AFTON — A Grand Lake couple was surprised to learn Thursday their decision to hold a drawing for their lakefront home had run afoul of the district attorney’s office.
Jim and Becky Poe had organized a drawing for their 3,000-square-foot home that sits on three-and half-acres on Grand Lake and has 700 feet of lake frontage.
Tickets were priced at $101 and the drawing was planned for July 11.
The first ticket was sold on Jan. 6 and the couple estimated they needed to sell between 3,500 to 4,000 tickets.
But all of that changed after receiving a telephone call from Scott Rosiere, owner of Grand Lake Title and Escrow.
"Scott got a call from the district attorney’s office,” said Becky Poe. "They said in their opinion the drawing was a lottery and they would rather we not (hold a drawing).”
The district attorney’s office said the drawing was a "gray area,” she said.
"We thought we were safe because we weren’t going to make a profit,” Poe said of the drawing. "We did our research.”
The money from ticket sales was going straight into an escrow account at Grand Lake Title and Escrow, Poe said. Whatever was left over after paying off the house loan and from costs associated with the drawing would have been given to charity, she said.
‘It’s the law’
To say the couple is disappointed and angry is an understatement.
"There are drug dealers and thieves walking the streets and the district attorney’s office wants to ban us from having a drawing,” Poe said.
"I hate to be the bearer of bad news, and I understand why they (the Poes) wanted to hold the drawing,” said Eddie Wyant, district attorney. "This isn’t the district attorney office stopping the drawing; it’s the law.”
Wyant said people need to know they can be charged if they operate an illegal lottery, raffle or drawing. The property can be seized and forfeited and the money would be disbursed to schools.
The couple plans to contact their local representatives about pursuing legislation that could clear up the gray area concerning drawings, lotteries and raffles.
For now the Poes have put their home up for sale and will refund the money the collected for the tickets already sold.