Fairfax County officials, citing possible legal violations, are considering a two-week suspension of the nationally publicized Annandale Boys Club plan to raffle a $113,000, five-bedroom house on Sept. 5.
County superivosrs will decided Monday whether to suspend the club's raffle permit temporarily in order to check its compliance with Virginia law. If the permit is held up, as county staff members are recommending, the county will ahlt the sale of the popular $100 raffle tickets for the duration of the suspension, officials said yesterday.
John and Carilyn Redman suggested the reffle after failing for severa months to find a buyer for their house because of high mortgage interest rates. The idea rapidly gained national attention as a novel solution for frustrated home owners seeking to sell.
Fairfax chief prosecutor Robert yf. Horan Jr. reportedly told county officials recently he would prosecute the boys club over provisions in a contract between the Redmans and the club that my violate a Virginia law governing raffles. Horan was out of town and unavailable for comment yesterday.
Among the contract's stipulations was one that said the raffle would not go on unless at least 1,500 tickets were sold, according to those familiar with the arrangement. Under a state law originally intended to prevent outside parties from running bingo games for charitable organizations and then skimming from the proceeds, joint ventures in bingo and raffles for profit are illegal.
The boys club lawyer, Hugh Shafer, since has redrawn the contract -- which had not been signed -- to eliminate that condition of sale.
County zoning administrator Philip Yates, who issued the permit May 29, said yesterday he will recommend to the board that the permit be suspended for two weeks in order to verify that the latest contract is in line with state law.
"We just want to be extremely cautious and make sure everything is in order," Yates said. "It's got to be a nonprofit organization venture all the way, with no input by the home owners."
Suipervisor Audrey Moore, who represents Annandale, said yesterday she expected the board would go along with Yates' recommendation. "It sounds reasonable that they want to check [the contract] out and make sure," she said.
Yates said he and Horan also would insist that the date on which the Redmans transfer ownership of their house to the boys club, currently set for Aug. 29, be earlier -- probably in July -- in order to separate the sale date and the Sept. 5 raffle date by as much as possible.
The boys club so far has sold more than 1,000 tickets at $100 apiece. Requests for tickets have been pouring in at a rate of more than 50 per day, according to a club staff member