Man accused of failing to pay golf prizes extradited to Wash.

Man accused of failing to pay golf prizes extradited to Wash.
Kevin Kolenda
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.

Prosecutors say Kolenda offered to insure prizes as large as $50,000 for a fraction of the cost, but ended up refusing to pay winners or dragging his feet at returning deposits.

"Over and over again, Mr. Kolenda has taken in insurance money and promised to pay, and then what we've heard complaints about over and over again, is that he does not pay," said Rich Roesler, a spokesman for Washington state insurance commissioner's office. "We've seen charities dip into their own pockets to make up these payments."

Connecticut officials fined Kolenda $5.9 million in 2009 for illegally offering insurance without a license. He faces similar charges in Montana.

Kolenda is expected to be arraigned Monday at King County Superior Court in Seattle.