MIAMI - Hundreds of students were disappointed after raising thousands of dollars for new uniforms, only to find they were never delivered in time for the start of a new football season.
They are "baby" Tornadoes, but for their age, they've already got the size, speed and skills.
The only thing they haven't gotten is the sports uniforms, the correct sizes or the team signs to lift their spirits.
It began with what parents thought was a winning play in one of the poorest, most crime-ridden neighborhoods in Miami, where their football program last year in September survived a hail of gunfire.
The plan was to seize some winning spirit from Overtown's successful top high school, Booker T. Washington, by rebranding their little league team to also be called the "Tornadoes," and to also wear the orange and black.
"That'll make the world of difference because at the end of the day when you go out on the field, you're showing your colors and the pride of the kids, you know," said Emanuel Washington of the Optimist Club.
The Optimist Club said it ordered 245 uniforms from Fergo Sports to be delivered by the end of August. They also wrote a deposit check for $7,800.
But the season still started with the old uniforms and month after month, game after game, the new uniforms were a no-show.
"Are we going to make the first game, second game, third, at some point call us?" asked Washington, who said Fergo Sports never called.
Local 10 Investigative Reporter Ross Palombo then called Fergo Sports.
"I never showed up with their uniforms?" asked Ego Ferguson of Fergo Sports.
"That's what they say," Palombo replied.
Ferguson said the uniforms were actually ready. He said, "They have to pay a balance."
"What is this cancelled check here? They paid $7,800," said Palombo.
"That's a deposit," said Ferguson.
"It says right here 30 percent deposit, balance due at delivery," Palombo said. "You never delivered."
"I'll have to get with Ferg," said Ferguson.
Moments later, when they got with the owner, "Ferg," Palombo said he took down a Local 10 camera and rushed Local 10 to the door.
Washington said the problem was never over money from the Optimist Club's end.
Ferguson said Fergo Sports has had a problem like this before in "not delivering and not getting funds."
The Tornadoes won the championship last weekend and won it wearing their new uniforms. Fergo Sports said they gave the team one set for the very last game.
However, several other teams in the Optimist League still do not have their uniforms.
A spokesperson for Fergo Sports said that's because the club doesn't have the money. The Optimist Club has said, though, that when the uniforms are delivered they can and will pay.
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