By GAIL OBER, LACONIA DAILY SUN
LACONIA — A Massachusetts mother has filed suit in Belknap County Superior Court against the American Hockey Institute LLC demanding her son's tuition be reimbursed because neither the academic or athletic portions of her contract were fulfilled.
Maria Theresa Pratt of Cambridge claims John Fontas, the manager of the AHI offered her son placement into the AHI's Eastern Hockey League Premier Junior team.
The AHI is a foreign corporation registered in New Hampshire with a legal address of 468 Province Road in Laconia or the Merrill Fay Ice Arena.
She said her son attended a session at Waterville Valley Academy where they were promised an academic program that contained "20 hours per week of structured non-traditional classroom time" that included a content-knowledgeable teacher, a meeting with a college adviser and college placement assistance.
Pratt said they were told Steve Jacobs, who is a "highly regarded hockey coach" who had been at Cushing Academy, would be coaching her son's team.
She claims that all of the above statements were false, misleading and made with "conscious indifference to the truth" and she wants the $24,500 tuition she paid reimbursed to her, plus damages and legal fees.
She also claims she relied on false information provided on their website that said a nutritionist and a sports psychologist would be there to provide services.
Pratt claims that she paid AHI the tuition of Sept. 1, and on Sept. 8 learned that Mykul Haun would be the head coach of the team, not Steve Jacobs.
She said that she also learned that Haun's wife, Samantha Turner, was the "teacher" and, to the best of Pratt's knowledge, was not qualified for the position.
Pratt says her son began to fall behind academically because of the "complete lack of academic structure at AHI" and the failure of them to abide the terms of the contract.
Specifically, she claimed that her son was not initially provided with the 20 weeks of academic teaching and that he had not been provided the college adviser and college placement meetings they had been promised.
Pratt claims that in September she began making phone calls to Jacobs, Fortas and Robert Sampson, who at the time was the headmaster at Waterville Academy, to try and secure the academic portion of her son's contract.
On Oct. 20, 2015, she met with Jacobs and Fontas to address their failure to meet the terms of the contract. She said she was offered the services of an "(advanced placement) statistics tutor to remedy the academic deficiencies.
They also told her that if her son left the program, the team would be "short" because of injuries to other players.
On Oct. 21, 2015, Fontas took over as head coach of the team but Pratt said she never received any information or communication regarding her son's academic program.
She removed her son from the program on Oct. 31, 2015, and began the process of trying to get her money back.
The suit claims she made repeated efforts to recovery her money and that the alleged breach of contract had directly and indirectly damaged her and her son.
She is suing on ground of breach of contract, fraud and misrepresentation, fraud in the inducement and a violation of the New Hampshire Consumer Protection Act.
Pratt says AHI knew it couldn't deliver the programs specified in the contract but entered into the contract willingly.
She has demanded a jury trial.
The AHI has yet to respond to the suit.