SAVANNAH, Ga. (WSAV) – The General Manager and Co-owner of the Savannah Steam is facing charges.
A magistrate judge issued a warrant for Jenny Dammarrel for deposit account fraud Friday afternoon.
It all stems from a complaint by Ben Adams, aka DJ Pro2kall.
We first told you about Adams in a News 3 investigation we started a month ago.
Adams was the DJ for the team’s first two games and was supposed to get paid $1000. He says Dammarrel, the indoor football team’s General Manager and wife of the owner, bounced a check to him, twice.
“They (Jenny and Bobby Dammarrel) told me no it was short 11 dollars and change and we put an extra $5 in so we are cool,” explained Adams. “Call my bank back and they said we ran it twice. we aren’t going to run it again.”
A Magistrate Judge said she knew there was no money in the team’s account, and she lied to Adams. He issued a warrant on the spot.
She was booked into the Chatham County Jail Friday evening.
The Savannah Steam may be playing a playoff game in Florida on Thursday, but the team’s General Manager’s next date may be in a courtroom.
Jenny Dammarell, who happens to be the wife of Steam owner Bobby Dammarell, filed for Bankruptcy this week in District Court.
Dammarell filed Chapter 13 Bankruptcy, which means she cannot pay her debtors now, and is asking the court to consolidate her debt so she may be able to pay them in the future.
News 3 has learned this has become a regular practice for Dammarell, who has filed for bankruptcy 6 times before, including 3 times in the past four years.
Dammarell and the Steam still owes Zebra Grafix in Rincon more than $6700 for the banner which surrounded the field for home games, and almost $20,000 in rent to the City of Savannah for using the Civic Center to play those home games.
She is supposed to be in bankruptcy court in late June.
Off the field and in court. That’s where the owners of the Savannah Steam were supposed to face one of their accusers on Friday.
Its the latest turn in a story news 3 broke two weeks ago, all about missing money and unpaid bills.
$6700 to a Rincon banner company, $6600 to the city for rental of the civic center for each of three games played there.
Those are the big bills still out there for the Savannah Steam. Bills that haven’t been paid.
Friday the team’s General Manager was taken to court by someone else who says he’s owed money.
Ben Adams AKA Dj Pro2kall has a bounced check for $1000. That was supposed to be for his services at the Steam’s home games.
Then Adams says Jenny Dammarell gave him 200 tickets that were supposed to be for the next three home games, but they all had a date of March 29 on them.
Adams filed papers and took her to Magistrate Court.
The threat was that Dammarell could go to jail if the team didn’t pay Adams.
After the Judge warned everyone in the room of that possiblilty, Dammarell asked for a continuance. She wanted to have her lawyer there to represent her.
The Judge granted that continuance, and everyone wil be back in court June 10.
There are still multiple people and businesses who claim they haven’t been paid, including several former players.
Zebra Grafix has more than $6700 in outstanding bills, all for the banners the team had made for sponsors that hang around the Civic Center.
The company has been promised several times by Bobby and Jenny Dammarell they would get paid for their work, but as of Friday, haven’t seen a dime.
The City of Savannah was paid for the Civic Center rental for one game, about $6600.
Friday was the deadline for the payment for game 2, which occurred back in mid April. The head of the Civic Center tells News 3 the City did not get paid, but the Dammarell’s did promise to pay for games 2 and 3 at least next week.
We will keep you updated.
Their final home game is Saturday, but more deadlines have passed, and are still to come for the Savannah Steam.
All of those are connected to money many people say they are owed by the team.
There is some good news, the city has gotten paid one-third of what the team owes them. Sean Brown, the on field announcer we told you about has also gotten his $700 he was owed by the team.
But one week after we first told you about the bounced checks, the people who never got paid, and the players who were playing for free, more people say they are out cash. Including a current player who just said “i quit”.
“She “(Jenny Dammarell) wrote a check for $245 and she bounced it the following week.”
That’s why Brandon Thomas decided to quit the Savannah Steam this year after just three games.
“She told me Brandon, your check bounced because I was short $7 in the account,” remembers Thomas.
Thomas says he was traveling from New Orleans every week just because he loves to play. He stayed with the Dammarell’s for one game, and he brought his family to another.
“Traveling back and forth between hotels and everything I’ve spent $1700 to $2000,” said Thomas.
“And all I asked for was a $150 game check.”
“‘I’m not even worried about the money,” explains Brandon,” That was never the issue. But don’t lie to me. tell me the truth. I’m not paying you. Then find someone else to do it because I’m not doing it for free,”
“I think they are in way over their heads. I don’t think they have meant to do what they’ve done because they are good people. I think they got in a little too deep and they don’t have the backing they thought they had.”
Its the same story News 3 heard from John Willie Jackson. He came for practices and games from Jacksonville.
