December 18, 2006
Kansas City, Mo. — The promoters of a high-profile Kansas City raffle that was cancelled after ticket sales of several thousand dollars have been ordered to pay $100,464 in restitution and civil penalties and are permanently banned from operating a raffle or soliciting charitable donations in Missouri under a default judgment obtained by Attorney General Jay Nixon. Nixon filed a lawsuit in Jackson County Circuit Court on February 23 in connection with the "Nest Egg Giveaway," which sold thousands of $25 tickets to people who hoped to win big prizes, including complete ownership of a downtown Kansas City loft with each room decorated by a different Kansas City Chiefs player.
This is just the kind of fraudulent raffle, promoted as a way to support a good cause, that makes consumers less likely to give their money the next time a worthy cause comes a long," Nixon said. "In this case, there were no prizes awarded, no refund given, and no money that went to charity. We're pleased the court will hold the operators accountable."
The defendants promoted the raffle as a way to help revitalize the near downtown area of Kansas City and provide monetary donations to local charitable organizations. First prize in the raffle, which was slated to be held on Dec. 16, 2004, was complete ownership of a loft in the Western Auto building, with each room decorated by a different Kansas City Chiefs football player. Other advertised prizes included a Hummer H2 and $25,000 worth of home decorating.
Nixon's lawsuit charged The Endowment For The Growth Of Giving and its directors Karen Green and Louise Green with violating Missouri's Merchandising Practices Act. The Endowment sold the raffle tickets for $25 each with the understanding that the prizes would be given away to the winners and that the proceeds would benefit the stated charitable purposes. After the scheduled raffle was cancelled, the defendants failed to refund the cost of the raffle tickets to the purchasers, in spite of language of the ticket indicating that refunds would be provided.
The defendants did not respond to the lawsuit, and are now in default. The matter will now be turned over to the Financial Services Division of Nixon's office, which will pursue collection of restitution and penalties.
Under the default judgment, signed by Circuit Judge Jay Daugherty, the defendants are prohibited from operating a raffle of soliciting charitable donations in Missouri as part of a permanent injunction. In addition, the court ordered the defendants to: