2 Minn. philanthropists turned away at Grammy Awards - KMSP-TV

2 Minn. philanthropists turned away at Grammy Awards

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Imagine showing up for one of the most glamorous award shows of the year believing you would bump elbows with music's biggest stars after buying tickets during a fundraiser -- and then being turned away at the door.

That's what happened to two Minnesotans who thought they had a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity after dropping $8,000 to benefit a charity.

The Grammy Awards offer a chance for the biggest names in music to look back on the best songs of the past year, but Sunday's ceremony struck the wrong chord for the couple who were kept out.

"She had her gown, hair, nails -- dressed to the nines for the evening of a lifetime with her girlfriend, and she was pushed aside," Sheryl Hill told FOX 9 News.

Hill auctioned off a pair of tickets during the first fundraiser for her Clear Cause Foundation, which seeks stricter safety standards for students traveling abroad.

"When you have good-hearted, philanthropic people giving to a good cause and they don't get in and are turned away at the door -- it's humiliating and I'm heartbroken," Hill said.

Many charities offer dream vacations or donated tickets to help raise money for a cause, but Mike Nowakowski said every year, a big event becomes a big problem for a few unlucky folks.

"I've heard a lot of these stories," he admitted. "Seems every year, there are a handful of people who don't' get in."

Nowakowski said his company, TicketKing, stopped selling tickets to award shows years ago because they are often given to a select group of industry insiders and are prohibited from being resold -- even for a good cause.

"They want to make sure that, behind Beyonce, is someone who is dressing the part, someone who belongs in those tickets," he said.

However, Hill said she believes the Grammy Awards should start singing a different tune.

"When there is that kind of money in a room, to turn away people who are philanthropic, that is just the ultimate insult," she said.

Hill said Winspire Me offered to refund the bidder's money and gave them a spa day in Los Angeles to make up for what happened.

Organizers with the Grammy Awards did not return a call for comment.

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