Friday, July 18, 2008

When confusion Reigns

There seems to be a great deal of confusion and misinformation circulating about the issue of withholding $1000 winnings from the winner of the Bayview Chamber of Commerce raffle recently. I will take each issue individually:

Who sold the ticket, Ralph to himself is a non-issue. When volunteer organizations set out to sell raffle tickets, they give them out to members that will make the effort to sell them. In virtually every case, that person will buy a ticket from those already in their possession. Only filling out the stub and forking over the money are necessary. Their is no legal requirement that it be bought from another party.

There have been several other non-issues brought up, all poorly researched. First, in order to determine whether the paragraph dealing with legality is Germaine, one must define the words "proceeds" and "winnings."
Winnings are those funds or products won by having your ticket drawn. Proceeds are those funds that are retained by the sponsoring organization. The purpose of this portion of the law is to prohibit officers of a sponsoring organization from paying themselves from these monies, defeating the charitable purpose of the exercise.

The next mistake was simple math. The portion of the law that refers to relatives states that no person within the second degree (relative) may receive compensation from "proceeds." Well, first we have already discussed the term "proceeds." Secondly, a grandchild is a relative in the "third degree." As to the issue of the unborn grandchild, true it is an unusual move to specify an unborn child as the recipient, but not illegal. If the child fails to be born, the winnings would then revert back to the purchaser of the ticket, Ralph Jones. Another phantom issue was raised. Kathi Ellis, treasurer, stated, "that she could not make a check out to an unborn person who would be unable to cash it." It is not the duty of the sponsoring organization to worry about the ability of an infant to cash a check, only to issue it. Bank accounts are created for infants, born and unborn all the time. They just require an adult parent or guardian to administer it.

Failure to appoint a committee: Ralph Jones IS the committee. An appointed committee chairman is under no obligation to appoint assistants formally. Actually, I was one of those assistants that assisted Ralph throughout the process, as were many others.

These are the only issues. Defining proceeds, which I have done, and the non-issue of the error in considering a grandchild as a second degree relative. That one is not Germaine, simply because of the misapplication of the term, "proceeds."

In the manifesto, or what ever the board of directors wants to call the unsigned document that was read into the record, several somewhat snide remarks were made that, too, were inaccurate. For instance, the failure of myself, characterized as a former spokesman-Review journalist to contact Ms. Ellis. Since I felt she was the antagonist in this soap opera, I went directly to Jim MacDonald, president for confirmation. Oh, and as of this date, I am still writing for the S/R. I don't know where the former came from.I did not call Ralph Jones poor.

In my conversation with Jim MacDonald, he used the example of himself winning a barbecue in a previous raffle. He pointed out that he had sold it and turned the proceeds back to the Chamber of commerce. I told him that his actions were admirable, but that he was the wealthy owner of a successful marina, where Ralph Jones was a first year business owner that perhaps couldn't afford to be that magnanimous. Never was the word "poor" used. Also, it's one thing to give back something worth in the neighborhood of $150, and quite another to forego a $1000 prize.

This example can, however point to the fact that MacDonald, president of the Chamber, the sponsoring organization, accepted the prize, being a BBQ, rather than money. That he chose to donate it back was fine, but certainly not required or necessary. This is an exact parallel to the $1000 drawing, just a different prize. Why should MacDonald be able, without challenge, to accept his prize and Ralph Jones cannot. If there is, and I doubt the the legal advisers to the board have even looked into it, a problem with awarding the prize to an unborn child, it will be a moot point by tomorrow, since the child is being induced today. The secondary solution would be to award the prize to the holder of the winning ticket, Ralph Jones.

There is at least one and possibly two attorneys that are members of the Bayview Chamber of commerce. I would suggest that they be asked to interpret these points for the officers, so as to forestall the continuation of this travesty. The board of Directors are not empowered to confiscate the winnings for the unbelievable reasons they have stated.

For the Chamber of commerce to re-draw, or to keep the money would probably result in a fraudulent transaction at best, and outright theft at worst. clearly, this precipitous action on the part of the board of directors is what has the potential to split to community, not the shining of light on a back room hustle. End this lynching, step back and re-examine the motives behind this whole fiasco. The solution is to immediately cure the situation and issue a public apology to Ralph Jones.

Addendum: 7/16. Braden Rosenau was born today,in Missoula at 6:20 pm,mountain time. It goes without saying that this is a fine opportunity for the Chamber board to do the right thing before the whole issue winds out of control.


Anonymous said...

I whole heartedly concur. It is an injustice to in any way to impune the integrity of someone that has contributed so much to the positive image of this community. It should be a simple matter to resolve the legal issues and for reason of community unity should be done as rapidly as possible.

Gordon Fuller and Judy West

Anonymous said...

Day 19 ... Unreleased winnings

Anonymous said...

Dat 20 ... Still holding out.

Anonymous said...

Day 21, flirting with fraud

Anonymous said...

Day 23. Show me the money!