A Bellevue company that handles payments for youth sports groups is being sued in federal court by a New Jersey soccer club that claims the company failed to turn over $142,000 in registration payments.

Share story

A Bellevue company that handles payments for youth sports groups is being sued in federal court by a New Jersey soccer club that claims the company failed to turn over $142,000 in registration payments.

Montclair United Soccer Club of New Jersey filed the lawsuit Nov. 10 in U.S. District Court in Seattle, claiming it has received only partial payments of funds handled by Count Me In Corp., also known as Arena Group. Named as defendants are the corporation and J. Terrence Drayton, identified as the founder and chief executive officer of Count Me In and Arena Group.

According to the lawsuit, about $142,000 in payments is missing.

It’s unknown what happened to the money or how much may be involved in total losses, said Marina Len, a New York attorney representing the Montclair United Soccer Club.

“I think these are really important questions,” she said.

Neither Drayton nor anyone from Count Me In or the Arena Group could be reached for comment.

However, the company responded to a reporter’s inquires by sending the following e-mail: “We are still in business and doing everything we can to resolve the situation.”

Drayton is well-known in the Seattle-area tech community as a founder of HomeGrocer.com, an Internet-boom business started in 1998 that later failed in the dot-com collapse.

The Sammamish-based Eastlake Little League has similar concerns about the company, according to its Web site. The Eastlake Little League reported on the site that it “had become concerned” that Count Me In will be “unable to make payments for registrations received between Nov. 1 and Dec. 4.” Eastlake said it was suspending the credit-card option as a result of payment problems.

Officials with Eastlake could not be reached for comment.

According to its Web site, Count Me In provides online registration and league-management software to handle payments for youth sports like soccer, baseball, lacrosse, volleyball, football and basketball. The business provides such services as “certified real-time credit-card processing” and “automated confirmations and receipts.”

Questions first arose in October, when Montclair United Soccer Club began failing to get registration payments, according to its lawsuit.

According to the lawsuit, the not-for-profit soccer club used Count Me In to handle registration payments and other fees commonly paid by parents to allow kids to take part in sports. Customers would charge the fees to a credit card, and Count Me In then would provide payments of the fees to the sponsoring organization, said Len.

During the spring, summer and fall of 2008, the lawsuit contends, members paid more than $210,000 in fees and donations to Montclair United, using the Count Me In Web site to process the payments. The money then was deposited in a Count Me In bank account, the lawsuit says. On Oct. 9, Montclair United received a payment of $67,326 from Count Me In, but has since received no other payments, the lawsuit claims.

Peyton Whitely: 206-464-2259 or pwhitely@seattletimes.com