Florida Busts Children's Cancer Association
WEST PALM BEACH (CN) - Florida's attorney general claims in court that the American Children's Cancer Association offered a $2.1 million waterfront "dream home" in a raffle that turned out to be a "fundraising scheme."
The charity had already been in trouble for similar reasons in New Jersey in 2005, according to state's July 17 lawsuit in Palm Beach County Court.
Florida sued the American Children's Cancer Association and its officers Shaun Heusen, Joseph Way and Peter Kelly, alleging deceptive and unfair trade.
The attorney general says the American Children's Cancer Association organized a raffle at $80 a pop, with a grand prize of a $2.1 million waterfront home in Lighthouse Point, Fla.
But the charity buried details of the lottery "within five pages of dense, small font text accessible through a small link at the bottom of the Dream Home Raffle's webpage" the state says. The small print revealed that the dream home would not be awarded unless a minimum of 30,000 raffle tickets were sold.
The raffle ended up paying out less than $12,000 in cash prizes to its winners, according to the attorney general.
In 2005, the New Jersey attorney general enjoined the charity from "engaging in certain specified activities relating to its solicitation of charitable contributions," but the group did not disclose this when it applied for a Florida charitable organization license, the attorney general says.
Florida seeks restitution to affected consumers, and a permanent injunction prohibiting the charity from ever having another raffle in Florida.