Some people profiting off of concert for tornado victims

By Katherine Tellez

January 15, 2014 Updated Jan 16, 2014 at 12:41 PM CDT

BLOOMINGTON, Ill. -- More than 5,000 free tickets to a concert put on by the band Chicago were gone in less than 30 minutes after they went on sale Tuesday morning.

However, many of them didn't go to the people they were meant for.

The band wanted to give people in Central Illinois affected by the November tornadoes a fun night out but a lot of people aren't smiling after finding out what happened next.

Jake Strickfaden lost everything in the tornado that hit Washington. He tried and failed to get tickets.

"I find it so wrong. A lot of people lost so much that they can't replace and now people are profiting off of it. It's like stealing," Strickfaden said.

Hundreds of tickets showed up for sale on several ticket resale websites. Some being sold for almost $200.

"It was unfortunate to see people selling tickets online. I think we were surprised to see people doing that," said Christopher Stroisch with Country Financial, a sponsor of the concert.

After finding out what happened, those involved gave the green light for more tickets; and this time they are taking a different approach to handing them out.

"We are working to free up several hundred more seats in the Coliseum and make them available with the intent of giving them directly to people effected by the tornadoes," Stroisch said.

And for the people trying to make a quick buck, they might find that a little harder now.

"We placed calls to some of the sites and some of them have already taken the tickets off sale on those areas. And as they pop up, (we're) continuing to work with those sites to get them taken down," said Jane Everhart, the director of ticketing at the U.S. Cellular Coliseum.

Those who organized the event hope the people who sold their tickets will donate that money to the tornado relief efforts.

A statement released by Chicago's manager stated in part, "We are extremely disappointed that there are people out there who would choose to benefit financially from something that is meant to help those who are still struggling."

The concert is January 29. An announcement about additional tickets is expected sometime Thursday.

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