Gulp! List member arrested!
The forum moderator/poster seems to be basking in this guy's downfall. And so should we. Now to the story:
The contest to win an East Isles home valued at $1.8 million came to an early end Wednesday morning when police arrested the homebuilder for illegal gambling.
The fun builds in the details:
Stepnes, a homebuilder and developer, said he came up with “The Big Dream House Give Away!” contest after he was unable to sell the home, completed in 2006. The contest would raise money for local charities, he said.Here's where it gets more fun:
Sen. Scott Dibble (DFL-60) said Stepnes, an acquaintance, sought his advice on the legality of a raffle for the house. Dibble said a raffle was clearly impermissible under state gambling rules, so he later arranged a meeting at his office with Stepnes, state senate counsel and Tom Barrett, executive director of the Minnesota Gambling Control Board.
“It’s in [my] opinion that they’ve removed one of those elements,” Barrett said. “It’s not [chance.] There’s some effort involved to calculate how many nuts, bolts — whatever — is in the box.”
The contest was never brought to the Minnesota Gambling Control Board for review, he said.
Barrett said Stepnes never brought up the idea of holding weekly prize drawings. It was there, he suggested, Stepnes probably ran afoul of the law.
“Therein, he has also brought back in the element of chance,” Barrett said.
Read the legalese at his web site. He seems to have all the angles covered — except for the Gambling Control Board. And the fun continues as he explains his profit sharing intentions...
He said any money raised through the contest above and beyond the value of the home would go to Chester House Foundation, a company he started around the same time as the contest.
Carolyn Aberman, a spokesperson for the contest, described Chester House Foundation as a 501(c)3 nonprofit. The Office of the Secretary of State had no record of a nonprofit under that name, although the foundation could have been registered under another name.
Stepnes had an explanation for that, too:
Stepnes said the foundation was established around the same time as the contest and would distribute funds raised in the contest. Foundation funds would go to organizations that work to end homelessness, according to the contest website.
I pity the prosecutor sifting through the myriad of explanations by this alleged fraudster. But for now, we can enjoy this: