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State Attorney General Files Lawsuit Against Stanley Cup Ticket Scalpers

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RALEIGH, N.C. — Attorney General Roy Cooper filed a lawsuit Wednesday against ticket companies he said were trying to sell hockey playoff tickets at illegally high prices.

"These corporate scalpers systematically bought hundreds oftickets to resell for big profits. That deprives fans of a chanceto buy tickets at face value," Cooper said.

"State law is clear, and it doesn't change just because we'rein the Stanley Cup Finals."

The Carolina Hurricanes and the Detroit Red Wings are competingfor the Stanley Cup, the National Hockey League's championship. Atleast two games will be played at Raleigh's Entertainment andSports Arena; the first is Saturday.

Tickets for games at the ESA sold out in less than an hour. Manywere bought by ticket companies, who in turn resold the tickets tofans for as much as $1,000 per ticket or more, Cooper said.

Selling tickets for more than $3 above the original price isagainst North Carolina law.

In the Wake County Superior Court complaint, Cooper alleged thatEncore Tickets and Tours Inc. of Dallas, Texas; Premiere Ticketsand Tours Inc. of Cary; Ticket Solutions Inc. of Overland Park,Kan.; Empire Entertainment and Travel Inc. of Atlanta, Ga.; IdealTicket Agency Inc. of Cleveland, Ohio, and Padgett BusinessServices of Johnson County in Prairie Village, Kan., broke the law.

Premiere Tickets' Internet site didn't list ticket prices, butsaid packages included a bus ride to the arena from a Raleigh barand a party. The company's lawyer did not return a call seekingcomment Wednesday.

Cooper said some of the companies have agreed to return their tickets to the ESA box office.

Cooper spokesman John Bason said a Wake Superior Court judgeissued a temporary restraining order Wednesday barring the brokers,except Premier, from advertising or selling Stanley Cup tickets formore than $3 above face value.

Premier was allowed to charge $150 more than face value becauseits price includes the bus ride and party, Bason said.

The companies named in the complaint offered Stanley Cup ticketsfor sale via advertisements in local media. Ads directed consumersto a toll-free telephone number or an Internet website, where theylearned tickets were more than $3 above face value, Cooper said.

The suit asks that the companies return any illegal earnings andpay civil penalties.

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