McLean, defunct travel firm sued on nonpayment

April 09, 1994|By Marcia Myers | Marcia Myers,Sun Staff Writer

Baltimore Comptroller Jacqueline McLean and her defunct travel business have been sued by an airline ticket clearinghouse, which claims it is still owed nearly $130,000.

The suit is the latest legal trouble for the comptroller, who was indicted in February on charges of misconduct in office and felony theft, and is on indefinite leave of absence from her job. She has pleaded not guilty to the criminal charges; her trial is scheduled to begin June 8.

The Virginia-based Airline Reporting Corp., which accredits thousands of travel agencies that do business with airlines, claims that Mrs. McLean, her husband and company co-owner, James McLean, and Four Seas and Seven Winds violated the terms of a contract signed in 1992.

Because Four Seas had already been in default with Airline Reporting once, the company required a $70,000 letter of credit, the maximum it can require. The McLeans also signed personal guarantees.

Airline Reporting acts as the middleman for its accredited agencies -- accepting money for ticket sales from the agents and forwarding it to the airlines.

When Four Seas canceled its agreement last September, it was required to pay all the money it owed to the airlines and to account for all the tickets it had issued, Airline Reporting claims. The company failed to do either, so Airline Reporting sought and won an arbitration order requiring Four Seas to release the remaining tickets and other documents. That also has not been done, according to the lawsuit.

Four Seas, which at one time had more than a dozen offices and sold $40 million worth of airline tickets and hotel rooms a year, closed last fall and sold its customer list.

A spokeswoman for Airline Reporting declined to comment yesterday. Efforts to reach the McLeans and their attorney, H. Russell Frisby, were unsuccessful.

The suit asks for reimbursement of not less than $129,970, plus $100,000 in punitive damages.

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