House raffle by Shiloh Baptist Church called off

By By Natalie Stewart / American Press

Nearly two years after it began, a raffle for a house in the Oak Park neighborhood has been canceled, and its organizers are

required by law to offer refunds to ticket-holders, an official with the state Office of Charitable Gaming said Tuesday.

Shiloh Baptist Church — through its

Project Community Care program — began a raffle for a $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.

Michael Legendre, director of the state Office of Charitable Gaming, said the organization has shut down the raffle and is

“in the planning stage of offering refunds” to persons who bought the $100 raffle tickets.

Barry Thomas, church pastor, told the American Press in December 2012 that the dates of the raffle were extended because of low ticket sales. At that time, Thomas said about 3,500

tickets had been sold.

The 3,000-square-foot, three-bedroom, two-and-a-half bath house, sitting on a corner lot, appears to be empty.

In March 2013, Thomas was sentenced to two years 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. Two people were hospitalized and treated for gunshot wounds to the neck, chest and leg.

According to the report, police arrived and found Thomas lying on the ground in front of the home with a semiautomatic pistol

pointed toward it.

Thomas was also ordered to pay $200,000 in restitution for medical bills of the two shooting victims. He has a criminal history

that includes charges of animal cruelty, theft over $500 and drug possession.

Attempts by the American Press to contact the organization responsible for the raffle tickets were unsuccessful. The Shiloh Baptist Church phone number

along with the phone number provided by Thomas in 2011 to purchase tickets have been disconnected. The website for Project

Community Care has also been taken down.

Legendre said officials overseeing the raffle must finalize a plan to refund ticket-holders and submit it to the Office of

Charitable Gaming.