Waldman, Sayre File Suit Against Pro Airways, American Express Company in Fraud Case

June 20, 2023 Firm News

Armstrong Teasdale Partners Glen H. Waldman and Michael A. Sayre have filed a complaint in Miami-Dade County Circuit Court on behalf of clients High Society Management, LLC and its owner, Michael Weisser, against Pro Airways, LLC; its principal and owner, Ryan Staszko, and employee Peter Wood; and American Express Company. The complaint alleges fraudulent credit card charges made by Pro Airways and enabled and condoned by American Express, which also took steps to the plaintiffs’ detriment.

High Society contracted with Pro Airways in March 2021 to service, maintain and charter High Society’s aircraft. At Staszko’s request, High Society opened an American Express account and added Wood as a cardholder to pay for incidental charges. As alleged in the complaint, all parties explicitly agreed the card would not be used to pay Pro Airways invoices.

In March 2022, High Society sold its aircraft, terminated the contract with Pro Airways and asked that the card be returned or destroyed. In June 2022, High Society received notice of a pending charge on the card from Pro Airways for $56,118.52, well in excess of the card’s $25,000 spending limit. As alleged in the complaint, after High Society disputed the charges, American Express at first informed the plaintiffs that the charges were rejected. It later reversed course after it received supporting documentation from Pro Airways of invoices for services purportedly rendered after the contract had been terminated.

As alleged in the complaint, American Express also froze Weisser’s other accounts not related to the business and falsely reported to credit reporting agencies that Weisser had failed to make a payment on an individual account, even though those accounts were current and paid.

The complaint further asserts that American Express violated the Florida Consumer Collections Practices Act, committed common law slander against credit, as well as breached its own Card Member Agreement, and accuses American Express of unjust enrichment for continuing to collect fees on accounts it suspended or canceled. The complaint also accuses Pro Airways of conversion, civil theft and violation of Florida’s Deceptive and Unfair Trade Practices Act, breach of contract and unjust enrichment; and asserts breach of fiduciary duty and constructive fraud claims against both Staszko and Wood.

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