Feb. 23—A Merrimack County Superior Court judge has granted an injunction preventing a road race promoter from conducting races in New Hampshire and requiring it to refund hundreds of registration fees, after a 2019 race was canceled and runners complained they didn't get their money back.
Worldwide PUSH Foundation, Inc., based in California, promoted the "Margarita Madness 5K" road race in October 2019.
When the race was canceled, many of the runners who registered did not get refunds, the Attorney General's Office said. Five people submitted complaints about the Margarita Madness races to the state Attorney General's Office, and several more sent written complaints on the Better Business Bureau's website. Some of those who wrote complaints to the Better Business Bureau later reported getting refunds.
The same group advertised two new "Margarita Madness 5K" races in 2020, one in Concord on July 11, and another in Northfield Oct. 24. The July 11 race did not happen, according to the Attorney General's Office, and the group did not have the permits necessary for the Oct. 24 race.
The Attorney General's Office said the race organizers collected about $30,000 in race registration fees.
The Margarita Madness race advertisements said the races would benefit the Worldwide Push Foundation (WWPF), but the foundation is not registered as a nonprofit with the Attorney General's Office, though the group was directed to register in December 2019, according to a news release from the Attorney General's Office.
The state alleges the race organizers committed nine violations of New Hampshire charitable trust laws and the Consumer Protection Act, each punishable by a fine of up to $10,000.
On Tuesday, a Merrimack County Superior Court judge granted final judgment against WWPF for violations of the New Hampshire Consumer Protection Act and charitable trust laws.
Under the terms of the court's judgment, WWPF is permanently enjoined from advertising, organizing, soliciting, or accepting any consumer money for any event in New Hampshire unless it registers with the Charitable Trust Unit. WWPF is further prohibited from committing any future violations of consumer protection or charitable trust laws, and is required to refund race registration fees.
The court also awarded the state attorneys' fees for the cost of investigating and prosecuting the case.