Event organizer accused of taking off with thousands of dollars, going silent

GRAND RAPIDS, Mich. -- Brandon Humes, who runs B Social Sports and Entertainment, is accused of taking off with thousands of dollars after promising a trip to one of the biggest college football games of the year.

A group of co-workers said they turned to Humes in order to travel to East Lansing to tailgate outside Spartan Stadium last October. Michigan State University was taking on the University of Michigan.

Patron Nate Katerberg said, "Instead of us chartering a bus, we thought that it made more sense to go on an event that's already planned. It included transportation, drinks, a tailgate spot to watch the game and transportation back and a t shirt."

Katerberg said he came across Humes' Grand Rapids-based company and spoke with him by phone. Excited there was still space on the bus, Katerberg said he and about 20 co-workers paid Humes $65 each to reserve a spot. He said they used the Venmo app.

But once Humes got paid, the group said communication from Humes became spotty.

Patron Audrey Hoyt said, "People had actually asked him, 'Hey, what's going on? Where do we meet?'"

She added, "We didn't know where to meet until two days prior. So we get down there about 7 o' clock like we were told [and] waited 'til almost 9."

Hoyt said a total of about 50 people waited for the charter bus in Downtown Grand Rapids along with Humes.

Another patron, Kelsey Boerma recalled, "Probably after the... first 45 minutes of waiting I kind of realized, I was like 'Alright, there's probably not going to be a bus that comes today.'"

Katerberg said, "After, you know, an hour and a half to two hours he came out and said, 'Hey, sorry guys. There's no buses. I'm going to refund everyone's money.'"

He added, "So you got to give him the benefit of the doubt. Hey, something happened. We asked him what busing company. We reached out to the busing company, and they said, 'There's no contract, we don't know this guy.'"

Group members said there was one red flag after the next, and they emailed Humes over the next couple of months demanding reimbursement.

Hoyt recalled, "And it's a different story every time. One time it's to the insurance company, he's waiting for the money to come back, he has a death in his family, and he has to do this or that which I can be compassionate for, but at the same time, there's lack of communication on and on."

Boerma said, "Each new excuse was kind of like 'Oh! Ok. That's creative. Like, good job. You figured out a new one.'"

So Katerberg reached out to the FOX 17 Problem Solvers for help exposing the situation and to try and track Humes down. The number for his business doesn't work. The Problem Solvers stopped by several addresses, including the home address listed for his business.

A woman (who we'd later learn is a relative) came to the door and said no one by the name of Brandon Humes lives there.

An employee at the establishment where the bus was supposed to meet told us they heard of the complaints but hadn't been able to reach Humes. He also lists that particular establishment on some of his event flyers.

In all, the group suspects Humes made off with at least $3,000 from patrons looking to having a good time outside the game.

Katerberg's message to Humes is "don't scam people, and if it's legitimate [then] communicate."

"It's $65. Whatever. I can cut that loss. But at this point, it's now the principal of it and the lack of communication that has me frustrated," Hoyt said.

The owner of the charter bus company company told FOX 17 the one only time he did business with Humes was in 2012.

The Problem Solvers would still like to hear from Humes and get this resolved. In the meantime, we'll continue to dig further.

If you're considering participating in a pre-planned event like this, the Better Business Bureau suggests you use a credit card. You may have an easier time disputing the charges. Also, research the company. If you can't find much online then be cautious. Remember, a social media presence is not any indication that a business is any more credible. You can also file a complaint with the BBB. The organization can try and help mediate. At the very least, a complaint filed online will be seen by future potential patrons.

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