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Monday, September 22, 2014
Southwest Louisiana ,
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Nearly two years after it began, a raffle for this house in the Oak Park neighborhood has been canceled. Shiloh Baptist Church — through its Project Community Care program — began a raffle for the $246,000 house located at 1601 21st Street in September 2011, with the original drawing set for Jan. 14. The drawing date was extended twice — first to Aug. 31, then to Sept. 7 before being called off. (Natalie Stewart / American Press)<br>

Nearly two years after it began, a raffle for this house in the Oak Park neighborhood has been canceled. Shiloh Baptist Church — through its Project Community Care program — began a raffle for the $246,000 house located at 1601 21st Street in September 2011, with the original drawing set for Jan. 14. The drawing date was extended twice — first to Aug. 31, then to Sept. 7 before being called off. (Natalie Stewart / American Press)

Lawyer: Church doesn't yet have money to refund raffle tickets

Last Modified: Saturday, August 31, 2013 9:09 PM

By Natalie Stewart / American Press

The raffle for a home in the Oak Park neighborhood by a local church was canceled do to lack of ticket sales, according to the attorney for the organization.

“It was a good idea that just didn’t pan out,” said Mark Judson.

Shiloh Baptist Church, through it’s Project Community Care program, began the raffle for the $246,000 house at 1601 21st St. in September 2011. The original drawing was set for Jan. 14 but was extended twice to Aug. 31 and then Sept. 7 before being called off this week.

Judson said the organization sold approximately 120 tickets at $100 a piece.

“That’s just not near enough, so they (Shiloh Baptist Church) decided to cancel the raffle,” he said. “There was no way they were going to raise enough money to pay off the financing and make is feasible for the sale to go through.”

Judson said the church does not have the money made off of ticket sales because the funds were used for “legitimate raffle-related expenses.”

“It is legal for them to spend the money on raffle-related expenses,” he said. “The majority of the money was spent on media purchases and other expenses associated with promoting the effort to sale raffle tickets. The church has not done anything illegal or violated any laws or statues by failing to escrow the money.”

He said ticket purchasers should get a letter in the mail about the cancellation of the raffle and the church’s intention to refund the money within 90 days.

“It is our hope and plan, not a guarantee, to have sufficient funds available to refund the ticket purchasers around the first week of December,” Judson said. “I want to be very clear that the church does not have the money escrowed sitting in a bank account ready to be refunded, but they did not have a legal obligation to do that. They are doing their best to have the funds raised.”

Judson said he estimated the maximum funds needed is $12,000.

He is representing the church in a pro bono capacity.

In March, the church’s pastor, Barry Thomas, was sentenced to two year in prison after pleading guilty to second-degree battery. According to reports at the time of the incident, Thomas and eight other people were smoking crack in a mobile home in Moss Bluff when he fired 14 shots into the home.

Judson said he wants to “emphasize that any criminal sentencing, criminal issues, criminal problems associated with Barry Thomas are unrelated to the raffle.”

Judson said there have been no allegations, complaints or inquiries of any misappropriation of funds or illegal activity associated with the raffling of the house.

The 3,000-square-foot house in under contract with Century 21 and is in the process of being sold.

Judson said ticket purchasers can contact him with questions or concerns at 436-3308.

Posted By: cBravery On: 9/3/2013

Title: house raffle

I would just like to know when and where to go to get refund. I myself smell
a class action event. I just want my money back to sew into my own church where it should have gone in first place. I will not ever do this again.

Posted By: Ssteve On: 9/2/2013

Title: Raffle Tickets

It has been my experience to never ever buy a raffle ticket............ever. Funny how someone within the organization that is selling the raffle tickets always wins.......or worse yet, you never hear who won.

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