Jackson says he’s still owed a game check, and for the “Steam Nation” t-shirts he made for the team.
“Its time for a warrant,” says Ben Adams. “Got a warrant hearing on Friday, see if they make good.”
Ben Adams, AKA DJ Pro2kall is taking his complaints to the court.
He’s owed $1000 for playing music during the game. Now he has a hearing in Magistrate Court on Friday. He doesn’t want anyone to go to jail, he’s just asking for his money, or a criminal charge against the steam’s owners Bobby and Jenny Dammarell.
“Do I think ill ever get paid? Well at first i figured they were broke i figured i wasn’t getting paid but now if not ill keep pushing for it,” said Adams.
“I wont take any dollar. Ill take my dollar, what is owed to me. Im not taking anything, just waht is owed to me what i worked for and we will call it square.”
Zebra Grafix, the Rincon company who provided the banners to the team, was supposed to get a deposit on the $6700 owed to them Friday. The company tells me they haven’t heard from the Dammarell’s.
News 3 did talk to Jenny Dammarell this week. She handed us a “cease and desist” letter signed by jenny herself but not a lawyer.
Its one of four she has given to people connected to this story in the last week.
The Savannah Steam will be playing their final home game of the season in the Savannah Civic Center this Saturday.
The city told News 3 because they paid one game check, about $6600, and paid it according to their contract, the game is on.
It hopes the team will make money at that game and pay not only the city of Savannah, but all their other creditors too.
One of those creditors, Zebra Grafix, took their claim to the Effingham County Sheriff’s Department.
The Sheriff’s tell News 3 if the Dammarell’s don’t pay Zebra Graphix all $6700 plus they owe them, then investigators will take a warrant out for the couple’s arrest for theft of service.
Several of the other people who claim they are owed for services have also filed demand for payment letters. they tell News 3 they plan to take their case for charges to the Chatham County District Attorney’s Office.
Money missing, checks bouncing, promises made but never kept.
Friday, News 3 started an investigation into the Savannah Steam.
Monday, new information about even more money woes, starting on the pads that surround the indoor football field.
“My stomach sank and I was horrified.”
That was Jessica Kraemer’s reaction after watching our story Friday night.
“What do you think of all the sob stories now?”
“I think they are a bunch of stories,” said Jessica.
Jessica has been hearing those stories from steam owners Bobby and Jenny Dammarell for weeks now.
Zebra Grafix made 49 different banners for the steam, almost every one you see on the field during the game.
“We have to stay over a couple nights, stay over some weekends to get them done but we got them all finished before the first game,” explains Kraemer.
Finished with their work, but far from finished dealing with the Dammarells, and asking for payment. They are owed more than $6700 in all, and have heard a different story every week.
“She said girl let me get with you next week.”
“He said he’d be by Friday. Friday came and went he never showed up.”
“She turned and looked at me and said i’ll see you tomorrow i have to get my receipts from the night. Ill come see you tomorrow”
“Monday came and went and she didn’t show up.”
Banners, ink, time and money spent, but no money back in her business.
CIK Motorsports heard similar stories from the Dammarells.
They are paid sponsors, and were promised pictures at the store with the players.
“We are on a bye week we can come this Saturday. I said that was fine,” explained Akeya Sanders, Office Manager for CIK Motorsports. “And that Saturday came and went. Its been a few weeks since then and no contact with her at all.”
In all there are 143 “partners” on the teams website.
Even if each one only paid the least $150 for their sponsorship, that would be more than $21,450 to help pay the bills.
We know “partners” like Coastal Electric did pay more.
Their logo is on the team jersey, which sponsorship packets show could be as much as $3,000 for the team.
That money could go directly to the city, who until Monday, hadn’t been paid for one game. The bill, $19,858.93.
Friday, Saja Aures from the City of Savannah said,
“The Savannah Steam will not be playing at the Civic Center unless payment is received in full,”
But Monday, the Dammarell’s paid the city $6600 and Savannah decided that was enough to let the game back in the Civic Center and play their final home game on Saturday.
The Savannah Steam lost their road game against undefeated Columbus this weekend 100-21.
To add insult to injury, News 3 learned the team’s General Manager and owner’s wife Jenny Dammarell, was escorted out of the arena after the game.
So where is all the money the team is making going?
News 3 found one place at the outlet mall on Highway 204 in Savannah.
A 600 square foot store which is going to be called the “Coliseum”, a football related store. That space rented out by the Dammarells.
Lots of hype, lots of promise and lots of touchdowns.
That’s how the inaugural Savannah Steam season started.
But now almost two years later, what’s left is a series of questionable decisions, bounced checks and a lot of questions about money.
A News 3 investigation discovered when it comes to this team, the numbers don’t always add up.
