery Tours filed for Chapter 7 bankruptcy. Representatives are scheduled to appear in bankruptcy court Thursday afternoon.