OAKLEY (KRON) — A troop of Boy Scouts in Oakley was scammed out of more than $5,000 — the money they paid up front for Christmas trees to sell.
It appears, was pocketed by the person contracted to provide the trees and somehow, the troop has still managed to open up their lot.
Empty crates now sit where trees should be standing.
This year, it’s a lighter load for Boy Scout Troop 152’s Christmas tree lot at Saint Anthony’s Catholic Church in Oakley.
Normally they order and receive up to 800 trees to sell leading up to the holiday.
But this time around they have only 396 and they’re lucky to even have that.
“The person that we were dealing with for delivery of the trees, failed to deliver any of the trees on contract,” said parent Stephen DeMarco.
Stephen DeMarco is one of the parents who helps organize and manage the tree lot.
He says the contract was signed months ago with who it turned out to be a wholesaler in Nevada.
The contract is $19,000 and the troop paid $5,200 up front for the trees to be picked up from Washington and Oregon for delivery in Oakley.
But for weeks now, the wholesaler has ignored phone calls and messages.
Then last week, DeMarco received bad news.
“We were alerted by the trucking company that I hired that no trees were being picked up, no trees were being delivered, and that the trucking company was cancelling the order,” DeMarco said.
DeMarco says the troop quickly regrouped and worked out a deal with other growers out of state to provide some trees.
He’s put in close to $5,000 of his own money to get them here.
“I was pretty upset, pretty disappointed, deceived. I was pretty angry, I mean, they’re Boy Scouts — they’re boys. I mean, you’re talking 11 to 16-years-old. This is their fundraiser for the whole year,” DeMarco said.
DeMarco says they’ll end up raising far less money this year, compared to years past.
They’re confident the community will rally around them.
“We’re turning it into a teachable moment with the scouts themselves about sometimes you can do everything right, and it still doesn’t work out exactly the way you planned,” DeMarco said.
The tree lot will be open everyday until the entire stock is sold out.