The Steam started strong..commercials led to more than 1000 rowdy fans in the Savannah Civic Center for the team’s first indoor game.
But instead of celebrating the next week, the man behind the mic, Sean Brown, was left with one question.
“Where’s all the money?” said Brown
Brown started as the team’s Public Address Announcer but was quickly given more responsibility.
“I went from the public address announcer and on field host to direction of operations and on field sponsorships,” says Brown. “One day i was host the next it was you are in charge of this do all the hiring and firing,”
The only person fired after three weeks was him.
“I got paid for every game since the last game I worked except for the last one,” explains Brown. “Then I was magically fired the Friday after the check was written to me. They were told i was trying to buy the team from them on my 100% disabled salary.”
“This was coincidentally after my check had bounced earlier in the week. They had told me ok well we know your check bounced on Friday. Friday came, no money.”
They are Bobby and Jenny Dammarell.
Bobby is the Coach and the Owner. Jenny the General Manager.
“The owner is the coach,” said Brown. “They had a coach they fired the coach. they had a gm, they fired the gm.”
They promised Brown $700 for his work on the April 23 game.
But that check came back stamped “insufficient funds”.
A stamp other folks were seeing too.
“I’ve had people calling me saying their checks bounced, ive had them calling me saying where’s my money.” explains Brown. “Its become too much, Its boiling over because everyone is coming out of the woodwork.”
“They avoid me, says Ben Adams, AKA DJ Pro2kall. “And anyone who brings it up they feel like they paid me already. Bank account says different.”
Ben Adams is better known as DJ Pro2kall.
He was the mixmaster for Steam games, until his $1000 check bounced.
“They told me no it was short 11 dollars and change and we put an extra $5 in so we are cool. Call my bank back and they said we ran it twice. we aren’t going to run it again,” explains Adams.
So he made a deal with the Dammarells.
“If you give me 200 bands for the last three games. then i wont worry about the bounced check,” explained Adams.
He got those bands, essentially tickets for the last three games of the year.
But when he took a closer look, they were dated March 26.
“I told them like i told everyone else I’m a black man with dreads, that’s not going to work. (laughs)”
“There’s money there,’ said Adams. “Where its going I don’t know.”
Chad Mac and Bubba Sparkxxx worked a great halftime show during that same game March 26.
But Mac says he was the one rocked when it came to getting paid the $7500 he was owed.
“She called me and said hey i got myself in a situation. would you mind if i drive to Augusta and get that $7500 check from you,” explained Chad Mac. “And I will give you $2500 and a postdated check for the 18th for $5000.”
“I started counting I said 1,2,3,4 i got to $1500.There’s $1000 in there missing.”
Then that $5000 check bounced.
“They come off as really nice people,” said Mac. “But I guess what they are is professional con artists.”
Jaha Taylor and Bennie Poole were both Steam starters.
They say they played last season for free.
This year they are stuck on the sidelines, they say because they wanted the Dammarell’s to fufill the contracts they signed.
“But you had a contract that says you ared supposed to get paid.”
“Everyone has a contract,” said Bennie Poole.
“So what does a contract mean?”
“That’s what i want to know,” said Poole.
“You ever think you’ll see a dollar?”
“Would i ever think..naw..honestly naw I don’t think ill see one. Not from them at least.”
“If they were going to be a man and say I don’t want you part of my organization because I don’t want you part,” explained Jaha Taylor. “Not to make up so many things like i failed a drug test, i play flag football not being able to make practice or games. I was able to make every game last year and my schedule hasn’t changed since.”
Also on the debtor list, the city of Savannah.
“We have not received payment at all from the Savannah Civic Center,” said Saja Aures from the City of Savannah.
The Dammarell’s owe the Civic Center almost $20,000 in rent for 3 games.
The city saying without that money, there won’t be a fourth.
“The Savannah Steam will not be playing at the Civic Center unless payment is received in full,” said Aures.
Money that these folks need, but may never see..
“They are playing with people’s livelihoods that’s what I would tell them,” says Brown. “They are playing with people’s lives while they are being comfortable. Its not right.”
“The old saying when you do something bad on somebody its going to come back on you,” said Taylor.
“As a person who is supposed to get paid I want to know where is my money,” said Adams. “As a sponsor i want to know is my money there.”
After several tries News 3 was able to talk to Jenny Dammarell over the phone.
She denies everything calling each person I talked to a “liar”.
She claims Chad Mac lip synced his performance, voiding his contract.
Mac says he did have a backing track, but his mic was live and he and Bubba did rap live.
She denies bouncing checks to anyone. Saying she stopped payment on some, and others she paid in cash.
While Dammarell admits no players last year got paid, she says this year’s team has gotten every penny.
That’s a claim one player refuted to me via text.
We’ll keep on it, and tell you if there will be a game next week.