Comments
21 - 40 of 43 Comments Last updated Sep 5, 2013
Laura

Port Clinton, OH

#21 Nov 13, 2007
I have had the same experience, bought my ballooning package a few years ago and tried SEVERAL seasons to get the balloon ride, the only time he would actually schedule it was the first time, and even though the weather was perfect, when I called that morning just to MAKE SURE we were still on before driving out to Hartville, OH he acted like I woke him up and he had no intention of doing the ride at all. Since then, it has been the same run around, not answering or returning calls, saying he is booked etc. I REALLY want to do the balloon ride, and now that I've spent so much money on this package, there is no way I'm going to fork over another few hundred to a different operator. It's disappointing because I thought this was going to be one of my best experiences.
Scammed

AOL

#22 Nov 22, 2007
Home for the holidays Marc?- I hope you choke
Rae

Westfield Center, OH

#23 Feb 8, 2008
I called the Cleveland FBI and submitted my documentation including a copy of the forum threads. The person I spoke to was very nice and told me they would see what they could do. This Marc guy, if he was truely a lawyer, probably knows just enough to play it below the radar and keep moving on without getting caught. I hope with everyone coming together this guy will eventually get what he deserves.
Dave

AOL

#24 Feb 18, 2008
Rae - thanks - hadn't thought of them. I have heard nothing from the Ohio Attorney General after a few emails to them. Marc is showing up in Florida in white page searches in Cape Coral. He also been plying his "trade" there - I have made contact with many balloon companies in the Tampa area. They confirm his scam continues. Maybe the FBI can reach out and yank him out of the sky. They have a longer arm.
Greg-Shelby OH

Cleveland, OH

#25 May 19, 2008
Our 2 rides were to be in 11/2002. I couldn't begin to tell you how many times we scheduled and were put off from 2002-2006. Wind, weather, temperature etc. The guy never used the sick grandma excuse so I guess that is in his favor.
JoAnn

Leonard, TX

#26 Jun 24, 2008
Susan wrote:
I have also filed complaints against this crook.
I hope you all realize we will never get a penny of our money returned.
What a joke this all is... no one can even find him to prosecute him !
He is a lawyer, but has not practiced in years.
Dave

AOL

#27 May 31, 2009
Has anyone seen Marc?
a friend

United States

#29 May 4, 2010
I know Marc. He is not a crook nor a scam artist. For over 20 years, he operated Ohio's largest ride operation, flying over 1,000 passengers each summer. In 2004, he was answering about 50 phone calls a day, inquiring about balloon rides. In 2005, that number dropped to 5. He did everything he could to keep his business running, including selling his house. Bankruptcy was out of the question, as that would have required Marc to sell his beloved balloons. He once had a NASA t-shirt that said "Failure is not an Option," and he lived it, but ultimately, its in God's hands.

a friend of marcs

United States

#30 May 10, 2010
Marc is not a crook or scam artist. For 20 years, he operated Ohio's largest Hot Air Balloon operation, flying over 16,000 passengers. In 2004, he was getting 50 calls a day about rides. In 2005, that # dropped to 5. He sold everything he could,including his house,to preserve his beloved business. He once had a NASA t-shirt reading "Failure is not an Option," but ultimately, God is in charge.
Tawnya

AOL

#31 Jun 22, 2010
Wow, glad I did some research before trying to book any flights with this guy! If it looks like a crook and sounds like it crook it just might be a crook!
Hudson Mom

Hudson, OH

#32 Jun 28, 2010
To friend of Marc,
If he was such a good guy, how do you explain taking money for flights from so many people and not producing??????? My son and his wife were out big $$$$ for 6 balloon rides that NEVER happened. And when I tried to locate him, even the Hartville Chamber of Commerce didn't know where he was. Still selling bogus balloon rides in Florida, I presume. When you have to make a living scamming innocent victims, someone needs to make him accountable, instead of allowing him to sip pina coladas on everyone else's dime. Shame on you Marc's friend, obviously you sleep very well at night and have NO conscience either, or you would let all of us know where he is hiding.
LTA

Canfield, OH

#33 Sep 26, 2010
Dear all,

For those of you who has been scammed by Russell, I sincerely apologize. I am part of the ballooning community and want to let all of you know that the ballooning community does not associate with this "rogue" pilot. He created so many problems for so many people in the area in which he flew and the rest of the ballooning community took the hit and blame for his problems. In talking to sources (once associated with him, but not anymore) recently, they have informed me that they believe the FAA has officially stripped him of his certificate to fly. His whereabouts are still unknown. While we know that your money can never be returned because of this crook, we hope that you don't see this as being a direct reflection of the ballooning community, but a result of an untrustworthy individual. In talking to other pilots who love this sport, I have never found any pilot who supported him. The ballooning community is completely against his actions and everything in which he did. I personally hope that someday you will try once again to purchase a ride from another operator because it is certainly worth the cost. As much as I continue to hate apologizing for the actions of this one guy, I feel that it is necessary to support the ballooning community since he essentially trashed our reputation.
Dave

