CoolWaters Pool and Spa, Syracuse, provided the Mental Health Association of Jefferson County Inc. with a new pool table after the company's owners heard the agency had irreconcilable differences with an online company.
Mental Health Association Executive Director Daun M. Burk said CoolWaters Pool and Spa contacted her shortly after Syracuse's NBC3 newscast Dec. 9 about how PoolTablesDirect.com, Atlanta, Ga., cashed the $2,297 check the agency sent it in July.
"Andrew Aitchison, the president of the company, said if we don't get the money back from the guy, he'd just take the loss on the table," Ms. Burk said.
The new $2,500, 8-foot pool table was installed Dec. 16.
"They worked so hard to set it up before Christmas," Ms. Burk said. "The only thing they asked is if this guy pays us back that we give them the money."
CoolWaters Pool and Spa does charitable work around the Syracuse area, so when the television story aired, Mr. Aitchison said, he received some calls from people in the Syracuse community asking if he would help the Mental Health Association.
Mr. Aitchison said he's heard of Pool Tables Direct, but hasn't come across any other area organizations that are having difficulties with the Georgia company.
It took association member Ronald C. Goodnough, along with a few other members, nearly three years to raise the $2,300 for the pool table they ordered from Pool Tables Direct.
The Syracuse television station reported the story after the Times's Oct. 24 article that said Pool Tables Direct hadn't shipped the Mental Health Association its pool table and the agency was pursuing the matter.
Ms. Burk said the Mental Health Association is working with the Georgia attorney general's office in an attempt to get its money back from Pool Tables Direct.
"We're not stopping until the situation is taken care of," she said.
By Alex Dunbar
Monday, January 04, 2010 at 6:45 p.m.
When you're a competitive pool player like Ron Goodnough, nicks, tears and uneven tables are frustrating. but that frustration is nothing compared to what Ron felt when he helped raise over two thousand dollars to buy a new table for the Jefferson County Mental Health Association's drop in center.
It took close to two years of fundraisers, donations and even a bottle drive for Ron and others to get the full amount of money needed to buy a table from pooltablesdirect.com
In July 2009, staff from the center sent a check to Pool Tables Direct. The check was cashed, but after a few months without any word from the company they started asking questions. Now the center is working with authorities in New York and Georgia, where Pool Tables Direct is based, to try and get their money back. In December 2009, Pool Tables Direct President Mark Sears said his business had problems with international suppliers but that he would return the money. He expected to send them a check by the end of 2009 but the Executive Director of the Jefferson County Mental Health Association says they still haven't seen any money.
Action News received several calls after airing a story about the dispute in December. One of them was from Cool Waters Pools and Spas in Fairmount. The owners wanted to help out Ron and his friends and donated a brand new table. Staff had it installed just in time for Christmas.
"These guys loved it when we went up there," said Andrew Aitchison from Cool Waters. "It was absolutely wonderful just to se the smiles on their faces, talking about their tournaments, it was great."
Ron Goodnough and his friends are overwhelmed by the generosity and love playing on the new table. He's also hoping that authorities will be able to get their money from Pool Tables Direct.
"We are going to pursue it to the fullest and if we don't get back our money, throw him in jail," said Goodnough.
Pool Tables Direct returned our call late this afternoon and promised the center's money would be returned within the next two weeks. President Mark Sears again cited difficult business conditions and the effect the downturn has had on his small business. If the Jefferson County Mental Health Association is able to get any of their money back, they plan to give it to Cool Waters Pools and Spas in return for the donated table.
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