ATLANTA - Upset parents told Channel 2 Action News they are out hundreds of dollars because their children's cheerleading competition was suddenly canceled.
The parents said the local organizer of the cheerleading competition booked a bad venue and took their money. Some parents even traveled from other states to the downtown Atlanta venue.
Channel 2’s Liz Artz was told the organizer was escorted from the hotel by police, but as of yet no criminal charges have been filed. Hundreds of disappointed cheerleaders were sent home and parents said they were sent away without hundreds of dollars they spent to get here.
Atlanta police were called to the Melia Hotel Saturday afternoon after a cheer competition involving more than 300 cheerleaders from as far away as Maryland did not happen. Parent Chad Deannelly drove his daughter from Montgomery, Ala. to compete. He said the hotel was not equipped for such competitions and thousands of dollars in fees were gone.
"They were protecting the lady in there because other parents were wanting to tear her to pieces," Deannelly said.
Channel 2 obtained video from another parent of organizer Halee Yates apologizing to the angry in parents.
According to parents, Yates runs Cheer-Nation, an event company out of LaGrange that organizes cheer competitions for gyms around the southeast. The competitions are typically held at convention centers that have high ceilings and floors designed for athletics. Parents said this year’s event changed venues three times.
“It's more disappointing for the children who came, got up early to perform work all year long for this,” said Deannelly said.
Artz was told each parent paid $25 at the door Saturday, a pre-registration fee of $120, plus travel expenses.
"This trip is going to cost us $500 by the time hotel and expenses go into effect,” Deannelly said.
The hotel manager if they plan to file criminal charges, they would make that decision on Monday.