Mount Vernon, OH

#34 Jul 11, 2011
Any luck anyone?
Another scam

Cuyahoga Falls, OH

#35 Apr 22, 2012
I need help finding this thief. There are a few others looking for him as well. His name is Marc\Mark Russell. He took my money for a balloon ride which was a gift from my wife, and cannot be contacted now. All listed numbers and addresses are not valid. The name on the certificate he sent is Hot Air Balloon Team with the number 800-409-9817. This number is a hot air balloon company but they claim they cannot find my information. My first call about a year ago resulted in several transfers and then hung up on. Then they would not take my call. I suspect they know about the situation and are refusing to handle. I need help getting to the bottom of this.
I can send pictures of the certificate and mailings. What is interesting is that the envelope the cert came in has a return address of 9 East St., Delmar, DE which does not result in anything. Google Earth shows a car dealership.
Another scam

Cuyahoga Falls, OH

#36 Apr 22, 2012
a friend wrote:
I know Marc. He is not a crook nor a scam artist. For over 20 years, he operated Ohio's largest ride operation, flying over 1,000 passengers each summer. In 2004, he was answering about 50 phone calls a day, inquiring about balloon rides. In 2005, that number dropped to 5. He did everything he could to keep his business running, including selling his house. Bankruptcy was out of the question, as that would have required Marc to sell his beloved balloons. He once had a NASA t-shirt that said "Failure is not an Option," and he lived it, but ultimately, its in God's hands.
He owes me $400+. Why would he cash a check and not provide the balloon ride? If its paid for then the ride should happen. Obviously this has happened to a lot of people so Marc must not be the most honest person. He needs to be contacted and money reimbursed.
Interested in Justice

Bay Village, OH

#37 Mar 17, 2013
It's shocking to see how many people were scammed by this person over all these years. After reading through these posts, I did some more research and found out that things started to fall apart for Marc quickly in 2005. After receiving a DUI in early Jan, 2005, he was subsequently evicted from his home in June of the same year. This followed by almost $5,000 dollars of small claims cases brought against him which he seemlingly fled town to avoid.(source-Stark County Clerk of Courts, online case docket). The BBB.org currently lists the following about him: "Complaints for this company typically indicate consumers have been unable to contact the company to reschedule their balloon rides. In all cases, monies had been paid up front and no refunds have been given." and the following action taken by the government: "Government Actions
Marc Russell, individually and d/b/a Russell's Balloon Adventures and/or All American Balloon (hereinafter "Supplier") and the Attorney General of the State of Ohio entered into an Assurance of Voluntary Compliance on the 21st day of November, 2006"

Definitely worth getting in touch with the district attorney in Stark County to formalize these charges before the statute of limitations runs out. Looks like others did this before, and could help.
Interested in Justice

Bay Village, OH

#38 Mar 17, 2013
Forgot a couple more things.. Someone in the forum stated he was in jail at one point. That was for a 3 days of a 180 day suspended sentence for DUI. He was also arrested for drunken disorderly shortly before he was evicted.

One more thing- I am reading online that he is using the alias: Russell S. Adventures as a mailing recipient name. Hope this helps...
a friend of Marcs

Tampa, FL

#39 Jun 23, 2013
LTA - or Cliff Cowen, a former pilot of Marc's who was having an affair with Kathy Strobel. Marc was close to Rod and he hated having to cover this up, seeing you two smooching behind his balloons. ANYONE who purchases a balloon ride from CLIFF COWEN---- DEMAND YOUR MONEY BACK ------
a friend of Marcs

Tampa, FL

#40 Jul 3, 2013
Interested in Justice wrote:
Forgot a couple more things.. Someone in the forum stated he was in jail at one point. That was for a 3 days of a 180 day suspended sentence for DUI. He was also arrested for drunken disorderly shortly before he was evicted.
One more thing- I am reading online that he is using the alias: Russell S. Adventures as a mailing recipient name. Hope this helps...
Yes, he was jailed for 3 days for DUI. Lisa, one of his girlfriends, called him from a restaurant at 2AM saying she and her girlfriend were being threatened by some dudes. He told Lis that he had been drinking and did not want to drive, but Lis kept insisting - so what does a guy do but "rescue" his girl. Being a diabetic, he got low in blood sugar on the way to the restaurant and pulled off the road, where the Sheriff found him. He was never evicted - he sold his house as he was selling everything to keep "Russell's Balloon Adventures" afloat, and he was certainly never arrested for "drunken disorderly". And I can guarantee he is not using the name Russell S. Adventures as an alias. Where do you get this info??????????
a friend of Marcs

Tampa, FL

#41 Jul 10, 2013
a friend of Marcs wrote:
<quoted text>
Yes, he was jailed for 3 days for DUI. Lisa, one of his girlfriends, called him from a restaurant at 2AM saying she and her girlfriend were being threatened by some dudes. He told Lis that he had been drinking and did not want to drive, but Lis kept insisting - so what does a guy do but "rescue" his girl. Being a diabetic, he got low in blood sugar on the way to the restaurant and pulled off the road, where the Sheriff found him. He was never evicted - he sold his house as he was selling everything to keep "Russell's Balloon Adventures" afloat, and he was certainly never arrested for "drunken disorderly". And I can guarantee he is not using the name Russell S. Adventures as an alias. Where do you get this info??????????
And you might also check BBB.org , who gives him an A- for over 20 years of service to the hot-air ballooning community - which is not a bad record!

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