The Williamsville man had attended a Get Motivated! seminar at First Niagara Center with some colleagues from work, attracted by the low $1.95 ticket price and top-notch motivation speakers: at First Niagara Center in June, attracted by powerhouse motivational speakers such as former presidential nominee Steve Forbes, former Bills coach Marv Levy and former NFL star Joe Montana.
Throughout the event, organizers were raffling off big-ticket prizes, including a trip to Disney World and an iPad. When they called out the winner of a $10,000 cash prize, Petrotto heard his name.
He even got to meet Apple co-founder Steve Wozniak while he was sitting at a table filling out tax forms.
That was in June. Cut to today and Get Motivated Inc. is no longer in business, folding shortly after playing to a half-empty house at First Niagara Center.
"The Better Business Bureau said I should consult a lawyer, but with bankruptcy, you basically have to get in line behind everybody else," Petrotto said.
That line is long and includes the bureau representing such speakers as former New York Mayor Rudy Giuliani and former first lady Laura Bush. That bureau alone is owed $1.7 million.
For now, Petrotto is still listed on the company's Facebook page as being its $10,000 winner in Buffalo. But he has little hope of ever recovering the winnings.
"What a deflater!" he said.
---Samantha Maziarz Christmann