SEATTLE - A Connecticut businessman accused of refusing to pay golfers who won prizes for making holes in one has been extradited to Washington state.
Kevin Kolenda, 55, of Norwalk, Conn., has been booked into the King County Jail. He was flown to Seattle from Connecticut under guard Thursday, according to a release issued Friday by the Washington state insurance commissioner.
Kolenda specializes in insuring golf tournament hole-in-one prizes, and similar allegations have been made against Kolenda or his business in numerous other states, including Montana, Ohio, Georgia, California, New York, Hawaii, Alabama, Massachusetts, Florida, Connecticut and North Carolina.
Police charging documents from Washington accuse Kolenda of failing to pay prize money when several Seattle-area golfers connected on elusive aces.
The press release said in 1995 Kolenda started a business called Golf Marketing, working out of a home his parents owned in Norwalk. Since then, the business’ name has changed several times, including: Golf Marketing Worldwide LLC, Golf Marketing Inc., Hole-in-Won.com, and currently Hole-in-Won.com Worldwide. The company also has a regional office in Rye, N.Y.
The Insurance Commissioner says Kolenda has repeatedly failed to pay winning golfers in Washington. Among them:
- In 2003, Kolenda illegally sold insurance for a tournament in Bremerton. But when a golfer got a hole in one and tried to claim the $10,000 prize, Kolenda wouldn’t pay.
- In 2004, Kolenda sold insurance for a Vancouver tournament. Again, a golfer got a hole in one. Kolenda refused to pay the $50,000 prize. After a hearing at which Kolenda failed to appear, he was ordered in 2008 to pay a $125,000 fine. He never did.
- In 2010, Kolenda sold coverage to pay $25,000 for a hole in one during a golf tournament in Snohomish. A player got a hole in one. His golf partners signed notarized forms attesting to the hole in one. The prize remains unpaid, despite numerous calls and emails from the partners and tournament officials.
“I’m very grateful to everyone who’s helped us get Mr. Kolenda here to Washington to face justice,” said Washington Insurance Commissioner Mike Kreidler. “He has a long history of selling illegal insurance and refusing to pay prize winners.”
Kolenda is expected to be arraigned Monday at King County Superior Court in Seattle.