Mary Mueller's father is a retired pilot, and she remembers the day when he taught her how to build a paper airplane. The secret, she says, is the extra horizontal fold that causes each wing to jut upwards.
So when Mary Mueller's custom-built plane sailed through the sunroof of a 2010 Chevy Cobalt that had been rolled onto the ice during a St. Louis Bandits hockey game last year -- part of a promotional competition between periods of play -- Mary was particularly proud. Her husband, Randy, who'd tossed the paper airplane from the stands, was equally ecstatic. By sailing the paper plane through the sunroof, he was declared the winner of the competition and the Cobalt's new owner. The Muellers were escorted to the rink level, where they posed for photographs next to their new car, surrounded by enthusiastic cheerleaders.
But the Florissant couple's joy would eventually fade. More than a year after winning the competition, Randy Mueller still has not received the keys to the Cobalt. Now, he and Mary are suing a local car dealership and the Bandits' ownership for breach of conduct and consumer fraud.
"We didn't get [the car], and they didn't give a reason," says Mary Mueller, reached by phone at her Florissant flower business. "I think it's kind of wrong. We both just don't understand."
The Muellers filed suit against St. Louis Hockey Partners LLC, which owns the Bandits, and Johnny Londoff Chevrolet Inc., which owns the Cobalt. (See a copy of the petition here.) Bryan Kammerer, the attorney for Johnny Londoff, says he will withhold comment until he reads the petition. Daily RFT left a message for the Bandits' attorney and will provide an update if they respond.
The hockey game in question was part of a fundraising drive for the BackStoppers, a local charity for cops and firefighters. After winning the contest, the Muellers were instructed to swing by the Londoff dealership in Florissant the next day to pick up their new wheels, says Mary. But when they arrived, she says, they were told that the insurance company was holding up the process. Still, they were assured that things would soon be worked out.
Two weeks later, says Mueller, the dealership left a voicemail message indicating the insurance paperwork was still pending. But the issue never got resolved.
The Muellers' lawyer, Philip Speicher, suspects duplicity from the very beginning. In his petition, he charges that the "defendants did not have the intention to unconditionally provide a free 2010 Chevy Cobalt to the contest winner."
One of the people most angered by the situation is Mary Mueller's father, who wanted to see his daughter's airplane-building skills pay off.
"He was not happy, not at all," says Mary.