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Echoes of 'Who Dropped the Ball?'


Ticket holders for the official inaugural Youth Ball waiting at the Hilton Washington. Many people found themselves shut out of a firsthard view to the proceedings. (Paul Smith)

Another day, another inaugural ball fiasco.

Add the official Youth Ball to the list of events that left hundreds out in the cold -- campaign volunteers who paid $75 a ticket and never even made it inside the Hilton Washington.

Other ticket holders complained last week that, while admitted, they were stuck in an overflow lounge, able to see the Obamas, Kanye West or Fall Out Boy only on TV, though the Presidential Inaugural Committee insisted everyone at least got into something resembling a party.

Karl Johnson, 26, told us he spent the night standing in "absolutely freezing" temperatures. After two hours in line, he and three friends were stopped near the security check at 9 p.m., then spent the next two hours . . . waiting. Friends inside sent frantic texts: "Are you in? Obama's coming!"

Johnson got in at 11:30 -- long after the motorcade was gone -- but estimates that hundreds in line behind him gave up and went home. So far, no explanations or refunds. The PIC did not respond to our calls or e-mail yesterday.

So, ready for more outrage about the American Music Inaugural Ball? We failed again to find an organizer who would explain the "unofficial" party's abrupt cancellation -- or how guests can get their money back.

Kevin Sasaki, a spokesman for Dionne Warwick, insisted yesterday she just "lent her name" to the event. He referred us to Rogers & Cowan, an L.A. PR firm that said it simply did a single pro bono news release . . . and referred us to a smaller PR firm, the Rose Group . . . which already told us last week it did only a bit of pro bono work.

We also learned the "Dionne and Friends Foundation Inc." that ticket buyers wrote checks to has not had incorporation status for nearly three years -- and there's no record it ever had IRS nonprofit status.

We tried their temporary leased offices on Thomas Circle: vacated over the weekend, a building supervisor told us.

By The Reliable Source  |  January 27, 2009; 1:03 AM ET
 
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Comments

I saw Dionne Warwick being interviewed on TV before the inauguration evening stating she was going to perform at the Ball at Wardman Park...and then admitted that she was staying there, too. So, I feel that 'lending her name' is an outright fabrication. Being able to see the future, shouldn't she have admitted the ball was going to be canceled and tell those who overpaid for tickets that she would make sure they would receive a refund? How dare her! ...I'm just saying.

Posted by: DebbiSmithDC | January 27, 2009 11:07 AM | Report abuse

I think everyone should sue Dionne Warwick for their money back. This was obviously a scam...(wasn't she on a PSYCHIC telephone consult scam too?) TRASH!

Posted by: ClMcClure | January 27, 2009 11:21 AM | Report abuse

How can those who didn't make it in get a refund? It was a fiasco.

Posted by: sassydem | January 27, 2009 11:48 PM | Report abuse

Thank you for keeping this going - if you aren't asking questions, we'll never get to the bottom of what happened at the Youth Ball.

Posted by: ironmange | January 28, 2009 6:00 PM | Report abuse

The comments to this entry are closed.

 
 
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