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Thursday, September 23, 1999



Airline ticket
agency under
investigation

Eight complaints have been
filed after customers paid cash
and received no tickets from
the travel agency known as
Nancy Tickets

Also: Jimmy's Travel case still pending

By Helen Altonn
Star-Bulletin

Tapa

Sandra Chappelle expected to find a round-trip Northwest Airlines ticket to San Francisco waiting for her when friends dropped her off at Honolulu Airport on Sept. 2.

"There was no ticket and the lady at the airport said I wasn't the first there," said Chappelle, of Pupukea. "Other people had to leave."

Violet Chong of Makiki said she had to buy new tickets after learning from Delta Airlines that two round-trip tickets she paid cash for didn't exist.

Chappelle and Chong are among residents who bought tickets from Nancy Tickets, 655 Keeaumoku, Suite 206, after seeing a newspaper advertisement in the travel section.

They were among about half a dozen irate customers showing up at the office Sept. 3 to try to get their money back.

Eight complaints against the ticket agency are under investigation at the Regulated Industries Complaints Office in the Department of Commerce and Consumer Affairs, said Janelle Sarae in the Consumer Resource Center.

They cover an array of allegations, from engaging in unfair or deceptive trade practices and professional misconduct and unethical practices, to failure to refund clients' money and meet licensing requirements.

Detective Rodney Noguchi in the Honolulu Police Department's Criminal Investigation Division also is investigating theft complaints against the agency.

"It's a handful," he said today. "I haven't received all the reports yet; I have received telephone calls. I'm pretty sure more will be coming in."

Sarae said records show that Nancy Tickets is a trade name for a business registered by Kuk Hee Kim on Oct. 22, 1998, with expiration on Oct. 21 of this year.

The license also was issued to Kuk Hee Kim on Oct. 30, 1998, with expiration on Dec. 31 of this year.

Chong and Chappelle said they purchased their tickets at the agency from Nancy Kim.

"She wanted cash," Chong said, explaining that she paid $536 for two round-trip tickets.

She said she asked for the ticket and Kim told her it was done electronically and all she had to show at the airlines was the Nancy Tickets receipt.

Chong said she learned there were no tickets after calling Delta to change the destination to Los Angeles.

"I quickly went down to her office (in the Sam Sung Building), and it was closed."

She then went to the administrative office, Chong said.

"When I talked to the fellow in the office, he said, "you're not the only one. Meet the rest of the crowd.' There were about six of us there."

She said the others had already called police and were waiting for them to arrive.

Meanwhile, they located Nancy Kim's home telephone number and she answered a call, Chong said.

"She said she would meet us in the office the next day. She said she's having problems and will make good on it."

Chong said she told her, "No, I want the money now and I'm coming to your home because we know where you're living."

She said they agreed to meet Kim outside her apartment building and a police officer went with the group. He told Kim that if she did what the group alleged, she had committed theft, Chong said. "She started to cry. She said, "I will pay, but I don't have the money now.'" She ended up giving each of them a check but asked them not to cash it until Sept. 10, Chong said.

"The check is still no good," she said. "I checked even up to yesterday."

She said the group learned from a member of Nancy Kim's family that she left for Korea.


Jimmy's Travel case still pending

Star-Bulletin staff

Tapa

More than 2,000 isle people were left holding the bag last year when Jimmy's Travel filed bankruptcy.

A Chapter 7 liquidation filing in bankruptcy court showed claims of $743,000 by 2,100-2,500 creditors, mostly people who had paid in advance for Las Vegas junkets and were unable to take them after the travel agency abruptly closed on June 19.

Jimmy's Travel owner James K.S. Lee has pleaded guilty to first-degree theft for misapplying client funds.

He could face up to 10 years in prison. Sentencing is set for Nov. 5.

Meanwhile, clients are still waiting for restitution. State law does not allow restitution to be disbursed until after sentencing.

Even then, though, they are unlikely to recover all their lost money.




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